Use libroffice as a Comment-only Doc

I am trying to use LibreOffice as a collaborative vehicle for people to Review documents - They can not be allowed to edit the document - but I want them to be able to make comments. So, I don’t want a Read-Only mode, I need a Comment-Only mode. Every other function needs to be disabled or greyed-out except Comment and Save.

I am running on an Linux system, Centos6.9; LO I can not just give full permissions to everyone on the system and hope they will not mutilate or delete the documents. I don’t want Reviewers taking it upon themselves to re-word or re-spell stuff. I need them to Only be able to make a Comment and let the Author make Edits, if desired.

Are there any possibilities or options I’ve overlooked?

Did you read this recent thread? Still interested?

You can protect TextSections. These may run over many pages. Everywhere anybody can insert shapes that are not treated as TextContent. They will be anchored to the respective page. TextBoxes can be filled with comments then, but can, of course, not offer the management you have with “true” comments. It’s a crutch, but will work to some degree.

You need to understand that this kind of protection will be rather weak. Anybody with some understanding of the file structure should be able to remove that protectionn by file manipulation without knowing the password.

There are also strange effects. I wouldn’t use this workaround.

Yes I did read that thread, but although my docs are filled with dozens of tables (which slows things down), they are 10 pages at most, and I’ve never seen more than a couple dozen comments or so.
But protecting the TextSections doesn’t allow us to add a comment into that section, so that entirely defeats the purpose. And even if they could add the comment the Reviewers would still need write access to do so. And like you say the protection is quite week. Thanks for your response though.

PDF format is a better choice for read and comment.

I assumed the questioner was eager to get the comments into the document itself. He might hope to be able later to edit it after removing the protection regarding the comments. The comments then most likely would be deleted. I personally preferred to get commented draft prints.

OK, It never occurred to me that you could make a comment on a pdf in LO. Having looked at that, the drawbacks I see (at least in my version) are: 1) It doesn’t facilitate communication well, since the comments can’t be seen until you open them one by one. 2) Even if you could see them I can’t find a way to save a comment - I have write permissions, but it wont write to a PDF - so how is the next reviewer going to get my comments?

And Lupp is very accurate about what I need. The comments are essentially a method of communication amongst the reviewers, so they can review the document and see the other reviewers comments. At the end I edit the document and delete the comments. Maybe I need to write an IM that attaches to LO.

If commenters can’t do the changes (with track changes enabled) they may suggest, using LO to review the document is useless. You should prefer Adobe Reader and other PDF reader that allow to add comments to a PDF document.

Quoting @KTD : “And Lupp is very accurate about what I need. …”
However, I don’t think there is a solution of the kind the OQ is looking for with LibO - except, probably, based on user code.
Dedicated frames might be inserted into the protected text as a TextContent object by user code but placed on a widened margin … As I tested the protection would not basically block the action.
But there’s a lot more to manage…
I wouldn’t do it.

Why not take advantage of Compare or Merge documents capabilites.

Chapter 3 Working with Text: Advanced

I’ll read those sections of the Document tomorrow (quitting time now). But off hand I’m not sure how I would organize that for one document - multiple users. Using the Compare function is a mess because the information is all entered in tables, and if I add one period in one cell of the table, Compare tells you that EVERYTHING in the table has changed - It’s unreadable. Thanks

Thanks for the suggestions, although I found it amusing when ‘Lupp’ gave 2 suggestions and then says of each of them, “I wouldn’t do it”

Actually, I already have a solution, although it’s a bit kludgey and I was hoping for something better.

Our document’s permissions are set as read-only to all but myself.

A python script is used that allows the Commenter to enter his comment and author info and enter a short piece of text from the document as the comment anchor. The script opens the odt zip document, and stores the content.xml file in memory. It formats the comment and author info into the needed xml tag structure for a comment, then finds (with some error checking) the anchor point where we want to put the comment, and shoves that xml tag into the content.xml memory file at that location.
It saves that memory as the content.xml file and zips it all back up into the .odt file.

The commenter, who is generally looking at a read only version of the File, must do a Reload command, and the new comment is displayed.

The python script is wrapped in a c-file executable that uses the execv function to use the setuid bit to allow the commenter to act as if he has the same permissions as the author. In this way he can add a comment but be unable to change the document in any other way.