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Keeping Tabs on Comments in Multiple Author Blogs (MovableType)

With exceptions of newer systems (yes, Drupal fans, that is you), many blog software packages are designed from the perspective of single author weblogs, but with some digging you can expand their functionality for multi-author sites.

We’ve recently released the Low Threshold Applications (LTA) site, recast as a blog from a once manually edited HTML site. To make the index of LTAs by author work, we had to assign the blog entries to accounts for the people that wrote the content (we are doing all the blog posting from content written by others). One limitation of MovableType is I can give author credit to only one person, so posts with multiple authors needed some under the hood tinkering to add new database tables and use PHP/mySQl query to pull out entries by “co-authors”.

This also means that comments posted to an entry go to the actual author (a good thing), but how do I, as a site owner monitor that traffic? (just in case the spam roaches sneak in– I can feel their antennae and little feet scurrying outside the moat).

At first I thought about altering the MT comment scipts to add my address asa BCC header to all email (ugh, more email). I think they way to do this is to edit the /lib/MT/App/Comments.pm file, around lime 216, from:

to

but the thought of more email was not enticing. (BTW, I never tested the above code, just guessing).

A simpler approach was to create an RSS feed to the comments that could be subscribed to, in this case:
http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/lta/comments.xml

it’s really just a new archive, with some cut and paste / minor editing from the full blog RSS feed (see some details), but at least it offers a scan across a mutli-authored blog what is being said. And once created as a feed, it can be embedded into content page:

http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/lta/comments.php

Sure MovableType may be showing some signs of age, but it is still an open enough tool set to tinker with, once you get beyond what comes with the box.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.