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Suggestion: Change action/URL on first link on WP comments

Solari

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This is a huge usability request, really, on the Wordpress side.

I'm dealing with folks who are not familiar with Xenforo at all but they are used to Wordpress.

In person, I've watched people scroll to the comment area on Wordpress and get stuck as to where to enter their comment. They are used to seeing a big input box to type a reply in. They just stop and glaze over, missing the other "REPLY" buttons below each message, the "Join the Discussion" buttons, etc. etc.

There's no comment box so their brains stop! LOL

(I know I made a prior suggestion to have text at the top of the comment area for us to say comments are going to a forum, etc. etc. but knowing people it's not enough as they will gloss/scroll over it while looking for a big white comment box to type in.)

I know there are technical hurdles to making a comment box that carries their reply over to Xenforo (and it would be sneaky in a way, to have them enter a comment and then get whisked to the forum with another series of forms (i.e. login or register) to fill out).

I've been thinking hard on this trying to make this as easy and frictionless as possible for regular non-technical folk without doing the impossible... A compromise that would work is to replace the function of the first link/button at the top of the comment area in XFtoWP plugin where it normally says "Join the discussion -->" (and sends you to the entire thread) to an actual reply link/button that takes them straight to the reply box for that thread.

The way to do this is append /reply to the end of the Xenforo thread URL, i.e.

CSS:
https://forum.com/threads/this-is-a-discussion-thread.21/reply

(A better implementation would simply take you to the bottom of the thread where the reply box is but I'm not sure how to do that and haven't seen any #anchor links hooking into that area -- any ideas for that? Maybe a template mod?)

From a usability point of view I think this makes more sense and in situations where folks want to read the entire thread, they'll see the join discussion button at the bottom of the Wordpress comments area which is where they'll likely be reading it in the first place.

(I also wonder if it makes sense to also have that reply link at the very bottom of the comment box, perhaps next to the Join the Discussion one? Not sure... the very bottom is where the text entry comment box usually is)

Do I make sense? Let me know if you need clarification.

Thanks.
Ray
 
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Solari

MD customer
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Hmm, I just remembered that the old XF to WP bridge worked where you could enter a comment (as long as you were logged into Wordpress) on the Wordpress post and it would show up on the associated XF thread.

Since you are working on full XF/WP user integration I wonder if this is possible again?

Ray
 
1 Comment
R
Rush commented
Yes, that's how it worked and I think it's an essential addition, but as you say, the user syncing needs to be sorted. Having what is effectively 2 threads ongoing for the same post (one in WP and one in XF) is suboptimal.
 

Alex

MD developer
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There's some good thoughts in this thread. The current version of Thread comments was designed with the intention of enticing visitors to ultimately click through and read the full thread discussion to the forums.

Once on the forums, the idea is for the visitor to see that there is a whole forum they can join to talk about the blog article, and rely on the admin of the forum to make the registration process enticing enough for them to join.

This thought process is not bulletproof of course but for the first version of Thread comments, where the results are limited to however many replies are shown on the first page of a thread, it was easy enough to implement. But I see this feature growing and think including a comments box is definitely within the scope of what should be possible and actually will not be difficult thanks to how solid the utilities in XFtoWP are. :)

I know there are technical hurdles to making a comment box that carries their reply over to Xenforo (and it would be sneaky in a way, to have them enter a comment and then get whisked to the forum with another series of forms (i.e. login or register) to fill out).

My biggest unknown right now is how XenForo's relatively new "Writing before registering" feature would work here. If that feature listens to unregistered API comments, I think an XFtoWP comments reply box could greatly boost forum registrations according to the psychology behind the feature's design.

In my testing I have found it easy to post replies as a Guest user, but I don't think it would be ideal to allow anybody who fills out a WordPress comment form to have free reign to post over the API, so it would have to be designed to not allow unregistered user's comments to go through. This is definitely something I will be thinking about once the time comes to bring some updates to the beloved Thread comments system!

I've been thinking hard on this trying to make this as easy and frictionless as possible for regular non-technical folk without doing the impossible... A compromise that would work is to replace the function of the first link/button at the top of the comment area in XFtoWP plugin where it normally says "Join the discussion -->" (and sends you to the entire thread) to an actual reply link/button that takes them straight to the reply box for that thread.
This is a solid compromise that would just require an editable string to change the URL to https://domain/com/threads/xxx/reply/. I'll think a bit more about it and sneak it into the final 1.2 release if all makes sense.
 
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Rush

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On the simple bridge we have, which simply checks the user is logged in and has their copied Sen account in the WP user db, we used the addon Login with Ajax.

It works as follows:

On the WP comment form, if the user is not logged in, it shows the Login with Ajax login box where the reply comment box would be if they were logged in. If they are logged in, it simply shows the WP reply comment box.

When they login via Login with Ajax under the comments, it's checking for the user in the WP user database because that user has already been copied over from the Xenforo user DB into the WP one. What this essentially means is that everything is working from the WP side.

When we were on Vbulletin we also used a bridge which was actually excellent. It allowed us to not only check if the user was logged in, but it also checked for their usergroup which meant we could disable ads for premium members who had subscribed through Vbulletin. We could do all kinds of stuff in the templates based on that.

Just some things to think about as far as usability is concerned.

Regarding encouraging people into forums, well that depends on the site. What we have found is that there's a tight forum community, some of which stay in the forums, and then there are the visitors that come for the news/articles who don't want to spend time in the forums but would like to comment on news and articles.

XFtoWP could cater to both these audiences and encourage community growth in that the news is going into a forum for the forum users and also onto the WP side for the non-forum users. What's common between these groups is they are happy to register an account on the site to comment or take part in threads and XFtoWP is one way to bring the two together without them knowing it. This encourages reluctant forum users to get more involved without them having to make too much of an effort. it's a win/win.
 
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Alex

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Useful stuff here, Rush.

When they login via Login with Ajax under the comments, it's checking for the user in the WP user database because that user has already been copied over from the Xenforo user DB into the WP one. What this essentially means is that everything is working from the WP side.
This is probably how XFtoWP's implementation would work too.

When we were on Vbulletin we also used a bridge which was actually excellent. It allowed us to not only check if the user was logged in, but it also checked for their usergroup which meant we could disable ads for premium members who had subscribed through Vbulletin. We could do all kinds of stuff in the templates based on that.
That is cool, and I think you can easily develop this with XFtoWP's developer tools. In version 1.2 a simple function was introduced that shows user meta saved to the current user:

PHP:
$wp_user_id = get_current_user_id();

$wp_usermeta = xf_user_meta( $wp_user_id );

print_r( $wp_usermeta );

Which returns:

CSS:
Array
(
    [first_sync] => 2021-05-28 00:00:00
    [last_sync] => 2021-05-28 00:00:00
    [users] => Array
        (
            [898] => Array
                (
                    [xf_secondary_group_ids] => Array
                        (
                            [21] => 1
                        )

                    [xf_user_id] => XXX
                    [xf_username] => XFusername
                    [xf_wp_email] => xfuseremail@domain.com
                )

        )

    [main_account] => 898
)

So you have all of the connection info about any given user available throughout WordPress to make any special template mods required for ads, and any other custom system.
 
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Solari

MD customer
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Excellent points, @Rush - you very well encapsulated what I was trying to detail, esp this part:

XFtoWP could cater to both these audiences and encourage community growth in that the news is going into a forum for the forum users and also onto the WP side for the non-forum users. What's common between these groups is they are happy to register an account on the site to comment or take part in threads and XFtoWP is one way to bring the two together without them knowing it. This encourages reluctant forum users to get more involved without them having to make too much of an effort. it's a win/win.

Glad to see you are open to it, @Alex!
 
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