Comments How-to: WebDev module

How it works

The comments module appears on a web page as a simple link, on a line on its own (it is a “block item”), presenting the simple text:

Comments(x)

x being the number of comments entered at the time when the page was retrieved. See a working example here, towards the bottom of the page.

The comments link opens a popup showing all comments (not having been subject to moderation, see below) entered so far, in chronological order, with the most recent at the top. At the bottom of the list of comments, the reader user is presented with the option of submitting a comment, as seen below.

Entering comment windowThe user will have to enter his or her name and email address, and the comment itself. Hopefully the user is honest and enters his or her credentials correctly. There is no automated way of checking this. For audit purposes, IP numbers are stored. As a result it will to some extent be possible to track from which computer a certain comment was entered, should the need arise. However, this is something which will have to be brought up with the system administrator as a special exercise.

Comments are plain text. HTML is stripped off the text. The text cannot be longer than 500 characters, including white space, which is equivalent to roughly 60 percent of a full A4 page.

In order to avoid spam, the user will have to interpret and enter the fuzzy letters seen in the box at the bottom of the entry window. Should the user make mistake, all content is retained while a new sequence of fuzzy letters is presented, for yet another try.

It is also possible to mail someone who have entered a comment, directly, by clicking the name of the person, located below the comment.

Finally, it is also possible to report abuse. Comments which are out of context, and, or offensive, or otherwise “off-track”, should not be included in other comments. Instead, they should be reported as abusive. It is then the moderator’s task, to deal with these comments as he/she finds appropriate.

How to make it happen

If a comment page item is removed from a page, the comment stream is lost from the page. It remains in the repository of comment streams, but there is no mean getting it back onto a page.

A page can contain many feeds.

When putting a feed item onto a page, the following properties are required for the feed:

  • name
  • moderator;
  • open/closed for comments;

The name is used to locate the feed in the comments module, while moderating the feed. The system is not ensuring unique names so general feed names should be avoided.

Each feed has a moderator. This is mandatory. A moderator is responsible for “keeping track" of the feed and the comments posted. Discussions can at times escalate well beyond the intended scope. At other times, entire comment threads go completely astray. In situations like this, the moderator will have to kindly remind those commenting about the intended purpose of the comments and, possibly, remove off-the-track comments. Moderation is carried out using the Comments module; see this page for details on moderation and other closing/opening a comment stream.

A feed can be closed for comments. It is also likewise possible to put a comments stream on a page, but leave it closed, until a certain point in time when it is changed to open.

A feed is not geo-sensitive, nor language sensitive. It always presents the same information regardless of Web site navigation settings (language and possibly set country).

last updated:  Monday, October 15, 2007