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Brainstorm: Distributed (branched) conversations for blog posts

  • Erlend


    I think one of bbPress’ biggest strengths is its potential to extend upon and empower WordPress’ commenting system. Another side of this is the P2 theme used to enable real-time conversations, but that’s a different topic.

    ‘Distributed conversations’ should facilitate persistent on-topic discussion.

    The basis of this idea has already been put to the test on the website. For an example, follow this link to the Beware online “filter bubbles” video and scroll down to see the “TED CONVERSATIONS”. That is, in essence, what I’m proposing here, along with a new idea (comment conversion).

    How would this work?

    A) Create conversation directly from a blog post. (TED way)

    B) Create conversation from a blog post’s comment(s). (new way)

    See mockup:


    Every blog post should come with a “start a new topic” link. Clicking this link would start a standard ‘new post’ prompt. The only difference would be the link to the discussed blog post, which could be incorporated in a number odd ways. The easiest way I can think of would be a shortlink with blog post ID. (Although it’s outside of the initial scope, this should also be compatible with forum posts).


    Comments can be converted to forum threads. A conversion would:

    1) Lock the thread of comments

    2) Create a new forum thread with the comments.

    3) Link to the new forum thread from the locked comment thread.

    This option would only be available to moderators and above.

    Maybe not in core, but I could see this being a super handy plugin.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

  • Erlend


    (much delayed) Update:

    After some talk with Patrick Daly at DevPress I realized it’d probably be for the best that only moderators get to “promote” comment trees to forum threads. Having a choice between the two might confuse the average user.

    Doug Smith


    I could also see not giving the user a choice and making all post comments be forum threads by default. The discussion could appear both on the post and in a forum page, if desired. That would add the extra capabilities and avoid the confusion.



    Thing about that is you wouldn`t be taking advantage of the lightweight nature of comments, which is ideal for simple reactions but not so much extended discussions. Actually I really like the term ‘reactions’, as that’s where I draw the line between a comment and a conversation. I’ve updated my mockup to reflect that. Here’s the updated image:

    You’d also be confined to a single thread of discussion, which is the key limitation this plugin would resolve. Look at the linked TED page and you’ll see pretty much the exact setup I’m looking for.

    Another reason to use comments is that if you’re using a P2-like theme you can enable near real-time comments on your article. This is only possible with WP comments, not posts.

    Oh, and then there’s the many types of plugins that facilitate unregistered commenting. Besides anonymous comments, there are plugins to enable posting with a Facebook/Twitter/Google account without actually registering to the site, but just to avoid spam.

    Finally, I actually think this “comment conversion” approach would be less of a hack than using bbPress in place of comments. It’s a one way conversion, from one standard data format to another. Removing the plugin only removes the conversion method; what’s left is perfectly standard data, ready for export etc.

    In the end it comes down to what you need for your website. Check out “use bbPress in place of wordpress comments” if you want to continue discussing the setup you have in mind.



    Another argument for this plugin would be multisite friendliness. I think it would be anyhow.

    Since the “integration” is simply a matter of the plugin copying the contents of a comment and re-posting it on a forum, it shouldn’t matter whether that’s in (default), (a secondary site) or, so long as that’s specified in the settings.

    So if I have a main site for blogging,, and a secondary site for forum discussion (i.e. with bbPress 2 installed on it),, this approach could still work just fine.

    Am I correct in this assumption?

    Nice,where can i find such plugin which can convert comments into topic?



    drsim, Haven’t used it myself but there is the plugin bbPress Topics for Posts

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