Support » Fixing WordPress » Customizing author_link, FERPA concerns

  • Resolved Michael


    With our classroom blogs, our professors have FERPA-related concerns about exposing the identities of student bloggers (FERPA == Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).

    Our workaround has been to allow students to choose a pseudonymous nickname. However, the author links in the entry meta sections expose their login usernames, which can be traced to individual students quite easily. My temporary “security through obscurity” workaround there is to hide the link with CSS, which also hides the author name.

    I was able to use the author_link filter inside of a plugin to at least blank out the URL (this changes the URL to the permalink URL on single post pages).

    add_filter( 'author_link', 'remove_author_link', 10, 3);
    function remove_author_link($link, $author_id, $author_nicename) {
       $link = '';
       return $link;

    However, there is still a title attribute that says “View all posts by” and the display name. Is there a way to remove that title attribute, or even better strip out the link tag completely, but leave the name?

    I would prefer to do this via a plugin function, rather than create a child theme for each theme that the professors are using. Also, some themes, like the Minileven theme in Jetpack 1.8 do not lend themselves to child themes.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • esmi


    Forum Moderator

    However, the author links in the entry meta sections expose their login usernames, which can be traced to individual students quite easily

    How? If someone is subscribed as afgbny678, how does that make them identifiable?

    We use our University’s directory system for authentication and authorization. So Ralph Wiggum’s login for all campus systems (including Blackboard and our WordPress network) is rwiggum. When Ralph writes a blog post for English 101, he is told by his instructor to choose a pseudonym for the Nickname field and choose the Display Name accordingly.

    So Ralph’s entry meta says “by John Doh” and the “View all posts by John Doh” link goes to



    Forum Moderator


    Thank you for the plugin suggestion. So far it is the best option for resolving this issue.

    It is a bit scary, though, to change the “user_nicename” value for the thousands of users in our network’s wp_users table with a single plugin activation. It might have been better if it changed that value in the just for users who are in that blog. However, I can see why the author wrote that plugin, and why hiding the login names might be a good idea.

    If I were to use it, I would probably Network Activate it then — all or nothing.

    I am glad to see that it is on I shy away from plugins that aren’t in the WP Plugin Directory, and the author does provide a workaround in the forum to restore the original user_nicenames.

    I will see what my colleagues think about this tomorrow.




    Although the storm delayed things a bit, I was finally able to activate the WP Author Slug plugin on my production network. All seems good. I think that this will be a much better solution than hiding the author archives.

    Thank you.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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