Forum-like display of blog comments 61, revisited

Umeda sky building escalator, originally uploaded by quaisi.

I posted some months back on OLT’s efforts to develop a forum-type view of comment activity across a blog, an attempt to address complaints from some students that tracking discussion across many posts on an active course blog was complicated and confusing.

Since then, the team led by Novak has made some impressive progress. They have created and published the BlogActivityShortcode plugin for WordPress. I’ve activated it on my own blog – you can sort the comments by post title, post author, post date, number of comments, or by most recent comment activity. The “+” sign expands the threads.

You can see how the plugin works in a courseblog here.

Since Novak asked for feedback back in November(!), a couple blue sky thoughts. None of these wishes are needed, but would be nice:

  • it would nice if “most recent commenter” could be displayed somehow, though I know there is limited space – personally I think that is more useful information than the name of the original post author
  • I’d like to have the option whether to include the original post (which is included in the thread now) or just have a link to it, or maybe limit the post to a set number of characters. Some of those longer posts require a lot of scrolling to get through
  • if we could somehow aggregate comments from disparate blogs on multiple platforms (in addition to aggregating blog posts, which we are doing)… well, that would kick supreme ass

Getting the update on this plugin this morning marked my introduction to the concept of WordPress Shortcodes by OLT’s Scott McMillan, which is something I only dimly comprehend, but which I gather might make a number of my content management dreams come true. At the very least, I hope it will help me to manage a proper blogroll on a separate page, as opposed to adding to my already too-long sidebar. (I’m surprised that most WP widgets seem to publish exclusively to sidebars.)

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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