Mac-based Software for Conferencing, Guestbooks, Site Feedback, etc.

ConferWeb Home Page

Software, documentation and data files copyright 1998-2004 Brian Johnson, Department of Architecture, University of Washington.

Forum Administration

ConferWeb supports web-based, password-protected deletion of individual postings or entire threads in each separate guestbook, conference or discussion area. Editing is intended as an administrative function and is limited to deleting entire response entries and discussion threads. You cannot modify the contents of the posting using ConferWeb. (You can, of course, edit the HTML via any normal text editor, but that requires file-level access to the server.)

"edit" links

    The "edit" link, such as that in the sample NewItem.tmpl files, must occur within the file to be edited, though it may be associated with any text or graphics on the page.

    When the edit command is invoked, ConferWeb formats the referring page, inserting check-boxes in place of the <!--CW_RESPONSE--> comments. By clicking on the check boxes, and supplying the correct password, the conference administrator may indicate which items are to be deleted.

    NOTE: In the past, the standard conference template included a <!--CW_RESPONSE--> just before the response form. This permitted "closure" of a thread through deletion of the response form itself, but it can be confusing because it causes what seems to be an "extra" check box to appear on the page during editing. For this reason, the current templates no longer include this.


    Deletion of responses and threads requires entry of the administrative password. A text file named "password.acgi", must exist in the conference folder in order for any administrative culling to occur. The text contained in this file (which is stored as clear text) is compared against the user's password entry to establish authorization.

    At this time there is no way to change this password from the web.

    Note: Savvy webmasters will realize that the name of this file suggests it is a CGI application. This file is simply a text file, but it has this name so that it can be stored in the same directory as the conference files and yet not be available to the web server for serving on the web . Being named ".acgi", any attempt to link to it will cause the server to try and run it, which will fail.

    Note: This behavior varies depending on web server software, verify the behavior before trusting important discussions to this arrangement.

Boundaries of a Cull (deletion)

    The file being edited is divided into a number of blocks of text. The portion from the start of the file to the <!--CW_TOP--> tag cannot be deleted. Deletable blocks begin with the <!--CW_TOP--> or a <!--CW_RESPONSE--> tag and end at the next <!--CW_RESPONSE--> tag or the <!--CW_EOP--> tag.

Deletion of Entire Threads

    If the file being edited is the discussion's Index file, deletion of a text block will usually delete the link to the associated Thread file. ConferWeb extracts the name of the thread file from the deleted block of text and deletes the file (i.e., moves it to the Trash) as well.

    Note: for this to work, the "href" text in the link must be entirely lower case.

The "Filter.Words" Option

If the confer.filter program module is installed in your cgi-bin folder, and if the conference being updated includes a filter.words file, ConferWeb 3.3 filters all user input, removing any occurances of indicated strings. As a consequence, the text strings identified in the filter.words conference-specific configuration file (one to a line) will NEVER appear in posted text.

Beginning with ConferWeb 3.4, it is also possible to specify substitution text to use in place of the filtered text.

This file may be edited with any ASCII text editor, such as TextEdit. It is recommended that you keep it as short as possible. Remember that it indicates strings (character sequences) that will be removed from the input, and that you don't need to remove all of certain strings to render them inoperative or inoffensive.

For example, to effectively suppress all HTML insertions, simply create a filter.words file containing these two lines:

To prevent users from entering functional javascripts, you might use

This would allow discussions of AppleScript, or Javascript, without interference, but would inhibit most efforts to post javascripts to the bulletin board.

The resulting text won't be very pretty though. It might stop malicious HTML from being posted, but what if you want people to be able to post HTML source? In this case it would be better to convert the angle brackets to their "gt" and "lt" equivalents. Beginning with ConferWeb 3.4, you can create a filter.words file where each line contains text to scan for, followed by a tab, followed by replacement text. Our new filter.words file might look like this, using a tab to separate the two bits of text:

    >   &gt;
    <   &lt;

©1995-2004 Brian R. Johnson, Dept. of Architecture, University of Washington