Please help me with my webdesign decision overload!
June 16, 2010 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I need help determining the right web tools to use to create a site with limited and very specific capabilities. I've asked all the computer people I know what I should do and they all say it can be done but they aren't sure how so I am turning to you.

I want to make a website where people can write and tag a short piece of text (no more than 500 words) and post it to the website. I don't want any user accounts but I would like people to put their names with the text if they want. Ideally, they would also be able to upload and tag a picture seperate from the text.

I then want the website to be searchable by tags and have a page that lists all the tags used. This is for an art project and therefore does not need to have any extended capabilities or be particularly fancy. I'm sure that wordpress or drupal or etc can do just this BUT the problem I am having is figuring out the specifics. And I have spent WAY too long reading documentation that doesn't get me any closer to a solution.

Do I make a blog anyone can post to? Is it a forum? I don't want any comments though. Should I just make a form and then post the submissions myself? I am totally overwhelmed and I feel like this should be kind of simple. Any specific suggestions would be really appreciated.
posted by rachums to Technology (10 answers total)
Best answer: Well it is pretty simple but I think the reason you are overwhelmed is that there are a lot of ways to do this, so you have a lot of options.

Simple solutions:

I would create a form that submits to WordPress exactly like a blog entry and goes into a queue for approval. If you don't know how to do that, technically, I would use either the Contact Form 7 plugin or FormStack to create this submission form, with an image upload, and copy the accepted entries into blog posts.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:10 AM on June 16, 2010

Apart from needing user accounts, it seems like Tumblr would work perfectly. It's dead simple to use and has the tagging/sorting features you need. Maybe you could create a single account on Tumblr and share the login info with whoever needs to post their text?
posted by estherbester at 9:18 AM on June 16, 2010

Best answer: I would think WordPress would work for this, but I'm not sure how you can expose the posting interface without also exposing the administration interface. I did find a couple of WordPress plug-ins that might help you, though I've got no experience or a basis for an opinion for either of them. TDO Mini Forms, "allows you to add highly customisable[sic] forms that work with your Wordpress Theme to your website that allows non-registered users and/or subscribers (also configurable) to submit and edit posts and pages." NextGEN Public Uploader, "allows users to upload images from the frontend of your blog to a specified gallery."

Both of these plugins allow anonymous posting, but hold the posts or images for moderation. In my opinion that's the best way. A system that accepts anonymous posts and pictures with no moderation is almost certain to get dick jokes and goatse within the first few hours. For example, during the Green Revolution in Iran, some kind soul put up an interface so that people from Iran could post to twitter anonymously. It took less than three hours for the first dick joke.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:18 AM on June 16, 2010

sounds like you want something like - source code is here
posted by DreamerFi at 9:19 AM on June 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

You could create the blog at and then give the secret email address to those participating. They can then email pictures, text and create tags as they wish. The page you need there is

You could of course do this in a blog but the above could be quicker to get set up.

A tag cloud is there as a widget but not as a full page in the or you could use a category list in the sidebar. In this one your options are wider in a blog.
posted by markx2 at 9:19 AM on June 16, 2010

I believe how you want to deal with spam will be critical to your decision-making process. What's to stop the EMBIGGEN YOUR PROWESS and CHEAP WATCHES post-bots, scouring the 'Net's HTML for <textarea>, from dumping their spam all over your site?
posted by adipocere at 9:26 AM on June 16, 2010

adipocere, that's pretty simple with recaptcha. Personally, I would write a web app to do this using Pylons. Your mileage may vary depending upon your tech savviness.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:43 AM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

That's something that can be done very very very easily with (off the top of my head) around 20 or so lines of PHP code, with a MySQL database backend. Both of which are free.
posted by Biru at 10:41 AM on June 16, 2010

That's both true and not true.

It's true for small, unnoticed sites. Even a "I am not a robot" checkbox will defeat many casual spambots. As the site grows more popular, stronger measures are required. It is not true in the sense that CAPTCHA does almost nothing for bots on Yahoo and the like. Amusingly, hanging out on a blackhat forum after a CAPTCHA had been introduced into Yahoo, about a day afterwards I noticed bounties coming up for freelancers to provide code to pass the new security measure. It was good for about three weeks and then it was back to business as usual.

Also, if you go the CAPTCHA route, what is your alternative for visually-impaired users? If it is an art project which receives any federal funding, you will have to look at Section 508 stuff — fun!

That's why I introduce this topic, so the OP can take it into consideration in whatever he or she programs, downloads, or purchases.
posted by adipocere at 11:44 AM on June 16, 2010

reCaptcha provides sound-based captcha, adipocere.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:47 AM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

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