Virtuous cycle

Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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Making a blog more interactive

Once I had the idea to provide more ways for the readers to influence the blog. I planned to give comments some independence from the posts and promote the best to a more prominent location.

Then I found out that most of these ideas have already been discussed and even implemented to some extent. I lost interest for a while, but today reading VC blog inspired me to do something about the topic:

And as I have said before, we need a way to elevate the best comments right up onto the front page. I realize that most of my posts generate comments that are way better than my posts. I want a simple one click button that posts the comment right onto the bottom of the post.

Bottom line – blogs are conversations. We need to start treating the comments like the important content that they are instead of an afterthought.

I made a start by allowing to view all most recent comments, as well as by providing a place for notes unrelated to a particular post. In the end I also improved the feed machinery a bit. The job took only a little of plugin-shopping and some hour for fine-tuning and testing.

Recent comments

This time I knew that I will find someone to do just what I wanted long time ago ? and surely it was, Recent Comments plugin by Krischan Jodies.

The extension worked and looked just as I expected from the very start. A rare thing to happen.

Now new comments, even the ones to older posts, are granted the visibility they deserve in a dedicated sidebar section.

Guestbook

The idea was to have a place for feedback and general notes, instead of finding them below some random posts.

Implementation of that one is easy. Just create a WordPress page, name it “guestbook” and allow comments.

The details, however, like having a reminder about guestbook above article’s comments section, took some time.

Track comments by RSS

This WordPress functionality was there from the beginning, but somehow got lost when I was changing the themes. I put it back and ensured this option is easy enough to notice.

Enrich feeds

I wanted the feeds to contain number of comments to the post. The Better Feed plugin provided the solution.

This one took some time, however, because the plugin initially failed to work. Eventually it turned out that my 1.5 WordPress version is missing one function, so I just commented it out.

After some fine-tuning on my test site (a test site!) everything seems to be working fine.

What’s next?

I?m still looking forward to having some way of promoting selected comments and presenting them separately. This can wait, though.