Name Redactor Wordpress plugin

The Name Redactor is a Wordpress plugin which allows Wordpress users to hide personal data from search engines. As the name of the plugin implies, the type of content we are talking about in this context are personal names. The plugin works by checking whether the visitor to the site is human or a search engine robot. If the visitor is a search engine robot, the plugin will redact any personal names before delivering the content, replacing them with the text [redacted]. To human visitors, the names will appear as normal. See the detailed description section below for more detailed information on how the plugin functions. Go to the installation section below for instructions on how to download and install the plugin.

Features

  • Manually tag names to be redacted in pages, posts and comments by using the 'Redact' button in the Text Editor.
  • Automatically redact names in pages, posts and comments, using a simple set of rules.
  • Create an opt in list of names that should always be redacted, regardless of any automatic name detection.
  • Create an opt out list of names that should *not* be redacted automatically.

Installation

  1. Go here to download the latest version of the plugin.
  2. Unzip the folder 'name-redactor.zip' to the '/wp-content/plugins/' directory.
  3. Activate the plugin through the 'Plugins' menu in WordPress.

Or you can use the built-in plugin installer in Wordpress. Check out the user manual for detailed information on how to use the plugin.

Detailed description

The Name Redactor plugin works by detecting if a visitor to the site is a search engine robot, and if so, the plugin will redact any personal names (which have been tagged with <redact content="name"></redact>) before delivering the content, replacing them with the text [redacted]. The two images below illustrates this. The first image is a screenshot of how a blog post would appear to a human visitor, while the second image is a screenshot of how the same blog post would appear to a search engine bot. Notice how the names John Smith and Terrance have been replaced by the text [redacted] in the second image.

Screenshot of text as seen by a human Screenshot of text as seen by a search engine robot

The tagging can either be done manually by the publisher, or automatically by the program. Automatic tagging is accomplished by using a simple set of rules, written as regular expressions:

  1. It will match a single word with the first letter capitalized, as long as that word is not at the beginning of the sentence.
  2. It will match two or more consecutive words starting with the first letter capitalized, as long as the first word is not at the beginning of the sentence.

Names that have been tagged manually will continue to be tagged until the tags are manually removed (so if you at a later date should wish to remove tags from a name, you will have to go back and edit the post, comment or page in question). Automatic tagging is done on the spot whenever the content is requested by a search engine bot. This means that the content in the database is left unchanged, and no tags are saved along with the text.

Detecting whether or not a visitor to the site is a web crawler, is done by checking the "User-Agent" header of the client software originating the request (see the Wikipedia page for more information on this). Whenever a visitor requests to view the content, be it a page, comment, or post, the plugin will check the user-agent string up against a list containing a set of known search engine bot names. If the User-Agent matches a name in the list, the plugin will redact any tagged content before returning it to the bot. Upon installation, the plugin will add a default set of bot names to the list. The user can then freely add or delete names to or from the list.

Note that while the plugin is primarily meant as a way of preventing search engines from indexing personal names, it can, in theory, also be used to prevent disclosure of other types of personal data, by manually tagging it in the same manner as you would do names.