The problem remains, but there’s an extra option now, in the shape of Commentariat, a customised WordPress theme we’ve developed at DIUS and been using for a couple of months now on an internal project and which we’re making freely available for anyone to use and adapt. I’ve also been helping the Power of Information Taskforce to implement it as part of the publication of their new Report.
What’s it do? Rather than make every single paragraph commentable as CommentPress (sadly still offline) does, Commentariat is about meaningful chunks and sections.
- You define a commentable chunk within a section (in WordPress terms, a post within a category)
- Chunks within a section have ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ buttons linking them together, plus a drop down menu at the top powered by the Drop Down Post List plugin, to make it easy to get between pages
- The comment form is to the side, rather than at the bottom, and floats (in modern browsers) so it’s easily accessible at all times. Comments are listed at the bottom in the conventional way
- The footer contains RSS feeds for comments on the chunk itself, all comments and all chunk content, making it easier for readers to keep track of the discussion or even grab chunks of the document to mashup in new ways. I’d recommend the excellent Subscribe to Comments plugin so commenters can get email alerts of new comments added to the thread
- There’s a print stylesheet to make the content print in a plain, simple way; and for geek appeal, it seems to work more or less OK on an iPhone