Using Discourse as a Comment Engine for a Blog

(Patrick Burrows) #1

Continuing the discussion from Using discourse as blog software:

[quote=“codinghorror, post:5, topic:2510, full:true”]Well, I’d also respectfully point out that turning blogging software into forum software usually does not go well, either.

Not that you can’t do it. But should you?[/quote]

I agree that making it “the blog” is a bad idea.

But making it the blog’s comment engine is not (have a discourse thread at the bottom of the page) Especially for sites which have both comments AND forums.

It would allow for users to use the same account for article comments and forum posts.

It would allow users to have a single profile page to go to and see responses to posts both in forums and in article comments.

[PAID] Customizing the UI of Original Posts for Commenting
(Ted Lilley) #2 does this on many of its pages, where it will show you the first x number of comments to an article, and if you want to see more or post after x, they link to your forum. Seems to work pretty well for them, although there’s still a lot to be said for a cross-site solution like Disqus.

(Jeff Atwood) #3

I actually like this solution a lot more than full bore embedding.

Show the top n best comments on the article itself, through an API – then link to the complete discussion in a different area if you want to engage.

[PAID] Customizing the UI of Original Posts for Commenting
(Doug Moore) #4

As someone that has asked for embedding, I would be good with this solution.

(Wout Mertens) #5

This is sort of what xkcd does, although the linking is manual - each comic gets a separate thread created by whoever got there first, and the regular chitchat is interspersed with those threads.

The difference between commenting on a blog and commenting on a forum is that the former is an after-the-talk Q&A session with the author, and the latter is a book club. I think both have their place, but is there a way that Discourse could enable both?

If you do full bore embedding, you retain the personae from the forum proper, with their avatars and reputation, and the blog author is in the spotlight. It might not even make sense to have the discussion visible in the forum thread list.

If you do top-n comments with a link, you get the book club effect. I’m not sure that’s a good thing in all cases?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

(Jeff Atwood) #6

If the article author participates in the forum topic attached to their article, I fail to see any difference between these hypothetical book club vs. after the talk q&a session examples. The participation of the author is the critical bit, not the potential for embedding.

That said we continue to find that Discourse is about having a real place for community, a clubhouse of your own, a strong but semi permeable membrane between editorial and community content… so embedding is not on our roadmap.

(Patrick Burrows) #7

That saddens me in ways you cannot possibly begin to imagine.

(Wout Mertens) #8

Yeah I agree that the author can also be present at the book club meeting :smile:

Looking at the current implementation of the refer-to-forum idea at howtogeek, I do feel that there is a bit of a mental step to take, having to go to a different page to comment on the article.

I’m pretty sure that this will cause some would-be commenters to not comment. On the other hand, perhaps the comments they were going to leave wouldn’t have been that important.

The middle ground may be to have an “add comment” box on the blog page which then posts it on the forum (possibly with a preview). @codinghorror how does that sound?

(Wout Mertens) #9

BTW this thread has interesting relevant content too: 301 Moved Permanently


I know quite a few blogs that have a very strong community, built around blog posts and comments on them. Why can’t discourse be used in this way, with a discourse thread for each blog post, and show the replies (styled like a more compact discourse thread, with a reply box and full interactivity for signed in members) below each page, where a traditional comment thread would go?

Maybe this is just a very niche use case, but it seems like a valid way to grow a community to me, and has worked already, even with very rudimentary commenting systems. (That can honestly be pretty terrible sometimes)

(Marcus Riemer) #11

This sounds very similar to what I would love to do. But as far as I understand this API isn’t there yet?

I would require some kind of tagging that groups together all threads for a specific topic. My website is about user generated content, so I would assume more then one user might start a thread regarding a specific entry.

In theory I could piggyback categories for this, but that seems a little off to me.

(Sam Saffron) #12

The API is there and its used by our WordPress plugin. Add .json?best=5 to the end of a topic link (in anonymous mode)

(Marcus Riemer) #13

Thats great to know and satisfies my first requirement. But I would like to retrieve the 5 most popular threads regarding a certain topic on my page, not the 5 most important posts in a single thread. Also I guess I could get started with the latter … Maybe I should just give it a go …

Is there any API overview available on how to create new topics via the JSON api or should I just dive in looking at wp-discourse?

(Sam Saffron) #14

There may be a discrete api for that, if not we would be open to a PR that adds that endpoint (essentially a discrete api for “suggested topics”) as it shows at the bottom of this very page.

In these early days of Discourse, the best thing to do is to dive in to the code.

(German Viscuso) #15

Is there any guide on how to do this? I’m interested in doing exactly what you’re doing with your blogs eg The Discourse Servers to integrate the comments into blog category entries on Discourse. The blog is wordpress based. We also have documentation static pages using Disqus as comment engine and I would like to switch that to Discourse.
Any explanation on how to do this is highly appreciated!!

(German Viscuso) #16

Answering my own question, I just found about the Wordpress plugin: 301 Moved Permanently but what about adding Discourse as commenting engine to a static page (no Wordpress)?

(Ben T) #17

Well, have I got a deal for you! And it’s totally not cobbled together by me. Check out js-discourseBestOf and you can do almost everything the wordpress plugin does against a static page with javascript; with the responsibility of creating threads on your end… or if you’re a fan of jekyll…

(German Viscuso) #18

Thanks man! Will check it out

(Martin Törnqvist) #19

Now I’m aware that people think this is a bad idea, however I’ve been thinking the same thing since I saw it and I wonder: is it technically possible? You would need to either limit top-level posting to certain users, or perhaps have exclusive categories and set the start page to only list those by default. Is either possible today?

I think I am yet to see why it’s really that bad. Ordinary blogs are somehow too… rigid. They’re too much “this is my site and it represents what I think”, making it an unnatural way for some to express themselves. I think a “personal Discourse” could at least be a nice illusion of something a bit more humble, a bit more dynamic, a bit more inviting. Article and comments side by side, not “scroll waaay down for tiny comments”. You’d discuss things you think about, rather than Stating Your Official Opinions That Don’t Change Over Time.

EDIT: Joining existing communities for everything you’re interested in is not a replacement for this - you get no tracking of what you’ve been interested in and written about earlier, and your family and friends can not follow you.

(German Viscuso) #20

Hey @trident I have two developers integrating GitHub - trident523/js-discourseBestOf: A jQuery based implementation of wp-discourse. with static pages here: and they are having a hard time when trying to automatically create a post in Discourse when someone comments (we don’t want to prepopulate Discourse with empty doc entries). Can this be done from static pages (create a post only when someone clicks on “Add comment”)?
I suppose our challenge is that we generate those pages from markup and use jekyll.
I appreciate any advice here!
Thx a lot.