Tag Archives: wordpress

Attempts at Embedding News Discussion

Following up my previous post, I’ve tried a couple configurations for replacing the news discussion features that Google has been slowly making worse for years, and am less than satisfied with all of them. The two most promising so far are:

TTRSS Published feed through FeedWordPress
This generates individual posts from the items in the published feed, in whatever form the interaction between the feed and the WP template generates. It gets all the desired content up, and in principle it provides a local comment scheme.

It is, however, extremely noisy compared to the other content I put up, without clearly delineating itself from original content. WordPress can be configured with alternate post types, and per-type display , but that is a level fucking about with PHP and CSS that I’m not willing to engage in unless I absolutely have to. Part of the noise problem is that it doesn’t behave terribly well with snippeting: FeedWordPress faithfully reposts all of whatever came down the feed, and what I would really like is the full note, followed by the link and a short description. While the tools are present to filter and massage the feed, it would take a nontrivial bit of parsing around inside the feed content to produce full notes and limited-length blurbs. Google Plus’s “unbecoming addiction to abbreviation,” as a friend put it, as well as the inflammatory, misleading headline issues at HN and Reddit have made me aware that clumsy truncation is not really acceptable.

A substantially larger problem is that, despite setting all the appropriate options for local comments, FeedWordPress stubbornly refuses to do anything other than pass the comment link through to the original source. Since borrowing WP’s comment system is the primary reason the news-as-posts model seemed appealing, this is not acceptable. There is a four-month-old unanswered bug report (admittedly, a crappy bug report in broken English) about the issue, but that was all I came up with.

This was the one I was most hopeful for being a drop-in solution, but it clearly would take a substantial amount of the sort of web front-end work I don’t enjoy to make it work well

TTRSS Published feed through HungryFEED

This just gives an unobtrusive feed of notes and headlines in any container your WP theme supports. Pretty nice as a “Look at these interesting things” sort of mechanism, and makes a nice way of advertising that you have a news feed available, but has absolutely no facility for local discussion. It delineates the content better, but lacks the discussion and history features I would like.

If I decide I need to get off of Google’s services, either because the services become too unsuitable or the parent company does something too horrible, I’ll look around again. Setting up a custom post type (easy), with custom display properties (straightforward but unpleasant), a segregable output feed (trivial), and working comments (??) to auto-post TTRSS’s Published feed into using a mechanism like the FeedWordPress solution above would not be horrible, and would support all the desired functionality, but isn’t something I’m currently willing to do “just because.”

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Replicating Reader Sharing with TTRSS and WordPress

I was shit-talking Google Plus’ utility as a replacement for Reader’s social features, and realized I think I actually can do at least as well with my existing infrastructure. I’m not immediately planning to switch, because Plus offers convenience and discovery for others, but I wanted to try it, so there will likely be some spurious posts appearing [and disappearing] shortly. I suspect most of my readership consumes their internet through a feed reader, so this post exists as documentation.

For the interested: TTRSS has a publish mechanism, which creates a custom RSS feed of any article you mark published, along with whatever note you have attached to it with the built in annotation system. It even allows for non-feed content to be shared. There are various WordPress plugins that can embed an RSS feed (HungryFeed,EmbedRSS) or import an RSS feed as a post type (FeedWordPress).
Embedding as custom posts gives both distinction and a comment system, and it is a universal interfaces (can read from web, subscribe via RSS ,etc.). There is even social discovery support built in should such a thing take off.

If this experiment works really well, I might even talk myself into using it before Google gives me another reason.

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WordPress Header Glitch

For some reason, the 3.1 to 3.1.1 WordPress update (or something coincident with it) removed the rel=me link back to my Google profile from my headers. Those links are important – they’re how this page is integrated into my online identity via XFN (The “Xhtml Friends Network”), one of the open standards which will obsolete proprietary social networks like the normal standards-driven internet obsoleted AOL, Compuserve, and the other early walled-garden services (oh please oh please oh please oh….). More immediately, they are what lets google know it should pull blog posts into my Buzz feed and such. Fixed now.

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Beware WordPress Revision Behavior

The editing/cleaning/etc. I’ve been doing to the new blog has caused lots of inconsequential minor revisions to content… which would be fine except that, by default, recent versions of WP generate a new PostID (and associated database cruft) EVERY TIME YOU MAKE A REVISION, resulting in about 350 bogus PostIDs between my last two posts – about 200 of them from leaving the editor up and autosaving for a couple hours. The interwebs are full of notes about adding define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false); to wp-config.php to turn revision saving off, and there is a handy delete-revision plugin to purge any that got by without having to bust out SQL tools, but what a dumb behavior.

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Notes on Migrating Flatpress to WordPress

I’m going to post up some notes on the process of migrating my content from the Flatpress (wordpress-like flat-file backed CMS) instance at my old blog to a WordPress (the dominant CMS for blogs, MySQL backed) instance here at pappp.net.  The short version? It is seriously aggravating. Long block of text follows.
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