Forum Utilities for Movable Type

The Forum Utilities plugin is an add-on for the Movable Type Publishing Platform that provides a collection of tools and utilities often found in forum software to help enhance and elevate the quality of conversation among commenters and visitors. Its features include:

  • Promote Comments to Entries - convert a lengthy or quality comment to a full fledged post on your blog or forum to give it the attention and visibility it deserves.
  • Feature Comments - editors can easily flag a comment as a featured comment so that you can more easily bring attention to good comments in your templates.
  • Close a Discussion - easily and quickly close comments on an entry from the Manage Entries screen.

Download

Installation

To install this plugin, follow these simple steps:

  1. Download the plugin and unzip it on your Desktop
  2. Copy/upload the contents of Desktop/ForumUtils-1.0/mt-static into /path/to/mt/mt-static on your web server.
  3. Copy/upload the contents of Desktop/ForumUtils-1.0/plugins into /path/to/mt/plugins on your web server.

Documentation

Promoting Comments to Entries

Every once in a while a user leaves a comment on your blog that is insightful enough, or long enough that it almost feels like it should be a post in and of itself. Or perhaps it is a comment that has spawned a rich conversation that has taken on a life of its own and you do want it to distract too much from the main topic at hand. Or perhaps the comment could potentially attract a lot of eyeballs and you want to capture that ad revenue.

When comments are promoted, the plugin will take care of all of the following for you:

  • Create an entry containing the text of the comment
  • Make the commenter the author of the newly created entry
  • Transport the entire thread of comments associated with the comment and make them comments on the newly created entry
  • Flag the comment left behind as having been promoted
  • Flag the new entry as one that has been promoted from a comment

Template tags are then made available so that designers and site admins can style and message as they see fit around promoted comments and entries.

How to Promote Comments

Editors and administrators can promote comments in one of two ways:

  1. From the Manage Comments listing screen, select "Promote to Post" from the list actions pull down menu found at the top of the table listing. This makes it easy to promote multiple comments at once. The plugin will prompt you for a post title for the post you are about to create.

    Promote to Post screenshot

    When promoting comments from the list view, all selected comments will be promoted to entries and published. When complete the user will be redirected to the comment listing screen. If you prefer to edit the entry prior to publishing it, please promote comments from the Edit Comment screen described below.

  2. From the Edit Comment screen, select "Promote to Post" from the sidebar. When promoting a comment from the Edit Comment screen an entry will be created but be left in an unpublished state, allowing the editor to augment the entry with additional content and a preferred entry title.

    Promote to Post screenshot (2)

Featuring Comments

Here are a couple ways people might use this feature:

  • Featured Comments - simply flag a comment as insightful on your blog, give it a different background color, or put a star next to it.
  • Answers Forum - in the context of an answers forum, this feature could be used to flag a comment as "the answer" or as "helpful."

To flag a comment is featured, or to turn a featured comment into an unfeatured one, select the comment you want to feature from the comment listing table on the Manage Comments Screen. Then select "Toggle Featured" in the pull down menu at the top of the table listing.

Toggle Featured Screenshot

Closing Comments on an Entry

A new list action was created to simply make closing comments on posts more convenient. This feature allows admins to close comments on multiple entries at a time, directly from the Manage Entries screen.

Template Tags

CommentIsPromoted

This is a block or container tag whose contents will be output if the current comment in context has been promoted to an entry.

<mt:Comments>
   <mt:CommentIsPromoted>
     <mt:setvarblock name="eid"><mt:CommentPromotedToEntryId></mt:setvarblock>
     <mt:Entries id="$eid">
       <p>This comment has been promoted to an entry entitled 
       <a href="<mt:EntryPermalink>" class="promoted"><mt:EntryTitle></a></p>
     </mt:Entries>
   <mt:Else>
      <mt:Include module="Comment Detail">
   </mt:CommentIsPromoted>
</mt:Comments>

CommentIsFeatured

This is a block or container tag whose contents will be output if the current comment in context has been flagged as a featured comment.

The code same below adds a CSS class to the comment <div> so that it can be styled differently for featured comments.

<mt:Comments>
   <div class="comment<mt:CommentIsFeatured> featured</mt:CommentIsFeatured>">
      <mt:Include module="Comment Detail">
   </div>
</mt:Comments>

CommentPromotedToEntryId

This template tag outputs the Entry ID that the current comment has been promoted to. This tag can be used to load the related entry and generate a link to it.

<mt:setvarblock name="eid"><mt:CommentPromotedToEntryId></mt:setvarblock>
<mt:Entries id="$eid">
  <p>This comment has been promoted to an entry entitled 
  <a href="<mt:EntryPermalink>" class="promoted"><mt:EntryTitle></a></p>
</mt:Entries>

EntryPromotedFromCommentId

This template tag outputs the Comment ID that the current entry was promoted from.

EntryWasPromoted

This is a block or container tag whose contents will be output if the current entry was previously a comment that was promoted.

License

This plugin is licensed under the same terms as Perl itself.

Help and Support

5 Comments

I'm intrigued by the new integrated forums in Movable Type. Forums are hugely useful sources of php information and community on many sites, but they are rarely well-integrated, easily managed, or indexed well by search engines.

The only bad news to this story is that the Movable Type Community Solution will cost about $10,000, on top of your Movable Type 4 software license. Dash hinted that we might see hosted versions in 12 months or so.

$10,000, on top of your Movable Type 4 software license. Dash hinted that we might see hosted versions in 12 months or so.

Movable Type Community Solution will cost about $10,000, on top of your Movable Type 4 software license. Dash hinted that we might see hosted versions in 12 months or so. oyunMovable Type 4 software license. Dash hinted that we might see hosted versions in 12 months or so.

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