David Madore's WebLog: Update on the comments system

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Entry #0653 [older|newer] / Entrée #0653 [précédente|suivante]:

(Tuesday)

Update on the comments system

I made a couple of rather major changes to the comments system. A couple of security issues and bugs have been fixed, but more importantly, certain (non-ASCII) Unicode characters are now permitted in nicknames (technically, Latin letters from the Latin-1 and Latin Extended A supplements), and a moderation system has been put in place.

Concerning account names: they are now case-insensitive and accent-insensitive (if your account is called Joë, you will be able to log in by typing joe or J Ô E or similar things), but the accents and capitalization provided at creation are preserved (so it will always display as Joë). If you are unhappy about the way your account is named or capitalized or accented, please send me an email, and I'll make the necessary changes; I can also allow non-Latin characters on a case-by-case basis. Automatization of the possibility of making changes to one's account settings is next in the TODO list.

The other major change concerns moderation. I am becoming rather tired of the number of people (essentially anonymous cowards) who post comments which are entirely content-free or blatantly off-topic. It's not so much that it annoys me, but it sort of drowns out more interesting and pertinent comments from people who have useful or sensible things to say. It's a shame, given the number of extremely competent people who sometimes do me the honor of commenting on this blog, to have their signal drowned under the noise of irrelevant chattering. On the other hand, I strongly dislike any kind of censorship, and so long as there is no clear abuse I don't see why I should refuse to spare a few kilobytes on my hard drive for some marginally-relevant posts.

So I will now be moderating comments, but the moderation is elective: by default, only positively moderated comments will be displayed, but if the user so chooses he can view all comments, or at any rate those comments which have not yet been moderated one way or another. The choice is made by using the form at the bottom of every page in the comments system; it requires cookies to be accepted (the cookie is called showlevel and has value 0, 1 or 2), and the choices should be self-explanatory; the default value is to display only positively moderated (aka approved) comments. This is quite independent from the possibility of creating an account (I won't be storing your display level on the accounts database: it exists only in the form of the cookie which you keep on your computer). Even when the user chooses to view all comments (well, except those which are deleted, this is another thing; I probably won't be deleting people's comments for any reason, but the posters themselves are allowed to do so), comments which have been moderated down (aka disapproved) or have yet to be moderated are indicated as such: please do not reply to comments which have been moderated down. Incidentally, for Mozilla users, who can see the number of comments on each entry through an XBL binding, this number should take into account your present level of display. I'm not sure it really works, though.

All this is still rather experimental. Please tell me if anything breaks (and you don't think I would notice).

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