WordPress theme for collecting evaluations of online web resources. Might be a SPLOT.
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A SPLOT for building a collection of evaluations, reviews or reflections of online resources.

(Honestly, Evaluation SPLOT is a bit of a mouthful, but I couldn't resist the idea of an 'eval SPLOT').

by Ammienoot https://ammienoot.com and built on the extremely solid foundations laid by Alan Levine https://cog.dog or http://cogdogblog.com/

If this kind of stuff has any value, please consider supporting Alan so he can do more!

Support me on Patreon Support me on via PayPal

All the text from here on in still needs to be rewritten. But sleep is occassionally a thing for me.

Sample SPLOTbox Site

What is this?

This Wordpress Theme powers SPLOTbox a site to allow collections of audio and video content (termed "items") where contributions can be made without requiring logins or providing personally identifying information. This is done by using a generic author account that is silently activated. The user never sees any sign of the innards of Wordpress but can create descriptions and provide more information for each media item added.

The options can allow you to offer a field for add the media by URL (For video, from YouTube or Vimeo, and for audio content from SoundCloud or any link to an mp3, ogg, or m4a sound. A site owner can also enable an upload button for sounds files in those same three formats. Other features are to provide fields for (and require or not), descriptions, a credit source name and a selection of a reuse licenses.

This is an improvement and enhancement of the first generation TRU Sounder SPLOT.

See It In Action

If you make a SPLOTbox site, please please pretty please fork this repo to edit this Readme with a link to your new site, submit a pull request to send to this site.

If you have problems, feature suggestions, piles of unmarked bills to send my way, please contact me via the issues area on this repo.


I will make the big leap in that you have a self hosted Wordpress site and can install themes. The SPLOTbox theme is a child theme based on the Garfunkle theme by Anders Noren. Install that first from your Wordpress Dashboard.

Then install the splotbox theme to Wordpress directly by ftping or using the downloaded ZIP for this repo.

Setting Up a New SPLOTbox site

In this theme Wordpress Posts are renamed Items but have all the attributes of garden variety blog posts.

(1) Create a fresh new Wordpress site.

(2) Create a user with login name of sharer with Author role. No one actually uses the account, the site invisibly logs in guests as this user. Make note of the password that Wordpress generated. Make it cryptic.

(3) Install the Garfunkel theme from the Wordpress Dashboard (I'll gamble that you know how to install themes, search on Garfunkel from Appearance -- Themes -- Add New.

(4) Install the SPLOTbox theme downloaded as part of this repo (use the green clone or download button above or download directly).

(5) Activate SPLOTbox as the site's theme. In this theme posts are renamed items and thus on the dashboard:

(6) Install and activate the Remove Dashboard Access plugin. The splotbox theme's options panel will nudge you to install it. It is used to keep the logged in user from seeing the admin side of Wordpress. Any attempt to reach the dashboard outside of Administrators or editors results in a redirect to the front of the site. The site will work without it, but it makes your collector site a tad more bullet proof.

In its settings, restrict access to Editors and Administrators or just Administrators depending if you will have a moderator user. The default redirect should be for the main URL of the site.

Remove Dashboard Access settings

(7) You might want to set up in advance some Wordpress Categories for your Items; in the SPLOTbox options you will choose one as default (and for all that is holy, change the name of the Uncategorized category!

Setting Up The Site Via SPLOTbox options

These instructions are a reference for the settings within the SPLOTbox; if you are reading this, you got as far as installing and activating the theme. Below are basic instructions for all of the theme options, which, if this were designed well, you likely do not need me to explain, but #BecauseDocumentation here we go.

Access and Publishing Controls

Leave the Access Code field blank if you want any visitor to be able to see and use the submission form on your site.

If you want to provide an access code (a very weak password), just enter it in this field. Any links to the form will be sent to the front desk page where a visitor must enter in the code you have entered here to see the form.

Enter a decent Access Hint that will be displayed if someone does not enter the correct code.

The Status for New Items lets you set up moderation for submissions (by choosing Set to draft) whereas Publish immediately provides instant gratification to your visitors, though leaves open the problems of a site where anyone can publish (the latter option thus works for sites where you set up an Access Code as described above).

Item Sorting

The default settings for the display of itms are for typical blogs where newest content is displayed first. The sort options allow you to change that across the site- the home page, category/tag archives, and search results.

Date Published is the default option, the order is Descending, or newest first, change to Ascending to have oldest items appear first.

Change the sort otder to Title to... yes... sort items alphabetically by each item's title. Use Ascending for alphabetical order (A-Z) or Descending to reverse (Z-A).

Other Settings

Select the default category that should be used for new items.

Set this option to provide a field for visitors to enter a caption for their shared image, and whether to require that something be entered. By setting to No this will not appear on the submission form.

Check Enable Comments on Items to add a standard blog comment field at the bottom of all published items.

Set Allow Media Uploads to no to remove the form field for uploading media (if you prefer all media items to come from external URLs).

You can choose to suppress the description field (if you want media shared only), or if making the description field available, you can require that it has something written in it.

Plus, you can choose to use the plain text area input (simple descriptions, this is the default) or enable the rich text editor to allow for formatted content.

You can also choose to use a field if you want contributors to provide a source to credit for the media item.

Enter email addresses for people who should be notified of new submissions.

License and Attribution

The Use License Settings enables a drop down menu offering a variety of options to indicate Creative Commons licenses as well as All Rights Reserved (boo!), Usage Rights Unknown, and YouTube Standard License which really just lets you embed videos..

Enabling the Cut and Paste Attribution adds to the display a field with an automatically formed attribution statement (based on the items's rights license choice) that can be copied after clicking on the text. Neat, eh? Attribution is a good thing.

Author Account Setup

To provide access to the media uploader, this site uses a Wordpress Authoring Role account that is logged into invisibly to your site. So your site needs a user account with a name of sharer and a role of Author. If this site is on a mulitsite Wordpress install, and the SPLOTBox has been used on another site, the sharer account already exists, so you need to add it to the site via the Author tools.

If this account does not exist, create it now.

You can follow the link to create an account; for an email you can use a fictitious one on your domain. We suggest using the strong password that Wordpress suggests.

** Note: As of version 0.9 of SPLOTBox you no longer need to copy the password into the options page. ** If you are using a version of the theme that has a password field in the options, maybe it's a good time to update?

Customize the Share form

You can now customize the field labels and the descriptions of the form where people submit new items to a SPLOTbox site. On your site navigate to the share form, and activate the Wordpress Customizer from the admin bar.

There is a special section at the bottom to open:

Then from this pane, open "Share Form" (eventually the theme options will live here too)

And then you will see a series of fields to edit for all form field elements. For each, you can edit the title/label of the field and the prompt that appears below. As you type in the customizer fields on the left, you will see a live preview on the right:

Browse by Licenses

As of version 0.4 SPLOTbox provides links that display archives of content that have the same reuse license (if the feature is activated via the SPLOTbox options). Just make sure there is a Wordpress Page with the url / slug /licensed This page is created automatically on new sites, or simply by activating the theme again (activate the parent Garfunkel, then activate SPLOTbox again).

This page (see example) provides links to view all content with the licenses available on the share form. The url ending ing licensed/cc-by yields all items with a Creative Commons CC By Attribution license example.

Use the page to find links to the ones you wish to use and add to your site's menus or widgets. If the links do not work, you may have to go to Settings -- Permalinks and just click save to regenerate the settings.

Updating the Theme

If you have ftp/sftp access to your site (or this can be done in a cpanel file manager), simply upload the new theme files to the wp-content/themes directory that includes the older version theme.

For those that lack direct file upload access or maybe that idea sends shivers down the spine, upload and activate the Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades plugin -- this will allow you to upload a newer version of a theme as a ZIP archive, the same way you add a theme by uploading.

Other Wordpressy Things You Might Want to Do

I like short links, so I typically use a Custom Permalink setting (under Settings -- Permalinks) of `/%post_id%/'

Simplest Permalink

The theme creates three Pages for you with custom templates. You can edit their content to provide additional information prompt:

  • Desk The screen where users must enter an access code
  • Share The page that includes the form people use to upload content
  • Random No content needed, it just performs a redirect to a random collectable. Just leave it alone.

Set up your own menus as needed; make sure that you click the Location tab to tell Wordpress to use the menu you create as the Primary menu.

Menu Configuration

Get rid of the default widgets on the site; make it your own. In this theme, the widgets do not appear on the front page, but will be there in single entries


Go build collections of media!

Relatively Cool New Features & Updates

  • (0.4) Support for Internet Archive audio and video embed from URL. Page genertor of links to all content with the same reuse license
  • (0.3) Edit labels and instructions on the upload form using the Wordpress Customizer
  • (0.2) A rich text editor can now be enabled for the description fields or you can opt to use the simpler plain text input text area for descriptions.
  • (0.15) On new installs where no menus are defined, the theme generates a simple menu rather than listing all pages