little green footballs

Tech Note: LGF Private Comments Made Simple

Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 5:54:14 pm

Image via Shutterstock

We've had the ability to post private comments that can only be read by other registered LGF users for a while, but now we have an interface that makes adding private sections to a comment very simple.

There's a new button at the top right of the commenting area that looks like a cute little lock:

When you click this button a popup dialog appears:

The "Usernames" field is where you enter the names of the people who can read your private comment; if you leave this field blank any registered user can read it. If you want to address your private remarks to a particular user or users, start typing a username (which never changes) or a display name (which can be changed), and you'll see an autocomplete box pop up:

Hit Return to select the username; if you choose a display name it will be automatically converted to the username. For example, my display name is "Charles Johnson," but my actual username is just "Charles." If you select "Charles Johnson" from the autocomplete list, it will appear in the Usernames field like this:

The larger editing area under the Usernames field is where you enter the text you want to be private. Notice that this editing area includes the usual formatting tools, and everything else works exactly as it does when posting a public comment; web addresses are converted to links, and videos, tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram photos are all inserted automatically just by pasting in the URLs.

When everything is set the way you want it, just click (or tap) the OK button and the private section will be inserted into the comment editing area. When you post the comment, the private area will be hidden, with a button that reveals it to the addressees (or to all registered users if there are no addressees).

On the to-do list: sending an email to users when a private comment addressed to them is posted.

On the technical side, the private area of your comment is encrypted with a super-strong encryption method, and decrypted on the server when someone clicks the button to show it -- so if someone looks at the page source, they'll only see a string of random-appearing characters.