Support » Plugin: CommentPress Core » Request to Re-engineer

  • Resolved thecorkboard



    After playing around with this “plugin” for the last two days, and in trying to dissect its innards, I have to walk away from it disappointed. But, I’m not disappointed because it doesn’t work, in fact it works as advertised, but I feel it is losing a lot of users–like myself–who need it to be much more flexible with their current theme.

    I would prefer to use this as a teaching tool, where I have students do deep reading of an article and comment on a micro level. This would work nicely with my social BuddyPress environment, as all users would be able to see the stream of comments. But my theme has been heavily customized for content types and a certain level of usability that CommentPress’s required themes don’t have.

    I’d really like to request that your team (?) re-engineers the “plugin” to be just that: a plugin. As it stands now, it is a system that has a significant dependency on a particular theme.

    I’ll be keeping this on my watch list for future use, but right now I’ll just hack together a new custom post type for embedding Google docs for commenting.

    Thanks for reading,

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Plugin Author Christian Wach


    @thecorkboard, thanks for taking the time to leave feedback. Over the years, CommentPress has, in fact, been a standalone theme, a standalone plugin, a combination of standalone theme and standalone plugin – and is now a plugin with a choice of themes supplied with the plugin. As you can see, a lot of options have been tried and, crucially, it’s just me maintaining CommentPress… the consequences of which I presume you can guess from that fact alone!

    The problem with CommentPress existing only a plugin is that it is impossible to predict what markup a particular theme will employ – it was tried and abandoned as unreliable. And many themes simply are not capable of displaying text and commentary together, even with JavaScript attempting to post-process the layout. So, I have tried to add flexibility by providing two parent themes with different layout schemas which can be adapted via child themes.

    If you’re using BuddyPress, I should mention that CommentPress is deeply integrated with it and that there are a number of options you could explore, depending on the nature of the content you’re working with:

    The simplest option is to install BuddyPress Groupblog and make those group blogs CommentPress-enabled. You can see a demo here, which happens to use the CommentPress Modern theme for the main BuddyPress-enabled site, but this is not required. That way, your existing BuddyPress theme would not conflict with CommentPress and your group members can write and discuss their work in the group’s blog. Activity items are, of course, created by activity in the group blog.

    If your content is static, like for example this development site which is set up to discuss Thoreau’s Walden, then there is a newly-written plugin (which I will release on the WP repo soon) which enables a number of BuddyPress groups to read and comment on the text – both singly and together. In this instance, Walden itself is a CommentPress-enabled site, while the main site is powered by Commons in a Box.

    Both of these approaches require WordPress Multisite, which may not be to your liking or which you may consider too technical, but I hope this gives you an idea of how CommentPress can work with an existing setup.

    Cheers, Christian


    I appreciate your extended reply, and I truly understand the consequences of being a sole developer of such a comprehensive plugin. Furthermore, thank you for explaining the iterative process you’ve gone through for testing versions of CommentPress in different forms.

    Yes, I use BuddyPress and MultiSite for my courses, with much success, I should add, due to wonderful plugins that allow me to extend the environment to match the needs of my teaching and that of my students. So, if nothing else, thanks for adding another option to the mix.

    The two options you provide are enticing, but I have some problems with pushing students into another interface (another theme) to comment on the text. It’s a learner/user experience issue for me.

    Anyways, I’m kind of rambling. But on a final note, I’m not sure if you’re in academia, but I imagine that you could find some significant funding to bolster this project even more from funders in the digital humanities. Let me know if you want leads.


    Plugin Author Christian Wach


    Hi Kyle,

    The original intention of CommentPress was to enable text and commentary to sit side-by-side. From this, all other design choices have followed. The canonical “blog type theme,” where comments are appended to the foot of the text does not integrate easily with this design principle, which is why the two custom themes exist. If your theme does have text and commentary side-by-side, then you should in principle be able to create an appropriate CommentPress child theme to match your branding.

    I’m not entirely convinced by the argument that students will be confused by a different interface for a number of reasons, the primary one being that the functionality of commenting in a CommentPress context differs to that in WordPress and BuddyPress. In my experience, different functionality requires a different interface. Contextual unity can be achieved through other means, as I mention above WRT “branding”. Having said that, it is why I made sure that the CommentPress themes work on the main BuddyPress site, so that – for those who require this – there can be a single look and feel. I appreciate that this might not be the right choice for you.

    I’m not in academia myself, but there are a number of institutions and projects that are using CommentPress as it stands and who are very supportive of it. I very much hope that there will be significant development in the future.

    Cheers, Christian

    I agree with previous commenters. When you activate a plugin and you cannot recognize your site – it’s not good. Also the pre-created title page is not a good practice too. You would have to ask user if he wants to create any pages in the first place.

    After activating my own theme I see the links to comment on paragraphs, that means all is needed – a simple tutorial and a pre-written css rules to style comment icons. At the end of the day it should work and look like:

    That means – provide commenting without interfering with the existing theme, place comments in a Ajax style pop-up comment windows. Otherwise it is a very good idea.

    Plugin Author Christian Wach


    Hi Tomas, when you say “at the end of the day it should work and look like iscribbled” it sounds like iscribbled is what you’re after, not CommentPress!

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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