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Friday, April 21st, 2006

Forward Links

At first I hated the way WordPress sent pingbacks to itself – if I put a link on a new post that referenced back to something I wrote earlier, the pingback registers itself as a comment on the original post, and takes a stab at a relevant quote from the new post to include in the comment. But after browsing the WP Support Forums, trying to figure out a way to turn this function off, I saw it tauted as a feature – the pingback notified the reader that there was more information posted, and I could see the utility in that. So I learned to live with it, stopped deleting the pingback comments, and just checked the quote so that it was no larger than it needed to be and gave a good idea of what the new post was about.

But it’s still annoying, primarily because of the way my blog and most others are formatted. My main screen, the blog home, shows the last ten posts on the first page, most recent first. As you can see, each post is formatted something like this:

Date

Title (which links to a page that shows the post, all its comments, and space to enter yours)
/ – –
{Body of Post}
– – /

Posted by Greg as {List of Categories} at {time}

{#} Comments (the number of comments and the same link)

I don’t think that’s a good arrangement, primarily because, in my experience, it takes a lot to get the casual visitor to click any link once they arrive. They are more inclined to just read the post and determine whether it contains the information they came looking for, and if it doesn’t, they leave. They don’t know that the comments might contain a link to a more recent post that has more information – as far as they know, it’s just some drongo saying “so what is the solution to the problem?”, when in actuality it might be a link to the answer they also want.

I think it’s a better approach to distinguish between when the blog pings itself back and when someone else comments or sends their own pingback or trackback. I’d call these self-pingbacks “forward links”, and although I have no desire to get into the trackback/pingback standard debate to suggest making forward links identify themselves, I think we can do something with WordPress. I have in mind something that looks like this:

Date

Title
/ – –
{Body of Post}
– – /

Posted by Greg as {List of Categories} at {time}

Updates: (or “Forward Links” or something configurable)
{Date-time} {Forward Link, showing Title} {Excerpt/Summary?}
{Date-time} {Forward Link, showing Title}

{#} Comments (not including forward links)

or the Forward Link section could look like this, relying purely on the linked post’s title:

Updates: {Forward Link}, {Forward Link}

Off the top of my head, I don’t know whether this could be achieved at the plugin or the theme level (probably both), or if it would require a core files hack. Although I think I could figure out how to do it, I just don’t have to time to do so. But it sure would be nice. I wonder if someone else has already figured it out? If someone knows of a plugin that already does this, please let me know.

UPDATE: I posted virtually this entire post in the WP Support Forums. Let’s see if we get a response!

Posted by Greg as My Website, Software at 21:40 PST

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OpenID for WordPress

Progress on the OpenID front in implementing an OID plugin, as reported by PhotoMatt. I found links to two additional projects in the comments, but the reviews aren’t encouraging. I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.0, so I know some of this won’t work for me.

I have my own OpenID profile, but so far I’ve only really been able to use it for commenting on LiveJournal. I participated in the requests for integration into WP 2.0, but the developers ruled it not widespread enough for inclusion, and wanted to see whether it would take off. So far, that doesn’t appear to be happening, but how could it if other sites/blogs aren’t accepting it?

Posted by Greg as My Website, Software at 06:07 PST

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