[pmwiki-users] Announcing: wikibox (kind of)

Peter Bowers pbowers at pobox.com
Mon Aug 11 10:25:52 CDT 2008

Wikibox is an email interface to pmwiki.  It allows reading (i.e.,
request an email with the content of a page) and writing (i.e., send
source which can be written to a page) in addition to certain
subscription possibilities (subscribe, unsubscribe, blacklist, etc.)

I've got it in a working state but I'm not sure that the interface
itself is exactly where it needs to be and I'm looking for some people
who would take a look at it and then offer their input.

I've got a fairly empty pmwiki installation set up for this at
www.qdk.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php.  I've given wikibox permission to do
any reading and writing within the Test group.  The address you need
is wikibox at qdk.org.

If you send an email to that address with the subject "usage" it will
reply with an email giving you all the various possibilities of what
you can do with wikibox.

HOWEVER, wikibox only "wakes up" when the page with the appropriate
markup is loaded.  This page exists at
www.qdk.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=WikiBox.Check.  Thus you will need to
go there to load the page in order to get any return emails.

("But, wait!" they said, "doesn't that make an email interface a bit
pointless if you have to go and load a page to use it?!"  Yes, that's
true, but in a final setup it would have a cronjob or something that
would wget this page every 10 minutes or something.  I haven't done
that on this setup because I think people will want to look at the
output of the markup to see what's going on at least as long as the
testing and evaluation is going on...)

And there's also the problem of a moderator.  I'm not really
interested in moderating messages involved in this test, but I've left
the default permissions for wikibox which require moderating for
things like subscription requests and writing to a page and etc.  (All
that is configurable, but I've left it at the default for now)  So
I've set up another page here:


Whenever you load that page it will go out and check the email for the
moderator.  If it finds an email with a recognized subject then it
will modify the subject (changing "CONFIRM or REJECT" to "CONFIRM")
and modify the body (adding the moderator's password) and send that
message back.  What this means to you as a tester is that if you try
to do something that requires moderation then you will need to go and
load that page -- you will moderate your own action if that makes

(This Moderate page is actually a demonstration of some of the new
email capabilities contained within WikiSh and is unrelated to WikiBox
although administrators of WikiBox may want to use something like this
to help their administration of the recipe...)

Anyway, once you get the usage message you will see that the first
step is to subscribe.  That will require a confirmation from you and
then you will have to go and moderate your own request to be
subscribed.  (Note that although an author name and a password are
requested they are currently ignored -- that'll be in the next

Anyway, I'd appreciate it if a couple people could look at the general
approach to this and make suggestions.  Suggestions can go from the
wording on messages (all very configurable, but it makes sense to have
the best possible wording for the defaults) to the choice of subjects
(currently requires an edit for every confirm - probably better to
default to that) to the type of confirmations and moderations that are
required (again, configurable but if a better default could be found)
to whatever else...

Do be aware that this is a request to take part in an alpha test, so
don't be surprised if we hit speed bumps along the way...  And it will
probably be a long, slow test rather than a short intense period of
making lots of changes.  So only take part if you're prepared to be a
bit patient... :-)


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