OT: Gawker Media & Commenter Management
Does anyone happen to know what Gawker media (gawker.com, gizmodo.com, etc) is currently using to power its blogs? When they started out they were using MovableType, but now it looks as though they might be using something proprietary.
The reason that I started to wonder what they’re using is because of the way that their blogs manage their users/commenters. It’s very elegant. Commenters basically have accounts with uploadable icons, profile pages that list all their comments, etc. This is the natural and obvious way to handle commenters.
I recognize that there are a few plugins that enable WP commenters to use icons, but what’s needed is really a commenter management system along the lines of what Gawker uses. I love WordPress but it seems to me that this is a glaring need for future development.
And incidentally I’ve played around a bit with the user functionality already available in WP. It’s shockingly rudimentary and it struck me as dangerous that even “subscriber” users are shown the wp-admin interface.
Is this an area of improvement that’s on the WP agenda?
I don’t know what they’re using, but this site *certainly* can be done in WordPress.
Commenters basically have accounts with uploadable icons, profile pages that list all their comments, etc.
It’s shockingly rudimentary and it struck me as dangerous that even “subscriber” users are shown the wp-admin interface.
Uhhh…what? Yes, subscribers are given access to the wp-admin interface. How else would they be able to update their profiles and edit their own comments? And upload the icons you’re talking about that you would like to have? What other method would you prefer for them to use to do that? I don’t think it’s rudimentary. In fact, when I’ve used any other CMS, it’s set up the same way – subscribers are given a username and password to access their stuff in the admin area. What CMS *doesn’t* do this? What would you rather have happen?
I recognize that there are a few plugins that enable WP commenters to use icons, but what’s needed is really a commenter management system along the lines of what Gawker uses.
What do they use? I’m sorry, I don’t feel like signing up for an account at a site I’ll never visit again just to see what you’re talking about. Yes, WP has the capability to have users upload icons/avatars for themselves. You can also use the “*_authors()” tag to list author information, like everything they’ve posted and viewing their profiles. I haven’t seen this for *commenters*, but if you really wanted to do that, I’m sure you could. Might take a little effort, but I’d imagine it could be done.
Yes, I want a functionality for *commenters* that is comparable to what Gawker’s sites have. I would also cite the commenter functionality of Digg as a great example of what it would be nice to do in WordPress. I believe this is very important because commenters are very important to blogs — perhaps not quite as important as actual authors, but still important. They form a blog’s community, and I see no reason not to enable functions that make it easy and efficient to maintain a community.
I would encourage you to have a look at gizmodo.com. A commenter has a relatively rudimentary admin page that is its own entity. It does not lie in the root admin path of whatever software Gawker uses. Why would you want to expose the WP dashboard and any part of the admin interface to someone who’s a mere commenter on your site?
I understand entirely why someone would not want to sign up for gravatars or whatnot. There is this new plugin that provides rudimentary avatar functionality for WP commenters:
In theory I am sure that it is possible to create a more advanced Digg-style functionality for commenters in WP. My point is not that I’m too lazy to customize WP in ways I need. My point is that this advanced sort of commenter functionality should be a core part of WP (or a future version of it). I see other people asking for this sort of thing. Commenters are extremely valuable. Why is this such a shocking point? If anything, I was shocked that the functionality didn’t really exist already.
(That’s a veiled compliment to WP. Generally speaking I’ve found it to be such a great platform that I’ve developed rather high expectations of it.)
The closest to gizmodo style i’ve seen is a site called slashgear
for example on their comment, they have their profile page
also they have browse by user comment
what i like the most and wish i can get my hand on is their member list
i emailed them asking for what plugins they use, and they said some uses wp-stats functions and self coded
Why would you want to expose the WP dashboard and any part of the admin interface to someone who’s a mere commenter on your site?
The only people who would have “admin interface access” would be those who are registered to your blog. Therefore, they would be the only ones who would be able to create a profile and edit their own comments (and, by the way, if you subscribe to a blog, that’s *ALL* you have access to in the admin panel/dashboard, until you are given higher privileges by the blog’s author).
There would be no other way for a commenter to create a profile in *your* private blog unless they subscribed to it. You can sign up for gravatars – which is a service – and have that work on any site that has it gravatar ready…but if you want your own personal blog to have that kind of thing for commenters, then yes, they would have to subscribe to the blog. Which means they’d have to be able to log in. Which you’d have to be able to log in anyway to have your avatar and profile appear. That functionality *is* there.
If you’re talking about a totally sepatrate system from the private blog to allow people to sign up for so that general commenters can have a profle and avatars and all that – yes. The Gravatar plugin. Otherwise, your’e hinting at completely splitting up the WordPress system so that commenters can log in and do their thing without any *real* access to the blog itself – which a 3rd party system can already do (why reinvent the wheel?)
I would encourage you to have a look at gizmodo.com.
I’ve *seen* gizmodo.com. I’m just not willing to sign up for more spam just to see what you’re talking about. Digg, too. That’s workable with gravatars…I’ve just used an avatar system for a client called Dan’s Avatar Thingy that works very well. As I said before, with some editing (and maybe some mingling with the Role Manager plugin) you could get it to work for registered commenters. No biggie.
My point is that this advanced sort of commenter functionality should be a core part of WP (or a future version of it).
Some commenter functionality *is* a basic part of WordPress. Subscriber functionality is even moreso. But you don’t want to give just anybody excellent privileges, because you give an inch… I could so envision this taking place, and then the next thing that happens is people screaming about spammers and security issues revolving around the WordPress commenting system. You can’t have it both ways.
Doing this for regular *subscribed* commenters isn’t a far-fetched idea – and I never said it was shocking point. The thing that got me was your…disgruntled surprise? I guess? That someone would be able to log in through the administrative panel to edit their own profile. I can’t think of *any* existing CMS/blog system that does *not* do this. It’s not like, when they log in, they have the run of everything available. All they can do is edit their own profile and comments – and you can even take *that* away if you wanted to. They can’t even *see* anything else.
I understand you think it’d be awseome for commenters to have little avatars of themselves next to their comments, and to be able to see everything they’ve ever commented on, etc. – but as I said, to do so, you’d need to log in somewhere to have your comment associated with your info. WordPress has this functionality. You just need to edit your theme to allow the profile/avatar stuff to take place.
I feel like we’re talking circles around each other, doodlebee. You say you’re wary about giving anybody privileges — and I say I’m wary about even showing the WP dashboard to anybody. In that sense, we’re talking about the same thing: security. It freaks me out to think of anybody being encouraged to have the slightest access to my WP installation.
(And for the record, if my tone conveyed “disgruntlement” I apologize. I love WP, am extremely grateful to it and the developers who give their time to it. However, I do think this is an area that could stand improvement.)
I just installed WP 2.2 and Dan’s avatar thingy on a test site. It’s not a bad combo. But it’s still really rudimentary. I’m fantasizing about something more like this:
– A registration function that does not expose the WP admin interface in any way, not even the dashboard. (Besides, why would commenters want to see that?)
– A registration function that remains within the default page style of the site.
– A registration function that allows for custom avatars, like Dan’s avatar thingy.
– A profile page (outside WP admin) that enables a commenter to page through his own comments and/or see a list of stories that he’s commented on.
– A profile page that enables a commenter to make his profile private or public — ie enable others to see his profile, page through his comments, etc.
– A profile page that enables a commenter to bookmark favorite posts.
– A profile page that enables a user to give some additional info about himself.
I recognize that all this is do-able with plugins and some php know-how. I’m not trying to be a whiner who says, “Ohh, that darn WP, why doesn’t it anticipate my every need?” What I’m saying is that I think this could or should be a core set of features. Lots of bloggers would love this functionality. Why should every one of them struggle to hack it together? Personally I would find such commenter functionality far more useful than any more widgets or the new “infinite comment stream.” (I’m not knocking anybody’s hard work. I’m just saying that this commenter functionality seems really fundamental and important to me.)
One more thing: perhaps I am misunderstanding how this works, but I find it disturbing that, once an admin checks the “anyone can register” option, literally anyone can register. Is there a function that enables the admin to moderate registrations, the same as comments can be moderated?
It freaks me out to think of anybody being encouraged to have the slightest access to my WP installation.
Then you should *have* a WP installation 😉 You can look on the forums here yourself and see that *anyone* on your server could possibly have access to certain areas of your site – whether you are using WordPress or not, actually – simply because of how the majority of servers are set up to allow permissions. Most of WP functions require the server to play “parent” to your site, and if you want certain programs (like WP – among others) to have certain access to things to make them function, then the host usually sets up thier server to act a certain way.(Sorry I’m not better at explaining the technical jargon..I kinda suck at it.) So if someone compromises the server through someone else’s site, and gains “parentage” through that, then they are the parent and will have access.
In the end, WP is built in a typical method of how servers are set up. It relies on a lot of trust that your webhost knows what they are doing. Being worried about security is one thing, but to take it to such an extent that you would like people to log in via a completely different interface is another. That’s kind of taking it to the extreme, and it makes one wonder why you’d want anything up on the internet at all if you’re *that* worried about it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take steps to ensure your security, but to ask WordPress to add on such a level of security as a basic function is quite a bit above and beyond – and still it wouldn’t have any more security than you already have with how it’s set up now. Double the work with pretty much nothing to gain, really.
“disgruntlement” isn’t really the word I was looking for, by the way. It’s just the best I can come up with to convey my meaning. Put out? Maybe? I dunno…
(Besides, why would commenters want to see that?)
Because it allows them to see news that’s related to WordPress. There’s nothing wrong with it. They can’t see anything they shouldn’t see anyway. They’ll only see stuff that’s related to them. But again, asking for a totally different interface is a bit odd, I think. It wouldn’t offer any extra security – other than obfuscation. Which, as most of us know, is the *worst* way to convey security, because it’s totally unreliable.
A registration function that remains within the default page style of the site.
You can *easily* do this yourself – just edit the stylesheet for the admin area. wp-admin/min.css – among others.
– A registration function that allows for custom avatars, like Dan’s avatar thingy.
It’ll let you do that if you have the plugin for it. I’d say you could use Dan’s Avatar Thingy and just cutomize it a bit to allow for commenters if you really wanted to.
If you use a Theme that utlizes the Gravatar system, I believe that will do what you want – since Gravatars is a service that provides avatars to users (who, by the way, log in to the gravatar service), and their info will display on sites that will allow it. So that could solve your issue righ thtere – have them log into the gravatar service, and they don’t have to log into your admin area to leave a comment and have those features. (However, viewing their profile and stuff will take people to the gravatar page, not your site)
A profile page (outside WP admin) that enables a commenter to page through his own comments and/or see a list of stories that he’s commented on.
Again, I *think* you can do this. I know you can with authors…but I *believe* you can also do it with commenters that are subscribed to your blog. I’d have to look further into it though.
Same with the rest.
Lots of bloggers would love this functionality. Why should every one of them struggle to hack it together?
Because, WordPress is an open source program. Open source does mean it’s free, yes. but it also means that it is inly providing basic functionality so that the end users can customize it to their heart’s content, and bend it like a gymnast in a porn movie. If you add *too much* functionality at the base, you’re gonna run into more problems than solutions. It’ll end up turning into the American legal system…started out as a good idea, but now it’s just a horrid mess that’s so bad now that you can’t spill a cup of coffee in your lap and NOT sue the restaurant for your clutziness.
KISS principle. If you need stuff added on, that’s what plugins are for, and that’s the basis of open source. Add to much to the basics, and you’re stepping into dangerous waters.
I’m not knocking anybody’s hard work. I’m just saying that this commenter functionality seems really fundamental and important to me.
To *you*. Not to me. Not to my clients who don’t use the commenting system at all and completely disable it. If what you’re suggested became a fundamental part of WordPress, my job (granted, I’d be paid for the extra time, so woo-hoo!) would become that much more difficult in trying to *remove* it. Granted, you could say mine isn’t more important than yours, but until Matt (and the other WP developers) see this is a “majority rules” issue, then it’s something that plugins can handle. I would say it’s not, because the majority rules out of your favor right now.
Is there a function that enables the admin to moderate registrations, the same as comments can be moderated?
You can also set the default of what “anyone” is when they register (which is the subscriber by default). Then set your “discussion” stuff so that the first time someone comments, you are informed and you must approve it. You can also set it so you are informed any time *anyone* comments, regardless.
You can also use the aformentioned Role Manager Plugin and create your own levels, and what they can or cannot do.
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