Getting a WordPress user account
New users are added automatically when they log in to WordPress using their university username and password. Any staff or student user can create their own account by visiting, http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/account/. That’s all you need to do. The system will fetch information from your central account, but you can’t do much else until an administrator adds you to a role on a site.
Adding a user to a role
If you administer a site, you can add an existing user to a role in your site.
From your dashboard, select Users > Add New from the navigation, and enter their username, and the role, or level of permission, you want them to have.
If a user does not have an account, they have to first create their own account linked to their university username and password as instructed above.
Exceptions for non-unimelb users
Sometimes you need to collaborate with a user outside the University. They might be writing posts for you, or the site may be a collaboration between different groups. You need to request that these users be added via the web help desk.
WordPress is an excellent tool for collaborative publishing, but assigning roles appropriately will help you manage what’s getting published on your site.
The role settings below allow a site admin to manage who can create and publish content and to what degree they can do this without moderation. We strongly suggest that student, or non-unimelb users be set up as Contributor accounts. This way, you have a chance to moderate the content on the site, which is ultimately your responsibility.
This simple summary provides an overview of the user role capabilities on our WordPress sites.
- Subscriber – can read comments and write comments and login to read protected content.
- Contributor – can write own posts but can’t publish them; instead they are submitted for review. An administrator or editor then reviews and publishes their posts. Use this for Students who contribute to your site.
- Author – can upload files plus write and publish own posts.
- Editor – is able to publish posts/pages, manage posts/pages, upload files, moderate comments as well as manage other people’s posts/pages.
- Administrator – can do everything including complete power over posts, pages, plugins, comments, choice of themes, imports, settings, assign user roles and are even able to delete the blog.
If you are an administrator, you can add an existing user to a role on your site through the Users screen of the dashboard. More about user accounts here.
WordPress is a social media platform. If enabled and managed well, it can offer you an excellent platform with which to engage with your audience.
Who can comment?
By default, anyone can comment, but users who are not logged in will have their comments placed in a moderation queue, where you can review, and approve or trash comments. You can adjust the settings in your Dashboard under Settings > Reading.
WordPress sites are spam magnets. People post spam comments in the hope that they can create links back to their own sites and help their ranking in google. If a site is unprotected, it can rack up hundreds of spam comments an hour, so you need protection.
By default, comments are disabled on posts a certain time after publishing (14 days on new sites). This is a useful tool for limiting exposure to comment spam, but you can adjust the setting in your Dashboard under Settings > Reading.
As a second line of defence, our system has a CAPTCHA tool, which will challenge anyone who is not logged in with a ‘type the words below’ field. This is not ideal, and we know that the tool is not very accessible, but we are working to have it improved to expected levels of WCAG compliance.
We also have a third line of defence which identifies and flags spam based on an amazingly efficient algorithm.
So, we’ve done our best to help, but in the end, managing comments is up to the site administrator. Keep an eye on your comment queues because people like to see their legitimate comments go live without too much delay, and it keeps the conversation fresh, and your site engaging.
If we see a comment queue piling up, it’s a sign to us that a site may not be well managed, and may be subject to review under the Currency requirements of our Terms of Service.
If you have a domain you are currently using, we can arrange for it to be mapped to a WordPress site, so that it appears at something like your-site.faculty.unimelb.edu.au instead of blogs.unimelb.edu.au/your-site. You might want to do this for branding consistency, or some other reason.
There are some points to note:
- It takes a little while, involving the assistance of a number of parties. Don’t leave it ’til the last minute.
- There is an outage during migration. The process involves configuration changes at several levels, each one can only take place once the previous one is complete. The outcome is that the domain will redirect to the blogs.unimelb home page for anything up to several hours, until the chain of changes completes. This is only a problem if you are migrating an existing domain into the system.
- The URL is only for public readers of your site. Anyone who logs in will drop back to the underlying blogs.unimelb site address.
- University subdomains are subject to an approval process, but sub.subdomains (eg: http://contextjournal.music.unimelb.edu.au/) are easy enough to obtain in consultation with your faculty web, or marketing manager.