Forum Replies Created
It looks as if there is a very round-about way of implementing a crude version of this forum/blog integration in buddypress. Buddypress seems to come in modules of social networking components. One called “Activity Streams” can be configured to show activity (such as blog posts) of a member and his “friends” and display a list of it like a forum. Perhaps this could be tweaked to show only blog posts of all members, creating at least a common “read only” forum. Readers would just have to click through the list and comment directly on the blogs using another component called “The Wire” which seems to be a site wide component commenting system… kind of cool. But even if it works as suggested, all this by itself would still be very limiting.
Thinking on this further, to do this correctly, it requires database integration between the blogs and forums with no duplication of data. Here is what is needed:
– Posters to a forum should have the option to have their topics or comments viewed as an entry to at least one of the blogs that they have permission to edit.
– Bloggers should have the option to have their posts viewed as a subject in at least one of the forums that they have permission to edit.
– Comments to either should be visible in both forum and blog views.
– Edits to one should be reflected in the other views.
– Adding a blog-forum link (or perhaps even a blog-blog or forum-forum link) should be supported at any time by any person with the permission to post to a view that they are linking an existing post into (assuming the author of the original post authorizes that.)
– Deletions should be managed with an option to unlink the post from any of the views in which the author or moderator has permission to delete it from, and only delete the post entirely if it is unlinked from all forums and all blogs.
This is not rocket science, and it’s just the beginning. There is way more than just forums and blogs that this concept supports, and I think that the results would be just as explosive.
One thing promising about BuddyPress’s “Activity Stream” is documented as ”Custom components can also hook into the activity streams, meaning any sort of data can be tracked and recorded.“ Would that mean that a third party forum like bbpress, could be configured to use those streams to access blog posts and comments for exactly the kind of forum/blog integration outlined above?
Hey Ipstenu, If there’s a definition of a forum besides being something that’s presented like a forum, I plead ignorance.
I just consider an array of comments sorted by topic to be a forum (and a personally focused web site to be a blog). They’ve moved beyond that to “blogs” of blogs and arrays of forums so for expediency, I use the words loosely.
Are political discussions all that different? I’ve managed a finch forum for over 10 years, developing much of the software in a legacy language, and wanted this feature 8 years ago. I can’t think of a web site with a focus beyond a specific individual or object that’s appropriate for blogs but incompatible with forums.
I’d love to write more on dozens of subjects, but have no interest in spending hours or days on an article for 9 people. I can post something to a popular forum and have it viewed by hundreds, but then it’s invisible in hours – on page 3 and receding. I can post it both places, but that takes time and is something I usually neglect to do. And even when I do it, few people on a forum would actually click out to see my other “best work” unless they were in the habit of expecting to see it on other members’ blogs. I bet that there are many millions of potential bloggers with similar needs. I think they make up a big market.
8 years ago, when I had this idea, I didn’t post it, and just kept it among a few associates. But I’ve come to recognize that I can’t develop it, at least not alone. And I’d rather promote it like this and let someone else benefit from its development (benefiting myself from using it) than not have it. I can think of endless applications (and there’s a lot more to it that I haven’t disclosed) and WPMU seems like as good a platform as any to get it started.
“Different people like blogs than like forums, and topics in blogs rarely are formatted in the way you would for a forum. Your mileage may vary, of course, but a beautifully crafted blog post, in my experience, is a tl;dr post on a forum.” – Ipstenu
That’s a good point Ipstenu, but it’s being managed already. Here are some examples of political blogs on the left and the right linking forums to blogs:
SALON (political left)
– Blog posts are presented like forum topics here: http://open.salon.com/cover.php?view_sort=recent
– The authors’ blogs are listed here: http://open.salon.com/people.php
Pajamas Media (political right)
– Blog posts are presented like forum topics here: http://pajamasmedia.com/
– The authors’ blogs are listed here: http://pajamasmedia.com/pajamasxpress/
I don’t know how much of that’s developed in house or updated manually, but I can’t imagine a better system for both bloggers an forum members.
tl;dr? That’s fine. The bloggers won’t suffer if most of the forum members don’t read a post that they’d have never known existed anyway, and the forum won’t suffer from a few long topics being posted to a list of relevant chatter.
Off the top of my head, I can’t come up with an example of where blogs and forums that are focused on an identical narrow subject would integrate poorly. The focus just has to be well defined, or at least it can’t vary between the blogs and the forum. If it does, direct the incompatible blogs to a new forum (or to no forum). That’s just part of community management.
“Maybe RSS would be a way to handle that? You could import the RSS feeds of the sub blogs to the main blog!?
” – Ecojack
Thanks Ecojack. That was suggested to me by someone, but after explaining that the linkage needed to be two way, with comments posted in either showing in both, he seemed to back away.
“I’m assuming you’re talking about something like this:
“Joe and Jane have blogs on your MU site.
Joe posts ‘My life’ in Joe’s Blog.
Jane posts ‘My dog’ in Jane’s Blog.
Both posts appear in the forum ‘Blogs'”
Ipstenu, Yes,that would be a good start. Better yet, the bloggers should be able to select what forum their blog posts also appear in.
I’m not sure if two blog posts rarely having the same title in a forum would be a big problem. I’m guessing that posts are indexed by some kind of messageID and that I could post two topics to this forum with the same title now, but I haven’t looked at the data structure.
I agree that copying posts from blogs to forums and back would be a lousy hack. Ideally they should share the same pool of messages in the database and just present alternate views of them, but I’d settle for such a hack for now. (I’m not a WP or even a PHP guy by the way).
The purpose of this is to solve the blog readership “chicken or egg” problem. Why regularly spend hours creating exceptional blog post when there are so few readers? Why read a blog when it’s so rarely updated or the author spends so little time on the posts?
This system would allow people who typically read forums (like this one) to scan through both the forum’s post and related blog posts. And it would give new bloggers an audience drawn from both forum readers and readers of other blogs on the same site.
There’s a lot more to this, but that’s the basics.
“You may want to ask that at the WPmu forums. I think it’d have to be a plugin on the WP side to port the posts to a forum. “
Thanks Ipstenu, I was asking about this feature on Simple Press WP forum, which works with WPmu, but their mu expert said that each forum is linked to just one blog. He referred me here. I need a forum that links to all blogs.