The feature list of the next milestone release of WordPress, currently scheduled for early November of this year, was released a few days ago, and several blogs have already covered the announcement. One thing that caught my attention was its focus on comments. Comments on weblogs has always been one of the best ways to create a discussion and receive feedback on your writings. With WordPress 2.7, we might see more attention paid to comments than ever before.
The biggest comment-related feature was a new Comments API. Developers will now be able to create desktop clients for managing comments on your weblog. That means that in the future, you’ll be able to moderate, edit, delete, spam, and reply to comments straight from your desktop. In my mind, this opens up a huge window of opportunities.
With the comment API comes keyboard shortcuts to perform the default actions on comments. Key combinations like Ctrl+A and Ctrl+S will let you quickly approve and spam comments. It is unclear whether this will be browser-based, included with the API, or both.
Subscriptions and Threading
I wrote a post back in April that listed 30 things I thought should be changed or included with WordPress 2.6. Not many of them made it into the 2.6 release, but at least two features pertaining to the comment system were added.
One feature, item number 27 on my list, was comment subscriptions. In my mind, I thought this should be a feature that’s included with WordPress and shouldn’t rely on a plugin to do so. Thankfully, the WordPress team decided to build this feature right into the next major release.
The other addition, which I listed as number 28, was comment threading – or, in other words, comment replies. Not all weblogs may need it, but it’s helpful to be able to reply directly to a comment and visually display the relationship rather than using “@username” or another technique to show you’re replying to someone.
Admin Panel Replies
And you thought that was it. There’s still one more upgrade to the commenting system planned for 2.7, and that’s easy admin replying for comments. Using the new threading system as mentioned above, site administrators will be able to reply to comments directly from the admin area, making it even easier to manage comments on your weblog.
It is obvious that users have been asking for more depth in the comment system. Features like easy moderation, built-in threading and subscriptions, and easy replying all contribute to the discussion on your blog. Hopefully these new additions will encourage more community discussion and participation on your blog.