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Useful BP and non-MU BP feature: list outside blogs

  • Avatar of Donnacha
    Donnacha
    Participant

    @donnacha

    This is a suggestion for a feature that strikes me as obviously useful for both regular BP and, especially, the upcoming non-MU BP. As far as I can tell from testbp.org, my suggestion is not yet possible.

    There should be a way to allow users, both during account setup and later via account settings, to specify outside blogs as theirs, either instead of or alongside blogs they create within that BP installation.

    I think this will be useful because most people may be willing to participate in a BP-based social network but will want to be associated with their existing blogs elsewhere, rather than a blog within that network which they may not have time to maintain. Being able, within their profile, to indicate their “real” blog elsewhere will increase the incentive to be active within the social network, driving attention to their blog.

    This would also be particularly useful for the suggested non-MU version of BP because, obviously, that will be unable to provide blogs to each member, being able to list outside blogs is simply going to be a must.

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Avatar of John James Jacoby
    John James Jacoby
    Keymaster

    @johnjamesjacoby

    You could make a xprofile field that says “Outside Blogs” and they could list them there for now. They wouldn’t link to them yet however, and there’s an enhancement in the trac to allow for different formats of fields that will allow this later.

    I suspect however that your goal is to have these blogs show in the “Blogs” area of BuddyPress. I think that’s a novel idea, and I don’t think it would be too difficult to do really, but it means that the blog area needs to be explored more, versus it only being a front end layer for all of WPMU’s blogs.

    I think that they best they could be however would be links to outside blogs, and that keeping it within the content of your site would be difficult. (It would require an iFrame most likely, which I suspect most of us try to avoid.)

    Avatar of Danielfelice
    danielfelice
    Participant

    @danielfelice

    I think there is already a plugin that does this for WPMU. Haven’t seen it for a while but I think it is available at premium.wpmudev.org

    Avatar of Donnacha
    Donnacha
    Participant

    @donnacha

    Thanks JJJ and Daniel.

    Yes, the goal would be to have these outside blogs appear in the “Blogs” area of the user’s BP profile. I appreciate that this is a novel idea but, when you consider that we will all be tripping across dozens of BuddyPress sites every day, it is obvious that we will not be able to maintain active blogs in each of the communities we wish support or have a presence in. Being able to list our “real” blog on our profile should a standard feature of BuddyPress. Also, as I say, it’s going to be essential for the non-MU version of BP.

    Locking the content of those outside blogs into the BP site would be wrong, especially not using using hokey iFrames. Surely one of the best things about BuddyPress is that it smashes through the walled-garden mindset of the existing social networks and introduces a new age of openness; hopefully, people will find our BP sites useful and entertaining enough to want to stick around, even if we let our users’ profiles link to outside blogs. More importantly, we should honor our users’ participation in our BP sites by allowing them to create a real link to their real blog, that is only fair.

    As for WPMU Dev, thanks for alerting me to their plugin but, unfortunately, their pricing is currently geared towards institutional budgets, not the individuals that BP is now drawing into the MU world. Funnily enough, I posted about this on their site today and got a little conversation going:

    http://wpmu.org/all-wpmu-dev-premium-plugins-now-27/

    Please do jump in and add your voice to my call for them to revise their pricing to a level we can all afford.

    Avatar of John James Jacoby
    John James Jacoby
    Keymaster

    @johnjamesjacoby

    I wonder though, how BuddyPress could handle the activity feed from an external blog. My guess is that it really couldn’t, unless you can set up some form of XMLRPC to the existing BuddyPress site, which to be honest I know absolutely nothing about right now to even think if it’s plausible.

    I agree that it would be nice to link your one site to other BuddyPress sites, but I suspect that some site admin’s may want to moderate the content that is getting filtered through their domain. There would probably need to be some moderation involved. What do you do about the Buddy Bar at the top? Or does this link basically just kick them over to the external site?

    In my opinion I almost think it would make sense, in the interim, to just use RSS to display the content from one blog on another, to fit it within the format of an existing site, at least until something like this comes to fruition.

    Avatar of Donnacha
    Donnacha
    Participant

    @donnacha

    What I had in mind was simple links, where Profile > My Blogs would be a page listing, first, My Blogs on <BuddyPress Name>, followed by My Blogs Elsewhere. They would be simple links that take you directly to the outside blog, losing the Buddy Bar.

    Using RSS to display actual content from those outside blogs on the BuddyPress site is an interesting thought, opens up a lot of possibilities but, as you say, would be tricky to police. It would also create duplicate content problems.

    The need being addressed here is not to pad the user profiles and activity streams with content generated elsewhere but, rather, to make the profiles more useful, having the humility to accept the fact that the most important information about someone may not be located on their profile page within our BuddyPress network but elsewhere, and allowing that user to indicate wherever it is he considers to be his online “home”. Yes, many visitors will exit via those links but, if they find this open approach useful, they are likely to return and use our BP network as a platform from which to explore more profiles – a classic open vs closed situation.

    Avatar of Donnacha
    Donnacha
    Participant

    @donnacha

    This issue has now also been raised by spisio in another thread: External Blogs

    If anyone else agrees that this is an important missing feature, please make your opinion known by posting in either thread.

    Avatar of Jeff Sayre
    Jeff Sayre
    Participant

    @jeff-sayre

    The need being addressed here is not to pad the user profiles and activity streams with content generated elsewhere but, rather, to make the profiles more useful, having the humility to accept the fact that the most important information about someone may not be located on their profile page within our BuddyPress network but elsewhere, and allowing that user to indicate wherever it is he considers to be his online “home”

    I agree with donnacha’s sentiment. When it comes to creating a new social network, it’s not only possible, but probable that many members will already have a website url they consider their primary domain. BP needs to have a away for members to place one or more clickable links within their profile.

    Avatar of Jeff Sayre
    Jeff Sayre
    Participant

    @jeff-sayre

    An additional thought. Whereas it would be possible to use a text field to allow members to add links to whatever external blog(s) or website(s) they consider their primary online home(s), it would be preferable to do so through a 1:N relationship and not within a single field.

    Avatar of John James Jacoby
    John James Jacoby
    Keymaster

    @johnjamesjacoby

    How about using the Extended Profile fields, and just making a field called “External Blogs” and within that, have links to websites?

    Avatar of Jeff Sayre
    Jeff Sayre
    Participant

    @jeff-sayre

    Yes, by using the Extended Profile fields this idea can already be implemented. But perhaps I’m missing something. Whereas multiple href tags are placed within single posts everyday in the blogosphere, it is a lot harder to extract (parse) that data–each individual link–for other purposes.

    In this particular instance, placing a member’s outbound homepage links, each in their own individual record, makes it a lot more useful. In other words, a 1:N relationship between a member and his or her chosen online homesites. They could add as many as they like and each would appear in a nicely formatted table, one row for each link, each record. This would provide a more flexible and easy to manipulate subset of profile data for plugin developers to utilize.

    However, such relational design in this case may be over engineering the data schema and might be of limited use for the vast majority of developers. It could also make the management of the profile fields more complex–from a coding standpoint.

    But, this general concept of offering a way for plugin developers or site admins to place multi-record fields (model 1:N type data) within profiles would be very powerful. Currently, most social network platforms do not provide that type of relational complexity within their users’ profiles. True 1:N relationships are simply listed within a single field. For instance, members of a musicians network list their albums or songs within each album in a list within a large text field.

    You get the idea. Maybe this is not too useful for most. But I think providing the option could help BP become an even more sophisticated platform.

    Avatar of John James Jacoby
    John James Jacoby
    Keymaster

    @johnjamesjacoby

    I’m going to close this topic and refer everyone to the External Blogs topic going forward.

    (Let me know if there are any objections?)

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

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