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December 10, 2008 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Journal replacement (Wordpress?) – seeking blog software that will allow me to designate categories of users with permissions to view content.

I’m looking for a replacement of my pen-and-paper journal, and am considering using a blog format because I’d like to be able to categorize each entry so that I can create “custom readings lists” (for lack of a better description) – for example, I’d like to share certain parts of the journal with certain people without allowing them access to the whole thing. For example, with a few keystrokes, I’d like to perform a quick ordering of all entries appropriate for my 10-year-old.

I’m not sure what blogging software to use, because every web search I perform using words like “category,” “access,” “permissions,” etc., brings up technical details unrelated to my question.

Basically, I would like the software to be able to do the following:
- Allow me to categorize each entry as either personal, family, or friends. The Family and Friends categories would each be automatically a “child” group of Personal. However, “Family” and “Friends” are not mutually exlcusive categories, so some entries will be Family-only, some Friends-only, some both.
- If someone is a Family member, I’d like them to be able to click on the Family category, and see ONLY Family entries. The idea is to avoid having children or relatives reading Personal entries.
- I’d like the Friends entries, and some (but not all) of the Family entries to be viewable online. The rest I don’t want to be “published” at all.

Also, one final consideration: I’m not sure if simply putting something in a category is enough “security.” Since this is a personal journal and I don’t plan on putting any but the most public posts online, I’m not too concerned about passwords/permissions and all that, but I want to be sure that if I order posts under “Family,” that a child could read through the posts uninterrupted without being bounced back to the master list of all entries.

I have downloaded and installed Wordpress and the Advanced Category Excluder plug-in, which appears to have the ability to “hide” certain categories so that they don’t appear on my home page. (This would appear to address the issue of publishing only “Friends” entries online; I would basically use the plug-in to hide all other categories.) I’m not sure if the plug-in has more nuanced functionality, such as being able to publish some entries and not others (i.e., some Family entries). (Although I suppose if I wanted to do that, I could categorize them as *both* Family and Friends, right?)

Although I know little about the available software, I’m a quick study, and have no problem playing around with software to understand it better. If Wordpress, or a plug-in, or the ACE plug-in, has this functionality, great – just want to find out from those who know before I spend a lot of time with software that may not offer a means to my end. Thanks to all willing to advise.
posted by dreamphone to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Livejournal lets you create "custom filters," but they're effective only if your readers also have Livejournal accounts as well. But they are very easy to set up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 AM on December 10, 2008

I was going to suggest Livejournal as well, especially since it seems you do want to have posts that group X can see but not group Y and want to have personal posts (that perhaps only you can see). I guarantee you, if you use Wordpress and do not use passwords and/or other measures nosy family members (and anyone else poking around) will find things you do not want them to find (often by accident), as will Google, unless you are careful with your robot file. Just excluding categories or posts from the front page isn't any kind of security at all for things you do not want to be completely public to anyone visiting your site.

Also, since you are new to online journaling, Livejournal is a great place to get a feel for it without having to know all the technical stuff. You can always switch to blogging software at a later date if you feel the need/want to do so and know more about how to secure things from everyone's eyes.
posted by Orb at 10:11 AM on December 10, 2008

I would gently suggest avoiding WordPress if you plan to do much of anything outside of its basic "write things, post them at some point" model.
posted by brennen at 10:16 AM on December 10, 2008

I would gently suggest avoiding WordPress if you plan to do much of anything outside of its basic "write things, post them at some point" model.

That's silly. Wordpress is an extraordinarily powerful piece of software.


With that said, viewer authentication is a weak point with wordpress. If it was my website, I would set up my permalinks to use the category name, and then use .htaccess to password protect the categories I wanted protected.

That way you have: - viewable. - viewable - password protected

...and any 'family' entries would appear somewhere like:

which would require HTTP authentication.
posted by Jairus at 10:57 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

...but I third the idea that if you want a no-hassle way to do this, LiveJournal is your best bet. The only issue is that you need your family to have LJ accts if you want them to see your restricted 'family' posts.
posted by Jairus at 10:58 AM on December 10, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies so far. Didn't know of LiveJournal, so I will check it out.

Since this is pretty much 90% replacement of pen/paper journal and 10% fun with images and online-viewable content, I'm not that worried about the need for people to have compatible software. For example, this is something I'm picturing sharing with only a handful of people in my life, and even then, I'd prefer to have control of the distribution - meaning that I would do the clicking and sorting, and allow them to read the search results.
posted by dreamphone at 11:04 AM on December 10, 2008

I wouldn't approach it the way Jarius does -- you're still leaving a thousand different ways to access the post in WordPress. RSS, other categories, etc.

You really need a plugin to extend WP's security model (I MeMailed you one option), but you will probably find LJ easier. Yes, your friends/family will need LJ accounts... but that's not really substantially different from needing accounts on your blog.
posted by toomuchpete at 11:09 AM on December 10, 2008

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