I'm developing a forum/community site and I was thinking how much embedding options should I give to the users. Until now, it is possible upload images and the URLs in the posts are parsed and converted into links.

Now, what if aside from parsing the URLs, depending on if a URL is a link to YouTube video or Dailymotion video, etc. the YouTube video object or the Dailymotion video object respectively was embedded in the post?

I was thinking that I could do a whitelist with many possible safe-sites (which allow embedding) that could be embedded from like Ustream, Justin.tv, Metacafe, YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, etc.

As in most forums I've seen this isn't possible to do, I wonder, is there any downside to this? Would it be better to just allow image posting?

1 Answer 1


My philosophy is to always prepare for the worst from people and celebrate the best. That is to say that if it is possible in any way, shape, or form for a user to be malicious, some will find out how to do it and take advantage of it.

I know that YouTube does a pretty decent job with filtering explicit content, but I think Metacafe is a bit more lenient on what they block and what they don't. I'm not to sure about the others. You may want to do a bit of research on the type of material that each of those video viewing sites allows and then make a decision based on that.

Overall I have found that moderating articles that have videos or images attached is a good idea. How you moderate them is completely up to you (ex. StackExchange is a mixture of mods and a strong community).

  • 'Always expect the worst from people' isn't exactly compliant with a good user-experience. This is where the numerous Captcha / security questions / extra long complicated passwords etc. come from, and although they may be necessary in some cases are clearly bad from a User Experience point of view. It's basically saying: 'Our site is vulnerable to misuse and instead of dealing with it ourselves we'll just pass the inconvenience onto every single one of our users instead'
    – JonW
    Jul 3, 2012 at 13:20
  • It may not be good "user experience" but neither is having your users viewing explicit material that someone thought would be funny to post. Think of it the same way as how shoes and a shirt are required to go into some buildings. It may be "inconvenient" to some people to put shoes and a shirt on but in the end it is for the betterment of the others in that build and eventually becomes standard practice. This thinking might also be a side affect of my year as a Network Security major. :)
    – PL3X
    Jul 3, 2012 at 13:46
  • I agree with you @Yallow, and a bit too with JonW. Probably the way to go is to find a decent balance between giving users a good experience and not allowing them to abuse the options they have. As for the embedding options, I think I'll just allow uploading images and posting links and that's it. If someone really wants to show a video they'll have to post the link to it. Thanks for the answer!
    – federico-t
    Jul 4, 2012 at 1:21

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