Redactor: A New Privacy Plugin for WordPress

By Sol in Lab

I cracked open Eclipse today and started working on a new WordPress plugin that I got the idea for yesterday.  The plugin is called Redactor and as the name implies, it allows authors to redact text in posts.  In other words, you can mask, obfuscate, or otherwise hide text in posts that you want to keep private.

The idea came about as a way to allow people to write without any filtering while still having piece of mind that they aren’t fully disclosing all of their personal information with the rest of the internet.  Personal journals, freewriting, and partially declassified government documents are all perfect places for Redactor.

Today I setup the plugin framework, created the shortcode to wrap around text that should be redacted, and added a button to the HTML text editor to automatically wrap selected text with the shortcode.


Say an author wrote the following:

Hello, my name is Joanie and I love Chachi

This might be a bit too revealing for just anyone to see so, the author redacts some of the text

Hello, my name is [redacted]Joanie[/redacted] and I love [redacted]Chachi[/redacted]

When this post is viewed publicly, it will be displayed as

Hello, my name is XXXXXX and I love XXXXXX

Personally-identifying information redacted!  Take that ID thieves!

Pretty spiffy right?  The benefit is that the author (and any other logged in user with sufficient permissions) will still be able to see the original unredacted text in all its glory.

Of course, the plugin will be customizable, allowing authors to change the text used in place of redacted text.


I have a bunch of ideas for this plugin, but my plan is to get the basic functionality working and release the plugin quickly.  To this end, the next step is adding a TinyMCE plugin so that authors can specify text to be redacted from the visual editor without having to manually write out the shortcode.