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WYSIWYG Editors

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Are WYSIWYG editors a blessing to web users or a freakish experiment gone terribly wrong? That's a question that you can ask 10 people and get 20 different answers to. This week on Geeks and God we dive into WYSIWYG editors talking about the good, the bad, and why so many web designers hate them while so many web users love them. Love and hate may seem like strong words but that's the level of emotion they bring out in some people. Especially web developers.

Plus, we help you set them up in drupal. It's not as easy as strapping on a WYSIWYG editor and running with it. What options do you give someone? What about input filters? What about administrators? And, should you consider a psuedo-WYSIWYG editor instead? Have you even herd of a psuedo-WYSIWYG editor?

Before we dive into WYSIWYG editors we talk about church copyright and a creative commons hymnal. We have a resource that will, hopefully, help you answer the question, is my church stealing copyrighted material? Come join us for another fun fill episode of Geeks and God.

Thanks for all you do, etc.

I wanted to leave a comment to say how much I appreciate your podcast and blog. I recently started following you. I have a company that does web work for churches and agencies within my denomination and I love the fact you address the issues you do as this helps me communicate with the churches and Christian agencies we work with.

I just downloaded this particular podcast about WYSIWYG editors. This seems like an easy things but it not the easiest thing to get right. However I will say the way editors work within Drupal is one reason we are going that way with the projects we are working on. Thanks so much for the podcasts you have done on Drupal. They are a great help.

TinyMCE and bueditor stuff

Guys,

Thanks much for doing this podcast. I have now used your techniques with bueditor and imce on a couple of sites.

If folks are interested in TinyMCE, check out this screencast that just came out today - http://www.theartlab.net/tinymce. It looks pretty good for how to install TinyMCE.

I am probably on my way to moving away from TinyMCE because of the code it creates. I have had a number of issues with it including how it strips html that I want in there and how it creates a mess of jumbled code.

Thanks,
Shrop

Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator
http://geeksandgod.com/users/shrop

Privacy Laws

Wow! I am almost caught up with listening to the podcasts! I am halfway through this episode. Absolutely amazing.

As I listened to your intro information "invasion of privacy" through user submitted content, I wanted to post some additional information.

There are a variety of theories in which the "right to privacy" would be implicated in the non-criminal setting. For what you are discussing, here are some examples and the legal implications. Starting with the most innocuous content:

1. If you have a public website where users can post pictures, and it is clearly posted that the pictures are user content, and there is a link to request that a picture be removed, then there is probably no basis for someone to sue the website. The website did not publish the picture, they only provided a forum for speech. This assumes that the picture is not touched up in anyway, that the person who posted the photo had the full legal right to do so, and that the site acts reasonably to respond to requests to remove photos that are objectionable. So, I think that your pictures of Matt and Rob at the church picnic can be posted without the consent of the individuals, because it is a public event, and there is no commercial gain from the picture.

2. If you have the same website, but an individual posts a photo taken at the same picnic, but they took the picture of someone doing something embarrassing, or took the picture of someone who was in a secluded area away from the public picnic, then there may be a claim that there is an invasion of privacy. Examples: upskirt pictures, pictures taken in the restroom or a locker room, or something taken with an ultra zoom lens to catch someone in a private setting. I THINK that if you have a link to allow such pictures to be tagged as abusive, reviewed, and removed, that the church will PROBABLY NOT be held liable. The person who posted the pictures might be held liable.

3. If someone in the name of humor photoshops a photo to change the context and make it embarrassing, they may be liable for placing the person in a false light. For example, putting someone's face onto a nude body, or photoshop a photo to make it look like someone is in an embarrassing context, then they have been misleading and portrayed them in a false light. The person who posted the photos may be liable. As long as the church is quick to respond to complaints, it will PROBABLY NOT be liable.

4. If the church takes a user submitted photo and uses it elsewhere on the website, it is a gray area. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked. . . .

Imagine if there is a picture of you on the website. Someone sees it, likes it, and one day you see it on a billboard advertising for a mobile phone provider -- that can't be allowed, right? That is probably an appropriation of your name or likeness. You can probably sue and win.

There is a lawsuit in Federal court in Dallas with these basic facts.

If it is the church doing it, it is a little more gray in my mind. One element of the appropriation of likeness claim is that it be done for commercial gain. Because a church is non profit, they MAY be able to defend the claim. I think it becomes even more gray where instead of a pure ad, like a billboard, it is a featured photo on a website. Then it is more like news simply showing that you were at an event. It is better for a church to get a release so that they get the consent of the individual to use the photo.

Here is more information at Wikipedia.

Sorry for the long comment, but I figured it might help flesh out some of the issues. I am not going to even touch the copyright laws. Now I need to go find out about Wysiwyg.

John
john-simons.com

We Need To Act Differently

Thanks for your post. This is good to know.

When it comes to churches using photos we really need to do it out of love for them. That should be the focus over us needing a sweet photo to use in something like an advertisement.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Agreed.

Matt -

I agree with you completely. But, once you open up for users to submit photos, someone will post an awesome photo that the church would like to use. The church needs to know the requirements to use it correctly: get a license from the person who took/owns the photo AND get a release from any one who is in the photo.

Plus, in the name of community, there needs to be a simple way for someone to flag a photo of them self that they do not want on the site.

John
john-simons.com

License

On our church website we have the ability to flag anything as abusive. This can be a comment, photo, event, anything.

On top of that we have a terms of service based on the cc licensed one on wordpress.com. (http://wordpress.com/tos/)
It address stuff being posted there and even the dmca. It's great that they supplied it under a cc license.

The releases from anyone who submits a photo or is in it is not something we have right now. At this point all photos are not indexed by search engines. But, the releases is an interesting thing. We will have to look into that.

I don't think getting a release from everyone in a photo before posting it is realistic. Any idea how to handle that in a public place? Your previous comment covered that in some detail. What about something as simple as a verbal release?

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Releases

I am now taking off my lawyer hat. I don't know Michigan law, so take this as common sense advice, not legal advice.

I think that the terms of service probably covers the church for the photos being posted to the site. I don't think you need a release for it to be posted in a public forum, if it is identified as user-posted content.

I only think that you need the release if you are going to take the photo and use it in a different way to promote the church or content. This release can be obtained in several ways:

I have a friend who is a pastor at a church that has a school. When people register their children for school, they sign documents that include a release for the school to take photos of the children and use those photos for promotional purposes. If I remember correctly, they have the right to opt out of that document. So, the church could combine a release in some other aspect of signing up for something.

Or, once you identify a picture to use, you could start by identifying the individuals. The lawyer in me (that hat is trying to get back on) would strongly advise something in writing, even if it is just a letter or e-mail, so there is a record of their consent. That way, 5 years later people can still know that you did your due diligence.

Let me know if you need more info.

John
john-simons.com

Thanks

Thanks. The bit in writing makes great sense because sometimes stuff can come up years later.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Google Sites

Google Sites is proud to announce their own WYSIWYG editor (but this one is collaborative.

Markdown and others

There is a class of input filters that sort of fall into the wysiwyg category, but not really. These let you enter plain text into a plain text area, using common text styling, similar to emails that are not HTML formatted.

Markdown is probably the most popular and best maintained. Probably because of its simplicity and readability.
http://drupal.org/project/markdown

Others are:
Texy - http://drupal.org/project/texy
Textile - http://drupal.org/project/textile

Some thoughts about this method

Similar to built-in drupal filters. Like how drupal will add P tags and link to URLs.

Completely human readable. Or at least "more" human readable. (no questions like what does the <p> mean?)

It is stored in the database as plain text. not HTML. Now, granted, this is a _WEB_ based content management system for a _WEB_ site. And the presentation language is HTML. But, and this is a big but, do you know how this content will be used in the future? 5 years from now? 40 years from now? A major concern in this whole discussion is the cleanness of the code that you are storing in the database. How are you going to migrate all of this content from Drupal over to another totally different system? 40 years from now, we may no longer be using HTML, or PHP, or Drupal. (I can only barely imagine such a world.) But if such a condition did exist, I bet plain text with line breaks would still be readable. Plain text is the longest lasting common denominator.

OK, now, the downsides: This plain text stuff that the user enters in has to be interpreted to become HTML. So you have to trust that Markdown will do its job consistently. You do have to trust that Drupal will be caching Markdown's interpretation, so that it doesn't have to be processed at every page request. You do have to train the user a little on how to format Markdown.

I don't know if there is a way to limit the markdown tags that a user is allowed to use. Or do override what markdown does. For example, you'd want to disable H1 and H2 completely. You can do H1 in markdown like this:

this is an h1
=============

It would be great to be able to override that to become an h3 instead.

Finally, probably your solution of using BUEditor and plain HTML is still the best solution for now. But this option of converting plain text to HTML is interesting to consider.

Creative Synergy Podcast...

I am behind in my listening to the podcast and am trying to catchup. You mentioned the copyright talk on Creative Synergy Podcast, which really interested me... I tried to go to their site, but it has expired... Do you have a contact that I might be able to get in touch with and grab their podcasts? Thank you.

oops..

Anthony Coppedge was one of the hosts. You can find him on the web at http://www.anthonycoppedge.com/blogs/

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com