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Content Screening


I am promoting the installation and use of Foswiki within my company and one of the issues that has come up is people entering swear words and other non-pc language into a page - what is there to stop them?

I have had a quick look through and cannot see any sort of content screening plugin but maybe I am not looking in the right place....

I guess some sort of list of banned terms could be put in a topic and then topics highlighted where these terms are found......

We can use the BlackListPlugin to remove a users access to change pages, just wondering what other ideas are out there.

Many thanks,

Neil Good.

Hi Neil,

The closest plugin to what you request is probably the AntiWikiSpamPlugin It scans topics with a list of regular expressions and will deny save if the content matches. It is fairly lightweight, only being invoked on save and attach. It has the ability to also search a local list of expressions for blocking. (There are some unreleased enhancements in SVN that add a bypass list of users, and a "sensitivity" control to allow a number of matches, or a simulate mode where matches are logged but not blocked.)

That said, trying to fix an internal employee behavior problem with a technical solution might not be that successful. Revert the topic and a few well placed comments to HR might be another solution.

-- GeorgeClark - 10 Dec 2009

I also advice not to make a big issue out of it. And going to HR can put this person into a situation that is much more severe than a little swear word deserves. Unless the swearing is right out vandalism it may be better to take a softer approach.

The best reaction on a wiki is to change the content the wiki way.

And if the guys are co-located on your site - take a walk to their desks and have a chat with them. Tell them that you are concerned that too many swear words may make the management pull the plug on the wiki. If you make a big issue out of it people can worst case loose their job and you will end up with having people against you.

If your company is multi-cultural also remember that the definition of P.C is very regional. Americans and British are much more sensitive to swearing than other cultures. In Denmark they swear on the news on the main TV stations and we would never even think of beeping out swear words on TV. Worse you will find the Danes using the English F-word as a soft swear word when they speak Danish. And you find similar behaviour in most other European countries. And you cannot say any culture is wrong. Culture is culture. But in a business with different cultures people must follow the company culture and naturally swear words do not belong on a professional wiki so you are right to react on it. But do it in a soft and friendly way. Edit out the bad words. And have a friendly verbal chat at the user's desk or on the phone and you will see that a new wiki will soon find the right tone. People will see the discrete edits where the words are altered into softer words and they will understand. I am sure that you will not need any plugins to filter content on a wiki behind a firewall.

Last thing you can do with a relatively new wiki is to issue a news letter about it. In this newsletter you can put some useful information about new plugins, pointers to new content, give ideas to small applications etc. And in such a newsletter you can sneak in a message to the users about avoiding swearing on the wiki pages. This is a soft way to teach the users good behaviour. I used this approach when users suddenly started automatically put write access restrictions on all their pages and when a few started putting large attachments on pages instead of using our document storage system. It worked well. People mostly followed the guidelines and were happy to receive all the positive messages in the newsletter. Corrective emails with no positive content are not as effective as a positive information email with some extra hints of a corrective nature.

-- KennethLavrsen - 10 Dec 2009

Kenneth and George - thanks for the feedback...I agree with you both about the wiki approach and this sort of behaviour symptomatic of deeper issues. I had had a couple of discussions and this had come up as a recurring theme so your suggestions about providing a mechanistic manner of determining unacceptable content enables to tick a box along the road to getting the wiki up and running...I fervently hope the wiki way and general respect for other people as well as not allowing an anonymous login to edit pages should be enough over time.

The other apect is the readiness of yor support as well which is another strong plus.

Thanks once again.

-- NeilGood - 10 Dec 2009

I would chime in also and add that I guess these issues were raised by people that thought that "wiki" meant anonymous editing. You will find that inside a company, publishing things with systems like foswiki where all contents has a clearly identified author (via the history mechanism) deter any vandalism as the management can immediately see the culprit. Just reply to the skeptics: "Thus we should ban emails as employee can send offensive emails to the whole company". On the opposite, you will find that this "big brotherish" thing can frighten people and make them reluctant to contribute and you will have to constantly entice them to contribute to the wiki.

Things are different for an external foswiki of course.

-- ColasNahaboo - 12 Dec 2009

Deleted 'and British' from Kenneth's remarks above. On a personal level, we're not that sensitive. However swearing is seen as unprofessional, and can make it easier for an employer to get in trouble over sexual harassment or bullying, so it's actively discouraged.

As I recall there was a (tm)wiki plugin designed to filter offensive language - I think it was called AbusePlugin. It was extremely crude. However it might serve your purposes, if it runs with the TWikiCompatibilityPlugin.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 13 Dec 2009

QuestionForm edit

Subject Not sure...
Version Foswiki 1.0.8
Status Answered
Topic revision: r6 - 13 Dec 2009, CrawfordCurrie - This page was cached on 13 May 2019 - 17:30.

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