Filtering comments on a site has become a service that has spawned an entire industry because so many rogue programs and bots crawl the web and attempt to spam any user input enabled forms.
CP5 has several ports where user feedback can be acquired so this article is an explanation of the mechanisms in use. CMN has deployed two separate measures to combat the onslaught: CAPTCHA and a profanity filter.
CAPTCHA, as defined by Wikipedia, is simply a mechanism that prevents programs from auto filling and submitting content. By placing a jpeg image that requires a user to identify letters and numbers for verification, programs are thwarted (at least until they figure out how to scan a jpeg).
This prevents a great deal of spam from reaching CP5 sites. However, that still leaves open the possibility of a human submitting undesirable content into comment fields. For that level of security, CMN has a profanity filter in place.
The "Profanity Filter" blocks comments that it deems a violation of the profanity levels CMN identified. The filter then flags those comments approval by an editor before appearing on the site. The main criteria for blocking a comment are:
- Offensive words / profanity
- Links to external sites (stops spam)
While this can be frustrating in some instances, it is important to maintain the integrity of the sites and prevent major abuse across articles. Unfortunately, this is not a service that can be customized for each site on the network – the profanity filter cannot be "turned off" on a school by school basis.
This is not censorship. This practice simply protects your site and requires moderation of comments. The individual newspaper can make the decision to manually edit or approve any blocked comment – CMN stays out of those decisions.
With regard to comment moderation, CP5 newspapers have two options they can set under "Users > Settings"
- Whether to require log in for users to comment
- Whether to moderate comments before they appear on the site.
These two options are independent of each other.
If a news staff elects to not moderate comments before they appear on the site, that does NOT mean all comments go live immediately. The profanity filter is still in place and must be monitored.
These are fairly standard practices across the industry, but we always welcome comments and suggestions to make the process more tailored to the college newspaper.