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wordpress and comments

Filed under: friction,General — Thomas @ 15:57


Every time I want to reply to a comment on my blog I am stupefied at how badly commenting works in WordPress.

Here's what I can't figure out:

  • Why can't I comment on a specific comment and start a thread of discussion ?
  • Why can't I easily quote some other comment ?
  • Why can't I comment from the admin interface ?

But these probably are relatively minor. The number one thing that annoys me is how this comment system does not help at all in creating a discussion. It would be so much better if, assuming there was a way to comment on a specific comment:

  • your comment to someone else's comment would get automatically mailed to that person (if he left his email)
  • that mail contained a link that would take him to "create a new comment on this comment"

This way, you can keep a discussion going without too much mental friction. Imagine how I would have to do it now - I would have to comment in general (using the @ symbol to indicate at which commenter I'm directing my comment), send them a mail (hey, I saw your comment, and replied), cut and paste my comment or send them a link to it, and ask them their opinion. Then if they still cared enough, they would give it to me, I'd have to ask them if they're ok with posting their comment again, and then manually post it again. And so on.

Right now often I don't reply because I'm pretty much sure these people aren't spending their free time going back to comments they've written to see if they got a response. So much possibility for goodness wasted...

My hope is that one of you knows of a plug-in that just Does The Right Thing here. Care to share ?

Trac and OpenSearch

Filed under: friction,Hacking — Thomas @ 00:36


Every time someone posts a ticket number in #fluendo I have to go to firefox, go my bookmarks toolbar, click Fluendo, click Trac, click Flumotion, wait, then on the page click Search, wait, and type my search term.

Annoyingly slow, all in all.

So, last week I decided I wanted to know how that search dropdown in Firefox works.

Turns out it's really simple - it uses OpenSearch, which is a standard, and also supported by IE7. There's a nice simple page explaining it, and it was easy to set up a simple test (after figuring out that for some reason the xml description only allows http or https URL's, not file://, so you need to set up a web server).

So, with all that information on hand, I got on a plane to Barcelona on Saturday and started to hack. Trac plug-ins make for excellent plane hacking material - Trac is well-designed, relatively easy to browse around in, and plug-ins are usually pretty small, making it easy to get something done in the 75 minutes of computer time I get on a plane.

A big time sink on setting up a plug-in is the "how to get started" part, ie creating the directories, the plugins, setting up test trac, ... So this time I took some notes for me personally - poke me if you think I should make them public.

By the time we got to landing I had a simple prototype working, and I polished it off yesterday.

Then I went on IRC to ask a question on how to do something, and I learnt that the trunk of Trac actually has opensearch support built in. Sweet ! That means I won't have to port this 0.10 plugin to 0.11 when we upgrade.

I fixed up my plugin to be more like the trunk opensearch integration so it will be a seamless transition when the time comes.

I love it when a 2 hour hack reduces the number of steps for an action I do tens of times daily from 9 to 1. I used to think of the technical part of my job as removing friction, and this is definitely a good friction killer.

If you're interested, get the plugin, read the README, and install it.

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