Althing (weblog)


1. Introduction
    1.1 Assumptions
    1.2 Features

2. Alting demonstration web page
    2.1 Althing for the impatients
    2.2 Posting
        2.2.1 Add a post
        2.2.2 Preview post (#0)
        2.2.3 Post post (#1)
    2.3 Replying (#2)
    2.4 Adding files (#3 & #8)
    2.5 Harvesting (#11)
    2.6 More posts, more to see
        2.6.1 Almost everything (post #5)
        2.6.2 Quoting (post #6)
        2.6.3 Postillion d'amour (post #7
        2.6.4 Post a link (post #9
        2.6.5 Redacted (post #10
        2.6.6 Harvesting (post #11
        2.6.7 Unpublished (Post #12)
        2.6.8 The bottom line

3. Content options
    3.1 Content
    3.2 Configure
        3.2.1 Status and visibility
        3.2.2 The e-mail alert messages
        3.2.3 Text fields
    3.3 Moderate
        3.3.1 Moderate overview
        3.3.2 Moderate a post
    3.4 View log
    3.5 Report
    3.6 Advanced options

4. The module in practice: tips
    4.1 Althing management permissions
    4.2 Those awful colors
    4.3 Entry fields in Add a post
    4.4 References

1. Introduction

"A blog? Isn't that a weblog without the 'we'?"
Althing [1] isn't a blog [2]. It's a weblog, equipped with additional features that facilitate research, analysis and production [3] of texts. Althing is not a replacement for 'parler', for exchange of opinions, discussion and interaction, for deliberations between real pupils in real classrooms.

In this chapter we explain Althing (weblog) for visitors and moderators. Visitors write posts and moderators manage them. We explain this process by using our own demonstration data. That is, the Exemplum Primary School, a small school described in Account Manager

1.1 Assumptions

This chapter elaborates on other chapters. We assume you have at least done Basic procedures for beginners of the Website@School Users' Guide.

1.2 Features

The features in no specific order:


2. Althing demonstration web page

An Althing with the installed demonstration data can be found in MyPage under section Althing (weblog). It looks like:
[ Althing with demodata, top ]
[Many posts snipped] Below, the bottom of the demonstration data:
[ Althing with demodata, bottom ]
As example Althing we use a simple question. The posts that follow show features of the Althing module for visitors and posters.

Please note a few items. They play a role in the explanation. The question "Is chocolate (dark, milk or white) healthy?", the [Post] and [Harvest] buttons and the clickable text links in the pink colored fields.
Do not worry about the colors of the header, posts and footer. They can be changed with Bazaar Style Style to fit your theme.

If you are impatient, you can create your own Althing from scratch by following the steps below.

2.1 Althing for the impatients

To get hands-on experience, create a test Althing yourself. For example in the Area of the Exemplum Primary School demonstration data. You've done the Basic procedures for beginners.

How to set up an Althing in 7 steps:

  1. As usual, add a page. In the Module dropdown menu select Althing (althing), set the page visible, click [Save]. You are immediately in Edit basic properties of page n.
  2. In the Menu, click Configure. You are now in Althing configuration.
  3. Go to your website's Althing page and click [Post]. Add a post, preview it, edit it and submit it by clicking [Done].
  4. Your post is immediately visible. An e-mail alert is sent to your address (step 5).
  5. Go to the Page Manager's Alting page, click Moderate, click on the ID number 1. The page Post -1 yourname - date opens.
  6. Moderate the post. At 'Marbles' enter a number between 1 and 10 and enter some text in 'Remark'. Click [Done].
  7. To generate a (very small!) report, in Menu, click Report to enter Althing report.
  8. In the field 'Posts' enter '1' (omit quotes) and click [OK]. Play with the report checkboxes.
  9. Check the View log and check your moderation on your post on the site.
If you have skipped the option to enter some texts, you see on the website:
[ Althing page, created but not configured ]
Now log in and go to your Altihng page, click on its name and in the Menu, click Moderate to see:
[ Moderate: no posts ]
Time to add some posts! Here ends the Althing for the impatient. In the next section we discuss the posting process.

2.2 Posting

In this section we describe the posting process by the unregistered visitor 'wrmorris', i.e. someone not logged in.
The default settings for our demonstration Althing are: 'Status' is 'Open', i.e. posting is possible, and at first, 'Initial visibility' is 'Visible', i.e. posts from unregistered visitors are immediately visible. Details can be found in Configure.

When no posts have yet been made, our demo Althing looks like:

[ Althing, fields configured, no posts ]
Please read the research question "Is chocolate healty?". Yes, something is missing. Also note there is no [Harvest] button (there's nothing to harvest), and note the text "You can be the first!" (because there are no posts).

2.2.1 Add a post

Visitor wrmorris clicks the [Post] button to open the Add a post dialogue:
[ Site, add a post by visitor ]

Note that wrmorris created his own subject: Research scope.


[ Site, post bbcode allowed tags ]
"Bulletin Board Code is a lightweight markup language used to format posts in many message boards. The available tags are usually indicated by square brackets ([ ]) surrounding a keyword, and they are parsed by the message board system before being translated into a markup language that web browsers understand [...]." Source: Wikipedia
Website@School uses BBCode as a security feature.

The examples in the texts and screenshots speak for themselves.

When an error is made in the BBCode, for example:

This is an [b]error[/u]

A yellow status message is displayed:
BBCode: opening tag at offset 8 (near '[b]error') does not match closing tag at offset 19 (near '[/u ]').
Count the characters in the message and find the error.

2.2.2 Preview post (#0)

When the [Preview] button is clicked, the post can be examined in the Preview dialogue:
[ Site, preview post by visitor ]
Explanation: Below the above fields, the post is displayed as it will appear in the overview of posts: Click the [Done] button to post the post and send e-mail alert(s).

2.2.3 Post post (#1)

When the [Done] button is clicked, the post is posted, e-mail alerts sent and the Thank you for your contribution dialogue displayed:
[ Site, post posted, thank you for visitor ]

Remember, in Configuration, the Initial visibility in the demonstration data is: Visible. William Morris is a visitor, his post is published immediately. An e-mail alert is sent to the moderators Catherine Hayes and Andrew Reese and (if added) subscribers. You can find an example of an alert e-mail that is sent to the moderators in section 3.2.2 The e-mail alert messages below.


The remainder of this dialogue is the same as the preview page. There are no buttons.

William Morris clicks the here link and sees:

[ Site, post added to Althing ]

Note that the [Harvest] button is added and texts are changed. Harvesting is explained in 2.4 Harvesting.

2.3 Replying (#2)

Catherine Hayes is one of the moderators of this Althing. Catherine is a registered user, i.e. she has a username and password. Her e-mail address is added to the list of moderators in Configuration. Thus she receives the alert message generated by wrmorris' post.
Catherine logs in, changes the Question and also awards William's post with two marbles. This is discussed in section 3.3 Moderate. Subsequently she creates post #2 to thank William in public.

Catherine clicks the Reply link and enters the Add a post dialogue:

[ site, add reply post by registered user ]
Note that the Reply link was clicked. The 'Re:' is added to the subject automatically.


Add a post.

Notice the differences for a registered user:

[ Site post thank you for registered user ]

Note that anyones post (either from visitor or from registered user) is visible immediately as long as the 'Initial visibility' is set to 'Visible'.

On the site we see:

[ Site, reply by registered user added ]
There is a lot to be seen here:

2.4 Adding files (#3 & #8)

Below are some examples of ways to add materials (picutres, links) to a post:
[Post with picture theobroma ]
Photo by Hans Vissers, Botanical Garden, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
[ Site, post, picture of droste cacao tin ]
Photo Website@School team. How to add a file to a post:


can upload files (images, PDF's, etc.) and can create links to them.
Unregistered visitors must enter plain URL's (i.e. non-clickable) to point to materials. This is a security feature.

For this upload procedure Javascript must be enabled.

  1. Click [Post] or [Harvest] to Add a post. Your name will be in the 'Name' field because you have an account and are logged in.
  2. Use one of the possibilities listed above. Example:
    "[ cursor blinking ]"
  3. Put the cursor between the two quotes"".
  4. Click on the link: File Manager (opens in a new window). The File Manager opens in: My Files /users/hparkh
  5. Navigate to the file you want to use.
  6. Select the file by clicking on its name.
  7. You return to the post. In the Message field the path to the file is entered in the BBCode.
  8. Finish your post and check the result by clicking the [Preview] button.

2.6 Harvesting (#11)

Harvesting is selecting multiple posts to add in a reply. For example:
[ Havested post ]

2.7 More posts, more to see

Below the remaining posts are explained, each post shows a different feature.

2.6.1 Almost everything (post #5)

[ Site, post with almost all functions visible) ]
NOTE: Almost every item in the above screenshot has a mouseover. Please explore and experiment!


2.6.2 Quoting (post #6)

[ Site, quoted post ]
A quote in a post. The dotted line is adaptable in BSS. The post is also harvested.

2.6.3 Postillion d'amour (post #7)

[ Site, post to enable post #11 ]
Georgina replies on #5, but does not quote and says something to Andrew. This post is needed for post #11, because that post contais many quotes and harvests.

2.6.4 Post a link (post #9)

[ Droste effect demonstrated in a post ]

Andrew is in fact a registered user, but even a registered user cannot create a clickable link to some stray URL outside of the website. Any poster (visitor or registered user) is allowed to refer to a file on the web server where the Althing (weblog) is hosted. The registered users have the advantage of the File Manager, the anonymous visitors have to 'know' the exact name of the file or image. (They can see those filenames when quoting a post that has a link in it). Noone is allowed to post a clickable link to a resource outside the website. This is a security feature. Note that it is perfectly OK to simply write the URL as text, as demonstrated in this post #9.

2.6.5 Redacted (post #10)

2.5 Redacting (#10)

[ Site, post # ]
This post (submitted by an anonymous visitor calling himself 'Ludovico') was made visible immediately because the 'Initial visibility' (see 3.2.1 Status and visibility) was 'Visible'.

After reading this post by 'Ludovico', a moderator (in this case Maria Montessori, see 3.4 View log) decided that this post #10 was inappropriate. She changed two things. Firstly she made post #10 'Hidden' using the Moderation option of the Althing (see 3.3 Moderate). Secondly, she changed the 'Initial visibility' of the Althing from 'Visible' to 'Registered users' (see 3.2.1 Status and visibility). This blocks the immediate publication of posts by anonymous visitors like 'Ludovico', while at the same time allowing posts from registered users made visible immediately.

From this point onwards new posts by anonymous users (like #12, also by 'Ludovico', see 2.6.7 Unpublished (post #12) below) remain unpublished until a moderator approves and decides to publish it.

2.6.6 Harvesting (post #11)

[ Site, post # ]
A nice illustration of the harvesting feature. Three posts from which one is a quote in a quote. Also note the: Harvested from: #5, #6, #7.

2.6.7 Unpublished (post #12)

There is no visible post #12, not even redacted. The post is submitted but remains unpublished as can be seen in Moderate. After having received this post, Maria Montessori has set the Initial visibility from Open to Registered users to prevent further actions from Ludovico. See also 2.6.5 Redacted for the explanation.

2.6.8 The bottom line

[ Site, harvest bottom ]
[Post] and [Harvest] buttons also at the bottom of the overview of posts. Clickable link shows Hide redacted or Show redacted makes all redacted posts invisible and changes the link name or vice versa. This is a useful feature when many posts are redacted.


3. Content options

In the next section a brief summary is given of the content of Content, wereafter Configure, Moderate, View log and Report are discussed.

3.1 Content

To go to the overview of the content of the Althing module, open the Page Manager, click the given Page Name link to open the Althing overview dialogue:
[ weblog content ]
Description: In the Menu the usual Basic properties and Advanced. The Content is divided in Configure, Moderate View log and Report.

The workplace pane title:
Alting overview contains:

The Althing-module is a research tool to publish a question, supposition, etc. Visitors can react, their posts can be analysed, a report can be constructed and results published. The following options are available in the submenu.

Configure - For this Althing, several text fields can be configured. E-mail alert lists for moderators and subscribers can be created . The visibility of posts and the status of the Althing can be set to Open, Frozen or Closed.

Moderate - The overview screen gives a summary list of all posts. From there you can navigate to individual posts. Approve new posts or make posts invisible. Posts can can be awarded with Marbles. Please see the comprehensive explanation in the manual.

View log - An overview of all moderator remarks, ordered by post.

Report - Select posts in a self-defined sort order and create output for further processing.

Please select one of the options to continue.



3.2 Configure

NOTE: to save some space, entry fields in screenshots are shortened.

In the Menu pane, clicking the link Configure, opens the Althing configuration dialogue:

3.2.1 Status and visibility

[ Configure status and visibility, default settins open and hidden ]
The default configuration settings are: 'Opened' and 'Hidden'. This ia a security feature.


Alting configuration: Workplace header title

Status of the althing Initial visibility

3.2.2 The e-mail alert messages

Whenever someone post a message, either in a public or in a private area, an e-mail alert is sent to the moderator(s). E-mail alerts are also sent to subscribers, either immediately (open/visible) or after moderation. Below the e-mails are explained.
E-mail alerts do not contain a subject and content. This is a security feature.

NOTE: to save some space the entry fields in the screenshots are shortened.

[ Configure moderator e-mails ]
E-mail addresses can be added, one address per line:



Below the e-mail alert from visitor wrmorris (Post #1).

Subject: [38] New public post #1
Date: Tue, 17 June 2014 09:01:01 +0200
From: Exemplum Primary School <>
To: (Moderators)

A new post has been added to page 38:

Author:     wrmorris (unregistered)
Message ID: #1 (1)
Date:       2014-06-17 09:01:01
Subject:    Research scope

(Back to explanation in 2.2.3 Post post (#1))

Below is the e-mail alert from Ludovico's post #12 where he complains about the fact that his post #10 has been made 'Hidden'. At that time, the 'Initial visibility' was 'Open'. Once Maria Montessori discovered the inappropriate post #10, she decided to make it 'Hidden' and she also decided to change the 'Initial visibiliy' to 'Registered users'. This means that Ludovico's latest post #12 was not published (and probably never will be).

Subject: [38] Moderation request for post #12
Date: Tue, 17 June 2014 23:59:12 +0200
From: Exemplum Primary School <>
To: (Moderators)

A new post submitted to page nn requires your attention:

Author:     Ludovico (ungistered)
Message ID: #12 (12)
Date:       2014-06-17 23:59:12

You may need to login first to see the new post:

Below an example of an e-mail alert to the moderators of a private Alting.
Configuration: Initial visibility: Visible

Subject: [39] New private post #1
Date: Fri, 13 June 2014-06-13 11:12:13
From: Exemplum Primary School <>
To: (Moderators)

A new post has been added to page 39:

Author:     Amelia Cackle (registered)
Message ID: #1 (13)
Date:       2014-06-13 11:12:13
Subject:    Team meeting

You may need to login first to see the new post:

Below are two posts to subscribers. The first one from a public area, the second from a private area.

Subject: [38] Public post #2 is now published
Date: Fri, 13 June  10:12:02  +0200
From: Exemplum Primary School <>
To: (Subscribers)

A new post has been published on public page nn:

Author:     Catherine Hayes (registered)
Message ID: #2 (2)
Date:       2014-06-13 10:12:02
Subject:    Re: Research scope

Subject: [39] Private post #1 is now published
Date: Fri, 13 June 2014 hh:mm:ss +0200
From: Exemplum Primary School <>
To: (Subscribers)

A new post has been published on private page 39:

Author:     Wilhelmina Bladergroen (registered)
Message ID: #1 (13)
Date:       2014-06-13 11:12:13
Subject:    Symposium 2015

You may need to login first to view this newly published post:

3.2.3 Text fields

NOTE: to save space, the entry fields are shown abbreviated.
[ Configure e-mail alerts ]

3.3 Moderate

Moderation is the process of evaluating the posts. In our demonstration data Catherine Hayes and Andrew Reese are the moderators.They are the content masters of the 'Chocolate galore' page. Maria Montessori, their teacher, also has access permissions to that page and keeps any on the work of the moderators.

After creating the Althingpage, there are no posts:

[ Moderate: no posts ]

3.3.1 Moderate overview

In the Menu pane, clicking the link Moderate, opens the Moderation overview dialogue:
[ Moderate overview ]
Description: In the Menu the Moderate link is chosen. The Moderation overview is a table with 7 columns. The clickable column headers are used to sort the table on that field. A second click reverses the sort order.


3.3.2 Moderate a post

In Moderation overview, clicking on a number in the ID column, opens the Post nn - Name - yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss dialogue:
[ Moderate post ]
Description: In the Menu the Moderate link is chosen.

This is the place where posts are published, made visible or invisible. All those changes get a remark. If the remarks are done in some clever way, the overview of remarks (in View log) can be a valuable instrument when using the report function. Whenever a change is made in marbles, and or visibility and status, a remark must be added. This is a feature.


The complex relations between Visibility (visible/hidden) and status (published/unpublished) is explained in the table below. The Initial visibility is set in Configure.

Relation between Visibility and Status
Initial visibility Visitors Registered users
Visible visible visible
Registered users moderated visible
Hidden moderated moderated
visible = posts are immediately published and can be set to hidden. If the post is hidden, it is shown as 'redacted'.
moderated = posts are unpublished and can be published, wereafter they become visible. Once published, they cannot be made unpublished (but can be made hidden). This is a feature.

NOTE: If marbles, visibility or status change, you have to add a remark. Please see section 4. The module in practice: tips, 4.6 Marbles for more on this feature.

3.4 View log

View log shows an overview of all moderation actions.
[ Content ]
Description: In the Menu the View log is chosen.


Please see section 4. The module in practice: tips, 4.8 Logging for usage of this feature.

3.5 Report

Althing has some facilities to create a basic output of selected posts. This output can be copied and pasted and used as basis for the conclusion or other texts. Its use almost speaks for itself:
[ Report ]

Description: In the Menu the Report is chosen. In the workplace severeral checkboxes to select report output.


Select the desired output and press the [OK] button to generat the output in HTML code, or a HTML page (below):
[ Report output ]
Description: The generated output as web page.

3.6 Advanced options

The advanced options also apply to this module. In particular it means that you can use Bazaar Style Style (BSS) to get rid of awfful colors that mismatch with the school site or with the pictures on the page.
More on the backgrounds of BSS can be found in chapter Viewpoints, paragraph 4. On form and content.


4. The module in practice: tips

4.1 Althing management permissions

With the Account Manger the management permissions for every Althing in Areas and sections can be individually fine tuned. That is, the different moderators, for example pupils can be given access to the Content of their Althing only, but not on their Basic properties and Advanced. These are, for example, managed by the different teachers. This setup is archieved as follows: At the Exemplum Primary School the permissions are set as follows. Andrew and Caterhine are members of the group Seniors in the capacity of Pupils. By way of the group permissions of the Seniors they already have access to the Page Manager and the File Manager for their own pages.
For this Althig only they are given permissions as Content master (lowest permissions, only read and write). Now it's possible to long as Andrew or Caterhine manage the complete Althing, but they cannot touch anything else.

The teacher of the Seniors (Maria Montessori) has via Seniors/Teacher permissions to the Page- and File Manager. And she has been given, for this Alting only (!) permissions as Page Master. She changes properties of the node itself, for example, make it read-only.

MOTE: When creating an Altihing page, you have to have at least Pagemaster permissions.

NOTE: Remember that Wilhelmina Bladergroen is webmaster and Guru; she has access to all things in all Althings.

4.2 Those awful colors!

In the Menu, under Advanced, in Extra style at page/section level, Bazaar Style Style can found to set the colors of the Althing for this page:
.althing_introduction { background-color: #FFAAFF; }
.althing_question { background-color: #AAFFAA; }
.althing_conclusion { background-color: #FFFFAA; }
.althing_footer { background-color: #AAFFFF; }
.althing_buttonbar { background-color: #FFAAAA; }
.althing_buttonbar_top {
  background-color: #FFAAAA;
  border-bottom: 1px solid #000000;
.althing_buttonbar_bottom {
  background-color: #FFAAAA;
  border-bottom: 1px solid #000000;

4.3 Entry fields in Add a post

Depending on the chosen theme (examples Frugal, Rosalina, etc.), the message fields in 'Add a post' can be too wide or to narrow. The width can also be set in The same BSS field al the colors. For theme Frugal on a 1024 x 768 screen, 510 pixels is a good value:
textarea  {
  width: 510px;

.textfield {
  width: 210px;
  background-color: #00FF00;
This produces:
[ Report ]
Adjust to taste.

4.4 References

[1]- Althing: Icelandic for parliament. Wikipedia: Althing.

[2] Unfortunately Wikipedia's 'web log' redirects to 'blog': "A weblog (a truncation of the expression web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") [...]". Wikipedia: Blog.

[3]- Media Action Projects, A Model for Integrating Video in Project-based Education,Training and Community Development. By Dirk Schouten and Rob Watling. Published by the University of Nottingham, ISBN: 0- 85359- 209 - 8
Downloadble in PDF format on

- 3 visies op burgerschap (Dutch text: 3 viewpoints on citizenship)

- Corresponderen per weblog (Corresponding with a weblog), Echer cahier no. 3. Auteurs: de Uilen van het ANker en de bovenbouw van de Toermalijn, juf Titia Schuitemaker en meester hans Bol, John Bronkhorst en Jimke Nicolai. Uitgave van JAS (Jenaplan Advies en Scholing), BLL (Bureau voor Levend Leren) en De Freinetwinkel. Valthe 2008. ISBN/EAN: 978-90-70961--34-3.

- Kennis en werkstukken maken met Internet. Freinetbeweging, z.j. (Create knowledge and texts with Internet)


Author: Dirk Schouten <dirk (at) websiteatschool (dot) eu>
Last updated: 2014-10-29, version 1.14