Achilles’ Heel of the Syndication Bus

Image of a broken heelIn a recent post about the development towards a syndication bus using WordPress Multi-User, Steven Egan brought up an excellent issue that for me remains the Achilles’ Heel for this setup: how can we syndicate comments along with posts?

Thing is when you use a tool like FeedWordPress to syndicate posts, what you cannot syndicate is comments, and while the permalink points back to the original post where the comments should be seen, there is no way to indicate on the syndicated post just how many comments there are, or reflect the recent ones in the sidebar somehow.

Steven says this in his comment on the issue:

It would be interesting to take the republishing thing and include the comments at a single location. Basically the comments happening at the original blog, rather than having it happen on multiple blogs. Even if it is just pointing to the place to join in the conversation.

What I would like is the ability for the comments to be reflected in both spaces, so that the permalink can point to the post on the course aggregation blog, for example, but once someone leave a comment there, that same comment is automatically re-published on the original post. Now this, for me, would make the whole thing perfect.

But at this point I would even settle for a little number on each post in the aggregation blog that would dynamically reflect how many comments are on the original post. Yet, this wouldn’t answer the questions of how to show recent comments in the sidebar of the aggregation blog. I’m using a workaround for this currently on UMW Blogs which basically takes all the comment feeds for the individual student blogs for a course and creates one aggregated feed of them in the sidebar (I do this BDP RSS). But this is not only laborious, but it is also far from perfect because if a student uses their blog for a variety of different classes or reasons, then comments that are not relevant to course will show up.

So, anyway, I was just recognizing a weakness in this model and wondering if there is a better way to deal with the aggregation of comments for a syndication bus like the one we are thinking through.

Image credit: Otbayley’s “Left Leg: Broken Heel Bone and Detached Achilles’ Tendon”

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