I know most forum software offers the possibility of censoring language used on the board. The admin can specify words that are ‘bad’ and will be automagically replaced by a different desired pattern. I tried out SMF 1.1.5 and it has this ability. Now for the idea:
We could use this feature to link the forum more tightly with the WiKi. This is now possible as we have the code-snippets page that will hopefully become the central repository for such re-usable code. We could use the censor filter to link words like ‘JGN’, ‘Darkstar’, ‘MD5Importer’ etc directly to the specific page, which contains a brief summary of the particular library and links to additional information.
Firstly it would greatly increase the visibility of all these snippets but it will also allow users who are not familiar with all the acronyms to find out what people are talking about, without asking the same basic questions over and over again. Too often do I see that answers similar to ‘how does jme support developing an MMO?’ get answers ‘… and there are JGN and PDS which can help you… for GUI use FengGUI of GBUI…’ etc. The user then has to go and do a search on all these words to understand his options. (If the person already knows how to find this WiKi page, he probably will not ask such a question any more…). Now compare this to ‘… and there are JGN and PDS which can help you… for GUI use FengGUI of GBUI…’. For the author it would take the same amount of time to type, but for the reader, the post would be so much more informative.
Setting up this system would require:
Go to forum admin panel -> Forum -> Posts and Topics -> Censored Words
10:1 atm… looks like people like the idea… I myself now have some reservations though, as I am not sure how it will work out with the posts which contain source code and variables named JGN etc. Also - what happens when the reserved word is ALREADY IN a link… then it would create double markup, which will be messed up. Not being allowed to use these words anywhere might be a big sacrifice…
I dont know… I am starting to think I hurried too much creating this poll and perhaps we should scratch the whole idea sigh
How about setting up a test? Add the filter for 'Mindgamer' to point to some wiki page, then we can make some test posts in this thread to try all these scenarios. Its a great idea if we can make it work.
Maybe we could adopt a decorator or prefix for known keywords and use those in the messages. This would prevent the filter from applying to unwanted text, like code. Ex. _Mindgamer would work, but MindGamer would be left alone.
Would the filter apply to previous posts, or only new posts that are made?
I made an SMF installation for testing this out… and indeed just making straight words into links can cause problems.
Using a marker, is indeed an option, but that is starting to be troublesome already… sigh. Php is easy… perhaps I should just write some regex function that is run every time a post is made and does not do substitutions if the term is inside markup already? But it would have to be inserted into the SMF source and that is troublesome as only 1 person can do this atm… When we upgrade SMF, the code would have to be upgraded also… etc. All in all I think it is very doable…
The final result could be just as easy as described previously… using the admin interface for inserting terms that should be linked… <shrugs>