Filter Modules

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A filter module (requires Q2A 1.5+) enables plugins to validate and/or modify many different types of user input. This includes the content of posts as well as user information such as usernames and email addresses. Filter modules can also control whether or not the post is queued for moderation. Possible applications of filter modules include cleaning up user input, restricting users of a site, creating specialized Q&A applications, and advanced spam checking.

The PHP class for a filter module may contain the following functions (all are optional):

  • filter_question(&$question, &$errors, $oldquestion). The $question parameter contains an editable array of information about a question being asked or edited. If the question is being edited, $oldquestion will contain an array of the previous values, otherwise it will be null. The elements in these arrays are described in the table below - any element may be absent, so your function should check with isset() as appropriate.

    In the table, if an element is Editable, its value may be modified within the $question array. This will affect the information that is passed to other filter modules, displayed to the user, and stored in the database. If an element can have Errors, your function can declare its value invalid by adding a textual error report with the same key to the $errors array. This textual error will be displayed to the user, and the question will not yet be added or saved.

    Element key Description Editable Errors Questions As and Cs
    `'title'` Title of the question Yes Yes Maybe No
    `'editor'` The name of the [editor module](/plugins/modules-editor/) used No No Maybe Maybe
    `'content'` Main content of the post Yes Yes Maybe Maybe
    `'format'` Format of the content, e.g. `'html'` or `''` for text Yes No Maybe Maybe
    `'text'` Plain text rendering of content No No Maybe Maybe
    `'tags'` Array of question tags Yes Yes Maybe No
    `'categoryid'` Category ID for question Yes Yes Maybe No
    `'extra'` Custom extra information field Yes Yes Maybe No
    `'notify'` Notify author of responses (boolean) Yes No Maybe Maybe
    `'email'` Email address of author Yes Yes Maybe Maybe
    `'queued'` Queue for moderation (boolean) Yes No Maybe Maybe

    In Q2A 1.5.x, the 'queued' element was only present if a new post was being created, rather than an existing one being edited. As of Q2A 1.6, the element is present in either case, so a filter module can requeue a post for moderation after it is edited.

    As of Q2A 1.6, filter_question() will also be called when a hidden post is being reshown by its author. In this case, Q2A will ignore any changes made by filter modules to elements in the $question array except from 'queued'. The value of $question['queued'] will determine whether the post is reshown immediately, or else requeued for moderation.

  • filter_answer(&$answer, &$errors, $question, $oldanswer). This works very similarly to filter_question() described above. The $answer parameter contains an editable array of information about an answer being added, edited or (from Q2A 1.6) reshown. If the answer is being edited or reshown, $oldanswer will contain an array of the previous values, otherwise it will be null. The elements in these arrays work the same way as for filter_question() - see the As and Cs columns above to see which might be present. As with filter_question(), elements can be added to the $errors array to declare a value invalid. For your reference, the $question parameter contains an array of information about the question to which this answer belongs.

  • filter_comment(&$comment, &$errors, $question, $parent, $oldcomment). This works very similarly to filter_question() and filter_answer(). The $comment parameter contains an editable array of information about a comment being added, edited or (from Q2A 1.6) reshown. If the comment is being edited or reshown, $oldcomment will contain an array of the previous values, otherwise it will be null. The elements in these arrays work the same way as for filter_question() - see the As and Cs columns above to see which might be present. As with filter_question(), elements can be added to the $errors array to declare a value invalid. For your reference, the $question parameter contains an array of information about the question to which this comment belongs, and $parent contains an array about the comment’s immediate parent (answer or question).

  • filter_email(&$email, $olduser). This allows a filter module to validate and/or modify email addresses for new or existing Q2A user accounts. The $email parameter contains the email address entered, and may be modified in place to change the email. The function can also declare the email invalid by returning a textual error, otherwise it should return null. For your reference, if the email is for an existing user, $olduser will contain an array of information about the user, including their previous email in $olduser['email']. If the email is for a new user, $olduser will be null.

  • filter_handle(&$handle, $olduser). This works very similarly to filter_email(), but for handles/usernames instead of email addresses. The $handle parameter contains the handle entered, and may be modified in place to change the handle. The function can also declare the handle invalid by returning a textual error, otherwise it should return null. For your reference, if the handle is for an existing user, $olduser will contain an array of information about the user, including their previous handle in $olduser['handle']. If the handle is for a new user, $olduser will be null.

  • filter_profile(&$profile, &$errors, $user, $oldprofile). This allows a filter module to validate and/or modify information entered into the user profile fields for display on a user’s page. The $profile parameter contains an array of entered profile information, with keys corresponding to the fieldid column in the qa_userfields table in the database. Elements of $profile can be modified in place to change their values. The function can also declare a field value invalid by adding a textual error report with the same key as the field to the $errors array. This textual error will be displayed to the user, and the corresponding part of the profile will not yet be saved. If the profile of an existing user is being edited, $user contains an array of information about the user, and $oldprofile contains the previous profile of the user, with the same keys as $profile. If the profile is for a new user who is currently registering, both $user and $oldprofile will be null.

  • validate_password($password, $olduser). This allows a filter module to validate an entered password for new or existing Q2A user accounts. The $password parameter contains the password entered. Note than unlike other filter module functions, validate_password() cannot modify a password, but rather only validate it. The function can declare the pssword invalid by returning a textual error, otherwise it should return null. For your reference, if the password is for an existing user, $olduser contains an array of information about the user, but this will not contain the user’s previous password, since Q2A doesn’t store passwords in their original form. If the password is for a new user, $olduser will be null.

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