What Was I Thinking?

User Participation, and Lack Thereof

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Way back in October, I mentioned that I wanted OneServing to be a place where people could post their own food tips – just little tricks you pick up with experience, like how to peel tomatoes quickly.

For the past few months, I’ve all but abandoned that idea because there was no way to prevent users from posting in the categories that I’ve reserved for the food info posts. All the common plugins cited around the net date from the pre-WordPress 2.3 era – i.e. before they moved to the “taxonomy” system. I spent days searching for one that works with WordPress 2.3+ but there was nothing out there. Eventually, I decided that user participation would have to wait until I could pay someone to do it for me. This would destroy the only sticky aspect of the site in the first place, but I don’t have the time to teach myself about the inner workings of WordPress and php AND do all the research for the food.

(Come to think of it, lack of time is a common theme in these posts, isn’t it?)

Yesterday, I got very excited because I fiiiinally found a plugin to do the job – Level2Categories 2. It allows you to set a minimum user level to access each category. As the admin, I can allow myself and future Editors to post into the Site News and various food categories. Any authors who self-register will be limited to Tips, Articles and Recipes and subject to moderation. Perfect!

No.

After spending ages setting the plugin up for my 50+ categories, I ran into the fatal flaw. The plugin links some WordPress tables on the wrong ID, so it doesn’t always correctly identify the categories. Several of my categories were being identified as tags and a few of my tags were showing up in the category list. Shit! I can understand how the author might have missed it, because the problem only shows up if you add categories AFTER adding native WordPress tags.

Never mind. I might spend some time rewriting the whole thing later this month if I get the chance. Would probably be easy if I was any good at php but with my limited experience, I spend more time fiddling with syntax errors than actually achieving things. It’s like my MUDding days, all over again.

[For those in the know, he’s linking wp_terms_taxonomy to wp_terms on terms_taxonomy_id = terms_id and copying them into his own table. That’s fine if you only use categories or use fixed categories that won’t change after you start adding tags or other taxonomy types. Doesn’t work with my constantly-expanding list of tags and categories.]

The author has seen a few comments I left on the plugin page before I figured out the real problem, so I’ve asked him to email me to explain it properly. With any luck he’ll fix it for me.

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Written by Weefz

6 March, 2008 at 2:44 pm

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