Comments on objects

Enabling users to comment on object records is a fairly obvious idea, and one that many museums do already. We certainly get asked for it all the time.

The technical issue that we had with TMP is that although collections records feel very much a part of WordPress (and a core part of our TMP approach is to make editing and narrative writing work seamlessly as if they are), they aren’t really. Yes, you get a nice permalink, yes, it feels and works “just like WordPress” – but one of the reasons we can handle anything from 100 to 100,000,000 records (and do it at speed!) is that we don’t bring in records into WordPress itself.

This is all well and good, but it means that there isn’t a natural way to approach this, technically, when we come to thinking about comments and WordPress’ excellent native comment / spam / moderation workflow.

Enter…Ghost Comments

The answer? A new TMP plugin which creates a “ghost” comment for every one submitted on an object record. For those who are technically minded, what we basically do is boot up a new “ghost” custom post type and have code which creates a new post in this post type when a new object comment is received. This post type is never seen on the dashboard, and never navigated to by anyone – but it allows us to hook “normal” WordPress comments straight on to all object records on the site.

When a comment is submitted, it arrives as a “normal” WordPress comment, sends notifications as usual, and is subject to the standard WordPress commenting workflow. Hurrah.

One of the major benefits of this – and on our roadmap for a future release quite soon – is that we will be able to extend these comment fields and functionality in significant and exciting ways relatively easily, enabling whatever extra fields a client asks for – so “upload your memory” or “tag this object” functionality will relatively easy for us to develop in the coming weeks and months.

Finally – as this functionality develops we’re also putting in place the fields and API calls necessary to make this comment contents via API so ultimately we can (if need be!) push it back up into the CIIM. This means we put ourselves in the position of being able to deliver augmented UGC back up into any organisation for them to review and use (or discard!) with their collections records.

All very exciting stuff!