quiltlef.gif (8176 bytes)VCCS Litonline Introduction to Literature
English 112 (English Composition II) 

Editing Front Page Forums

This procedure involves accessing the table of contents and the actual content of web pages made when someone makes a submission.  All of the forum submissions are turned into pages that match the design of the forum web. All of these are kept in a folder with a self-generating table of contents file called "tocproto.htm," which is embedded in the "Contents" page.  Front Page sometimes allows deleting of selected pages (comments) from the forum--sometimes smoothly, sometimes not.

Manually Editing the Table of Contents: For instance, with the Emily forum on which I was working most recently, I delete the offensive, empty, or just mediocre and redundant comments by deleting their page.  In the Emily forum, this does not also delete the link from the "tocproto.htm," so I have to manually access that table of contents set of links and delete the link or, for comments I am saving, sometimes alter the wording for the link to a better title, as well as rearrange page links to group submissions better.

Overlapping Submissions Share a Page: The Emily forum is particularly tricky because newer submissions started posting INTO existing submissions a couple years ago, so that a comment from 2000 will be on a page first made by a comment in 1997 or 1998.  Each comment still is listed in the table of contents, so if I delete a page and the link to it, I still have the older link intact elsewhere on the table of contents (which is about 10-12 screens long at the moment).  Luckily, I can look at the table of contents in a browser and the visited links will be a different color; guided by that, I can go up a few screen lengths to the other link on the "tocproto.htm" file and delete the other, older link, too.  Without doing that, the older links would simply generate a "File Not Found" error message.

In some cases, of course, I want to keep one of the comments on a page that has been doubled up, so I just edit the page to hold the one comment worth keeping and delete from the "tocproto.htm" the link that corrresponded to the deleted comment.

Disappearing Tables of Contents: In other cases, things are more volatile.  For instance, in the "Essay Draft Drop Box" and the "Oedipus" forum, deleting a page blanked the entire "tocproto.htm" except for the very first comment ever sent to the forum.  I'm guessing that the workaround for this would be to insert a blank page into the forum folder and place a table of contents component on it (Front Page makes tables of contents for instructional webs automatically, including adding new pages when one is made).  I haven't tried this yet because I want to cull both forums first, but in the meantime they are dead.  I tried adding a search engine to the "Essay" forum, after specifying to users which works of lit. are analyzed there, but this is of limited usefulness.

Automatic Deletion from the Contents Listing: When the forum works right, as the "Trifles" forum mostly did, deleting a page automatically results in deletion of the link from the table of contents, but that level of cooperation from the software is rare.

Editing any forum can be a tedious business.  With Front Page, the trade-off for being able to edit individual forum pages, which is an asset, is risking losing the whole contents listing and being able to delete only one page at a time.

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