Features / Usability

Features / Usability

Forum posts in wiki pages

posts: 7

We're in the process of evaluating software for a hobby community site and I looked at TikiWiki now again, but have not used it yet.
One feature is requested and I don't see from the docs if it's supported:
Forum post in a wiki page.

Background is that forum discussions often get lengthy, over weeks or month, filled mainly with smalltalk - but some pearls in between. Now an editor might write a wiki page that aggregates the most interesting results or remarks from a forum discussion.
Traditionally one would either copy-n-paste the respective forum message or insert a link to the forum post or thread in the wiki page.

Now with a more integrated system like TikiWiki we figure a way to refer a forum post in a wiki page so that the reader of the wiki page:
- sees the title, author and a short abstract (like first 20 words) of a post,
formatted in some extra color, or indented etc
- may open the complete post by clicking on '+' or 'show full' etc
- may follow a link "open forum thread"
- Backtrack (kinda): The forum post gets an automatic link "Wiki-documented"

The editor of the wiki page would need some way to select from (all) forum threads, or from a list of posts he had marked in some way before.

Does this feature or some similar functionality exist in TikiWiki?
If not, could it be realized with the supplied means (i.e. not programming everything from scratch)?

posts: 257 United States

In Tiki 5 I've been able to add Comments directly on a wiki page which kind of makes it's own little "forum" for the page. Our content contributors can go into the comments and pull out the best ideas to incorporate into the wiki part of the page. We use this to improve the content of our pages without actually opening it wide for just any Bozo to wiki.

Comments and the wiki page can/do show author and title, though I'm not sure you can pick off the first 20 words and have a "more" link.

Not sure about a backtrack, maybe it's not needed if the "forum" is on the page. I don't think the forum can live independently elsewhere on the site as it's not really a Tiki Forum but a comments section of the wiki page. I could be wrong about that. I'm wrong about all sort of stuff -jut ask my wife!

Admins can trash the small talk out of the comments if they feel the need. Our site is political and educational in nature and we don't need the opposition trashing it up just to get their ya yas out.

Also, for what it's worth, you can attach documents to a wiki page.

posts: 7

Thanks for your ideas, Unclegeo.
Comments on a wiki page is something we considered already, it's also offered by others like Dokuwiki, and makes sense at various places.

But in this case there's no alternative to a "real" forum, the community likes to chatter, without which we wouldn't get any pearls, I'm afraid. And this means that we allow forum threads to become long and possibly confusing, without interfering.
And harddisk space is not that costly.

So I understand correctly - TikiWiki has no means of "internal links" or "citations" or something similar from the forum content to wiki content?

posts: 289 United States

I believe you can permit voting/rating of forum posts if you want some way for "top posts" to filter to the top. There are various modules that can be included in Wiki pages pertaining to forums but for the most part they are a little more generic than you require (by the sounds of things). That is to say that they are generated from overall activity rather than some kind of user flagged activity. I don't know if there's a module that displays the highest rated posts since I've never used the feature.

It sounds like something might be possible in Tiki to kind of do what you want it to do but it won't be exactly what you want. In general, Tiki is very powerful which is both a blessing and a curse, but I'm predominantly definitely on the blessing side. :-) Good luck!

posts: 7

Let me make it more clear:
The author of the wiki page will likely have his own criteria why he considers a post important.
For example in a forum "motorbike maintenance" there often appear reports about which sealant to use. So one user decides to write a wiki page "sealant how-to" - then he just wants to select the posts to show based on this aspect, not on community ranking.

There might be no "cool" interface for the wiki page editor in the first place, he might cope with a syntax like:
that inserts this post's text in a wiki page, or some kind of "macro".

posts: 289 United States

Sorry for the confusion.

The syntax is simply:
[ url | display text ]
(single square brackets. Spaces between both brackets and the pipe symbol are not necessary, used here only for clarity)

The markup is the same as an external link, there's no internal link for Wiki-to-Forum, only Wiki-to-Wiki (which uses ((MyWikiPage)), double parentheses).

Here's an actual example:
[tiki-view_forum_thread.php?forumId=4&comments_parentId=38633&comments_per_page=1&thread_style=commentStyle_threaded|Re: Re: Forum posts in Wiki pages]

Results in:
Re: Re: Forum posts in Wiki pages

Which links to your post that I'm replying to, and the link is obtained by hovering over the title of your post, right clicking and choosing "copy link location" in your browser.

Note that the full domain isn't necessary, you can just link to the tiki page: tiki_view-forum.php but you'll need the correct parameters to denote the forum and post (which you'll get if you copy the link location).

Does this more accurately answer your question?

posts: 7

Thanks, but that's not what we're looking for - as I wrote in the first message: "Traditionally one would .. insert a link to the forum post".

A link means the forum opens in another window, and shows you tons of buttons and functions you don't need.

Instead, we want the text of the post to appear directly on the wiki page, some kind of
(include forum-id)

posts: 289 United States

I'm sorry, I must be brain-dead today. I've been sick, I think it must have affected my powers of communication and reading. redface

Unfortunately, I don't know of any forum-to-wiki transclusion functionality. It might be possible with a plugin but I don't know of one off-hand.

Update: There is an include plugin but it only works for Wiki pages. sad

posts: 4642 Japan

Specific functionality like you are asking about generally gets coded when someone with the coding skills implements and contributes it, or someone who has the need but not the skills arranges with someone with the skills to do it. A quick way to display a forum post's text in a wiki page hasn't come up before, as far as I know, so there's no off-the-shelf way to do it currently in Tiki that I know of.

This is just the thing that Tiki's wiki plugins are made for, but one hasn't been made for this specific function, at least for distribution. Probably it wouldn't be too hard to adapt an existing plugin to do this, but most of the active Tiki devs are pretty busy already, so either a compelling case for general usability/need would have to be made, or else it'd be a pay-a-consultant kind of thing, seems to me.

-- Gary

posts: 7

Understood, I just saw TikiWiki as the first candidate for such functionality, as it already integrates Wiki and Forum in one package.
We'll look out for this feature in other offerings.

posts: 289 United States
I'd be very intrigued to know if you find it. While it's undoubtedly a useful feature, I haven't heard of it before in any software offering, which is in some ways surprising. Having said that, I haven't had a need for this particular feature yet.

posts: 4642 Japan

The Drupal custom flags seem to be a flexible tagging system, to enable marking objects; it appears to produce a list of flagged items, kind of like categories or folksonomy tags. If this impression is correct, there's still a fair amount of coding needed to retrieve the post content of a flagged item and display it in the wiki page. That, actually, is the same work that would be needed to code "wikiplugin_forumpost.php" in Tiki so, the coding work being equal (assuming Drupal has the equivalent of Tiki's wiki plugin infrastructure, which I'm not aware of if it does), I guess the question comes down to whether Drupal or Tiki (or something else) would be a better fit for the site overall and, again (the main problem to begin with), how to get the needed coding done.

-- Gary

posts: 7

Well, at least "..make a view of the flagged comments" _sounds_ a bit easier than coding a plugin.
Actually I've done quite some PHP coding, so I'm not afraid of that. But here we're looking for a conpetual solution, and Drupal might offer this; but it's also a certain learning curve it seems.
Further report follows.

posts: 289 United States

A CMS without a learning curve I'd like to see. ;)

Gary is right though, you really have to evaluate what your site needs, what each candidate software provides and how well those two things mesh. Obviously we'd like you to use Tiki but I accept that it's not for everybody.

The general comment against Drupal is that many of it's features are not "core" features. For example there are at least half a dozen forum plugins/modules (whatever the correct terminology is) for Drupal AFAIK. If this "flag forum posts" only works with one forum, then you're tied to that particular forum plugin. In other words there might not be the apparent freedom of choice as first appears. It's all pros and cons though, careful and honest evaluation is needed based on your specific needs.