Features / Usability

Features / Usability

Managing Public Comments

posts: 130


I am starting to configure our library website (made with TikiWiki - thanks to awesome community) to allow for public input such as comments, forums, etc....

First step is comments to articles, wiki pages, blogs, etc. I am trying to wrap my mind around the best way to manage this....libraries are not in the business of censoring, but we certainly want to somehow manage horribly racist, criminal type posts.

Any opinions on the best way to manage comments to best serve the public?

Is there a staging portion for comments, whereby they must be approved before posting?

Is the best way to do this is list by score, and if so, is there a way to only display comments for a certain level of score. Kind of a digg type thing?

How do others handle this?

posts: 289 United States

I am by no means an authority on this subject but I have a few ideas or suggestions I will send your way.

First off, I think you might be slightly confused about the purpose of score. It measures quantity not quality. Any user can gain a significantly high score by creating masses of junk content. So, I would recommend you put that out of your mind as a way to determine the quality of the poster. I have read documentation about the "karma" system, which seems to be more appropriate. You can find documentation about score versus karma. I haven't yet used it myself but this seems like a better (but still not perfect) way to minimize the posting of inappropriate content.

I think it would still be a manual process and you'd have to periodically check the comments that have been posted (can be done on the tiki-list_comments.php page) to view/remove any material.

Second thing, and this may not be a consideration for you or not but you might want to think about using categories to restrict access to certain site objects e.g. particular wiki pages or forums, for which you don't want general members of the public to be able to see or comment on. I've done this on a couple of Tiki sites I operate so that although anonymous users can see certain features e.g. Wiki Pages, if the Wiki pages are placed in a certain category then the anonymous user doesn't even know those Wiki pages exist, let alone comment on them.

I would suggest that you narrow your focus. I know normally looking at the bigger picture is a good thing to do but in the case of Tiki the bigger picture can often be so big that it's overwhelming. Pick a feature and focus on it, like for example the forums, which I feel would be easier than other features to moderate because it allows (AFAIK) for moderating of all posts before they are made public. I've not used the feature myself but this would be the type of staging you are looking for in this specific case of the forums.

You could also consider a completely different approach and not let the general public comment directly on anything at all but have designated place for them to comment on all material. For example have a dedicated forum or guest book (using the tracker feature) to which the general public should direct all comments. This may or may not be an appropriate solution but it is a solution.

I hope I've helped, even just a little bit. Other users may have some more concrete ideas or examples.

posts: 130

I appreciate taking the time with your excellent response. It is what I was looking for....

If I could impose once again, let me give you a scenario and would love to have your opinion on how you would handle it....

As our first step, we want to create a "Staff Picks" object whereby staff would post review/information about a recent book they have read. Staff only would be able to create the content, the public would be able to read and comment (I use the word comment here as a general term, and not referencing a specific feature within tikiwiki). Preferable if public comments were somehow moderated, meaning approved before public were able to view. Probably look something like this http://readitreadit.wordpress.com/category/great-reads-library-staff-picks/

With the above scenario in mind, what would be your opinion of the best tools to use...article, blog, forum, wiki, tracker, etc.....we have been using the tikiwiki for awhile so pretty familiar with its tools....

thanks for your assistance, and anyone else that wants to jump in and give there opinion....

posts: 289 United States

I'm posting really quickly here off the top of my head because I'm off to bed very shortly but articles sounds like the feature that best matches what you're describing.

You can certainly set permissions so that only staff can submit articles and anonymous users can only view them (but that's true of most if not all Tiki features).

I'll follow up with more specifics as and when I can, or as you say any one else can feel free to jump in biggrin

posts: 289 United States

To comment (no pun intended) on my initial reaction to using articles. I'm assuming that the primary goal is to get non collaborative, publicly viewable material on your site.

To that end could also argue the case that blogs would be a logical choice since blogs pertain to individuals and the staff picks presumably pertain to individuals too.

I personally would prefer articles because you can create a topic "Staff Picks" and then all your staff picks would be in one place (as opposed to scattered across several personal blogs). You could as an alternative create a "staff picks" blog, but there are other advantages with articles such as the fact that you can choose a date of when to make them viewable, expire them after a certain date, allow users to rate the articles themselves and other features.

To address the comments issue, I think which ever way you go, there is going to be some manual effort involved in censoring inappropriate material and although you can take some steps to minimize this (as with the CAPTCHA feature), you will never be able to fully automate this process.

One final thought; The "shoutbox" module does allow for banned words, so you could allow anonymous users to post comments here (and automatically removed inappropriate content) but this doesn't really seem like an ideal solution. For one, it doesn't seem like the most appropriate use of the shoutbox feature and for two, it's still not completely foolproof, as you can't account for everything potential vulgar phrase that could be entered. Besides which, determined users will always find ways around such restrictions.

posts: 3655 United States

>With the above scenario in mind, what would be your opinion of the best tools to use...article, blog, forum, wiki, tracker, etc.....we have been using the tikiwiki for awhile so pretty familiar with its tools....

It depends on what you're trying to accomplish...

  • Do you want to create a "dialog"? Then I suggest using the Forum.
  • Do you want to collaborate? Then I suggest using Wiki pages.
  • Do you want a (primarily) announcements? Then I suggest using articles or blog.
  • Are you trying to collect tabular (forms) information? Then I suggest using trackers.
  • Etc..

All of Tiki's features allow users (with permission) to post comments.

On Forums, comments (called posts or threads) can be "queued" — they must be approved before becoming live. Users can also "report" inappropriate posts.

For other features, you can force anonymous users to enter a CAPTCHA before posting (to reduce spam), but there is no "queing" (that I'm aware of).

In all cases, administrators can edit or delete any comment.

For wiki pages, there is a new "approval" feature that you might look at. Edits to a wiki page (not comments — edits to the actual page) can be queued for approval before going "live."


Need more help? Try TikiWiki for Dummies Smarties or read my Tiki Blog or visit my UserPage

posts: 289 United States
Does the CAPTCHA feature apply to any Tiki Feature that allows for comments then? I ask because to turn it on you have to check the box "Anonymous editors must input anti-bot code" under the Wiki Admin. This would seem to be a bit misleading if it actually applies to more than just the Wiki.
posts: 289 United States

Thanks Rick.

Of course this doesn't fully address the issue of actual human beings entering in bogus or vulgar material, but it acts as a deterrent at least.

posts: 130

Thank everyone for your exellent posts, very helpful for me and I hope others as well....

Ricks99, I noticed you mentioned the ability for patrons to report inappropriate reports....did you mean there was a built in feature that had this (meaning an icon on the forum somewhere) or did you just mean in general patrons can kind of self regulate themselves and report posts.....

posts: 289 United States

It's a permission that can be given to any user group (tiki_p_forums_report). A "no entry" icon then appears in the top right hand corner of every post which the user can click to 'report' that post.

I've not use it though, so I'm not exactly sure how it works. Presumably the forum moderator gets emailed or sent an internal message.

posts: 3655 United States

Yes. Uses with the forums_report permission can click the REPORT icon (Image ) on any topic thread or reply.

When a forum moderator (or admin) logs in and access the forum, they'll see a message: There are XXX reported messages.

You can then go through each message and decide if it is OK as-is (and "un-report" it) or if it should be deleted.


Need more help? Try TikiWiki for Dummies Smarties or read my Tiki Blog or visit my UserPage

posts: 289 United States
It's not working for me, but I created a separate thread so as to avoid hijacking this one.

posts: 84

Since it's been more than a year since the last message on this thread, has there been any update to the ability for users to report inappropriate content.

For example, in this thread it was mentioned that users can report inappropriate posts on forums. Is there now a way for users of other featuers, such as articles, wikis, blogs, any page really, to report inappropriate content?

Is there a way using current or 5.0 features to set up things so that if say three people report the same inappropriate content, the content will automatically be deleted? Perhaps if there is nothing that was created for this purpose, other tools/features could be used in a creative way to do this.

posts: 4642 Japan

There's a "webmaster report" option that puts a link in the page footer, to report inappropriate content. This appears on every page. That is it's function, but I'm not sure how conspicuous it is, although it could be made more obvious with CSS and/or a text description, etc. elsewhere in the pages, if necessary.

There's no automatic way for something to be deleted if it gets multiple reports. I'm not sure if this would be a good idea. Someone with an agenda could delete things just by registering at the site under three names, for example. Maybe a system could be created for this, with just trusted users being able to report objects, but there's no mechanism for it yet, as far as I know.

-- Gary