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All societies face troublemakers from time to time and the anonymity the Internet provides encourages people to display their worst behavior without fear of discovery. Trouble often comes in the form of abusive or spammy comments. Fortunately, Drupal includes several features that not only let you control who can comment but also let you decide which comments should be published and hide or delete comments that have already appeared. On the lighter side, you can control how comments appear by default and whether or not your site's members can change those settings.
To start off, we are going to create content as the administrator in the forum by clicking on Create content and Forum topic. If you are a Lynda.com premium member or have the series on a disk, you have an exercise file that has the text for this Forum topic. We are going to go there now by clicking on the Finder and hiding everything else. Go to the Exercise Files, Chapter 10 and it's 10_04. The name of the file is forum-post.txt. Here, we'll copy the title by hitting Command+C or Ctrl+C on the PC and go back to our Drupal interface and paste it in the Subject, Command+V or Ctrl+V on the PC. We'll do the same thing for the Body.
Finally, we'll decide which forum we want to put this in. The question is what do you love most about living under water. The most appropriate forum for that I think is, Tips for underwater living. We'll scroll down to the bottom and we don't have to change anything else; we'll just say, Save. Very good, we've created our forum topic. Now, let's go and take a look at what that looks like from the point of view of Fishy Joe, an ordinary member. We'll go to the forum by typing forum next to our URL and there we are; Tips for underwater living.
That's the name of the forum. Go in and there is the post that the administrator just made. Click on it and there it is. Now, let's say that Fishy Joe is in a rambunctious mood and decides to add a new comment and do it all in caps and say, I HATE THE IDEA OF LIVING UNDERWATER!!!!1111. And the Comment says, Who Would Be So Stupid To Do That?!?!?! Fishy Joe previews it, says, yeah, I like saying that and says, Save, and it appears on the site.
Let's go back to the administrative interface and see what we can do if we see that and decides, you know, we don't want that on the site. So, we'll switch back and in here, we go to Administer and Comments. This shows all of the published comments and we see that at the top and we'd say, we don't like that; there are few things we can do. One is we can click in the checkbox next to it and then either un-publish the comment by leaving this as it is and then clicking Update or we could delete it by selecting that and clicking Update. A second way we can affect this comment is by going to the Edit link here and then go up to the Administration link at the top and here, we could just un-publish it by clicking on that radio button and going down, saying Preview and then save. We are just going to leave it alone for now.
We'll go back to Administer, and Comments. I want to show you another way that you can stop comments from appearing. We can do this by going to Administer, and Permissions, and then down to Comments. Now, you'll notice, we have permissions granted for all the authenticated user and contributing user to both post comments and post comments without approval. Let's say, we just want them to be able to post comments but we want to be able to approve all the comments that comes through. We'll uncheck these post comments without approval. Go down to the bottom of the screen, and say, Save permissions. Now, let's go back to Fishy Joe.
Let's say that he sees that he has made a little stink here and wants to add another nasty comment. He says Add new comment. He says I hate you all!!! You bottom dwellers!!! And then says Preview, goes down to the bottom and says Save. This time, however, his comment hasn't appeared on the site because we don't allow comments to appear without approval and in fact, he gets this message which must make him feel really bad, your comment has been queued for moderation.
Now, let's go back to the administrator site and see exactly what that means. We go to Administer and Comments and this link up here Approval queue. This shows all the comments that haven't yet been published on the site because they haven't received our approval. We could look at it, of course, by clicking on it. I don't like that, I am going to go back and say, Delete the selected comment. But right now, we are gong to publish it and I'll show you why in just a moment. So, we have these two abusive comments, which for some reason we've decided to leave. Let's say, the administrator decides to go into the forum and try to make peace. Goes to that same post, goes to one of the comments and says, you know I am going to reply to that and say, Why so much anger? Breathe in, breathe out... Try to calm down, Fishy Joe. And then we'll just say Preview and once again, Save.
You'll notice something here. When you reply to a comment, it indents it in this way. We'll show how you can change that sort of display, but enough about abuse. Now, let's change how member see comments including how this is indented. To do that, we stay on our administrative interface and go to Administer and Content types. Now remember, this was a forum post. So, we are going to change the way people see comments in the forum posts by going to forum topic and clicking on Edit. We are going to take a close look at all the comment settings that are possible in the forum topics. We click on comment settings and we have a lot of options.
First of all, whether or not we allow comments at all. If we don't want to allow comments in forums, we could just click on Disabled or Read Only, which would only allow administrators to post there. Secondly, we can change how they are displayed and when you saw that indenting, it's because it was a threaded list. I am going to say, Flat list - collapsed and we'll go back and take a look at how that looks. Let's scroll down, Save content type, then go back to Fishy Joe's account, reload the page. So, you can see that we've changed the way that comments appear instead of being expanded and in a threaded format, they are now flat for most recent to oldest and to see any one of them, you have to click and then you see the comment.
Going back to the administrative interface, let's edit more ways that people comments in forum topics by clicking on Edit and Administer, Content types, scrolling down again to the Comment settings and clicking on that link. So, let's turn it back to Threaded list - expanded. You can change whether the most recent or oldest are at the top. You can change how many comments appear on a page, if more than this many comments are on the page, there will be a link at the bottom that says More, which users can click on to see the older or newer comments.
Finally, we can change Comment controls. I am going to turn these on above the comments so you can see what a difference it makes. Scroll down and say Save content type. So, we have changed whether for not Fishy Joe can affect how he sees comments. Let's go back to his account and click on that forum topic to see if the change is good. And indeed, he can now whether or not he sees that as a flat list or he sees it as a threaded list - collapsed, how many comments per page he sees and so forth. If he clicks on Save settings, then there you see it. There is this collapsed list, which is threaded just as he wanted it.
There's one more thing we can do as the administrator to display comments in an interesting way. Let's go back to the administration interface, click on Administer and then to Blocks. There is a block that is installed by default when you have the Commenting module turned on called Recent comments. We are going to move this into the right side bar along with those other things we have by clicking on that drop-down menu and moving up to right side bar and then scrolling to the bottom and Save blocks. Now, if you scroll down the side here, you'll see all of the other things we had to have before in addition to Recent comments, it shows only the title of the comment and how long ago it was added.
If we go to Fishy Joe's, we'll see that the same it true. Scroll down the right-hand side and you'll see the recent comments. If you click on any of these comments, you'll go directly to it. Here's that why so much anger. Now, before we finish this video, I am going to go back and clean up all of those abusive comments by going once more into Administer, Comments and selecting the ones that I don't like, these two, and delete them. Yes, I really do. Finally, we'll look at the Approval queue and make sure that we have nothing there that was waiting for approval.
As you can see, you have many options for controlling how comments appear on your Drupal site, including whether or not they appear in the first place. In addition, there are modules that will extend these features but Drupal's built-in features for handing comments should be able to handle pretty much everything that you need to do.
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