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4.0 - Comments and Reviews

Almost all of our applications support commenting or reviewing to some degree. You can comment on events in IP.Calendar, images in IP.Gallery and blog entries in IP.Blog, and you can review products in IP.Nexus, for instance. The differences between reviewing and commenting are subtle, yet important. Commenting allows you to say something about a content item that has been contributed, while reviewing is intended to allow you to give feedback about the item based on your experience. You should not be able to review something you have not seen or used, for instance, and you should only be able to review it once.

We have worked on developing these concepts further for 4.0, and bringing both capabilities easily to all applications in the suite.


Comments

Any application in the 4.0 suite can support commenting easily. From a development perspective, you need only create a content comment class that extends IPSContentComment (and define a few methods in this class, such as how to generate the URL to the comment), and then in your main content item class you specify this new content comment class in a specific property. For example, with IP.Downloads we have the following in the content item class

    /**
     * @brief    Comment Class
     */
    public static $commentClass = 'IPSdownloadsFileComment';


And then there is, as you would expect, a commenting class found at IPSdownloadsFileComment which extends IPSContentComment. This comment class defines a few properties, and then defines a single url() method (which must return the URL to the comment). Almost everything else is handled automatically by the suite.

Otherwise, comments work largely similar to the way they work in 3.x. Moderators can edit, hide, approve and delete comments. You can allow certain users to reply to locked content (e.g. to leave a comment on something that is locked), but otherwise locked content cannot be commented on. You can use multi-moderation on comments and you can quote and multi-quote comments. All of the functionality you would expect to see is still present.




Reviews

There are only a few primary differences between reviews and comments.

  • You may only leave a single review on a content item. Once you have left a review, you will not be able to leave another.
  • When leaving a review, you are presented with a 5-star panel from which you should select your star rating.
  • Some applications may further restrict your ability to leave a review. For instance, there is an option in IP.Downloads to only allow users who have downloaded a file to leave a review.


As of the 4.0 Community Suite, any application can now support reviews just as easy as commenting. Further, as a developer you can support both simultaneously (and, typically, the administrator can disable one or both systems if they choose). Reviews work almost the same as comments from an implementation perspective. You create a review content comment class, and you define a specific property in the content item class. For IP.Downloads you will see this in the content item class

    /**
     * @brief    Review Class
     */
    public static $reviewClass = 'IPSdownloadsFileReview';


And then you will find a review class at IPSdownloadsFileReview, which extends IPSContentReview (which in turn actually extends IPSContentComment). The review class for IP.Downloads, just like the commenting class, only contains a single method to define how to generate the URL, as well as a few required properties.


When reviews are left and a star rating is applied, this rating is averaged and applied to the content item. A content item could in theory support both the traditional star rating system (like you might see in IP.Downloads or even in IP.Board in the 3.x product line) and reviews at a technical level, however it is recommended to prevent confusion that you either use the traditional rating system OR reviews, but not both simultaneously. Most applications in 4.0 that support reviews will not support the traditional rating system as a result.



You will note in this screenshot that because I have not yet downloaded the file (which is an optional reviews-related restriction in IP.Downloads) that I am unable to review the file at present. When a user does not have permission to do something, the 4.0 community suite makes every effort to clearly indicate why the user is unable to accomplish a given task.

Other users reading a review can determine if they found the review helpful or not (although you are unable to specify this on your own reviews of course), and these yes/no votes are subsequently tallied in order to allow users to sort reviews by "most helpful" per the sorting buttons at the top right of the above screenshot.




Wrapping up

Applications are capable of displaying either reviews or comments (or both) in any manner they wish, however you will find that most applications in the 4.0 suite that support reviews and/or comments will display them in a fashion similar to the above screenshots (noting all the typical "these are early screenshots and the final product may appear different" disclaimers). By supporting both of these similar yet slightly different functionalities out of the box, we believe our first party applications as well as third party applications by our talented development community can really shine and allow end users to interact with the community in logical and focused ways. We hope these changes allow you to set up your own community to cater to your users in the manner best suited to your community.

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Is it possible to have the system that by default uses comments, to start a topic in a specific forum instead? (If Board is installed, of course)

 

If it created a topic it would use the same title as the content item and the comments would be displayed in the same way beneath the content item. 

 

But the comments would instead be posted as replies to the topic in the specific forum and the comments would be grabbed from the posts-table instead. 

 

The first post in the topic created would contain a link back to content being commented. 

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Is it possible to have the system that by default uses comments, to start a topic in a specific forum instead? (If Board is installed, of course)

 

If it created a topic it would use the same title as the content item and the comments would be displayed in the same way beneath the content item. 

 

But the comments would instead be posted as replies to the topic in the specific forum and the comments would be grabbed from the posts-table instead. 

 

The first post in the topic created would contain a link back to content being commented. 

 

Where it makes sense that's a feature. Like in IP.Downloads you can disable the comment system and instead create a linked forum topic.

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Please please please apply "review" system into IPB (forum system) too :tongue:

Not only for downloads!

 

It would be great if the forumies could review about something.

 

What would you "review" in a discussion? Wouldn't your "review" of a discussion just be ... a reply? :smile:

 

Reviews make sense for items that are top-level content (files, images, packages, etc.) but certainly not for a discussion.

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Where it makes sense that's a feature. Like in IP.Downloads you can disable the comment system and instead create a linked forum topic.

 

I hope this will be possible somehow in IPB 4. Here is the scenario:

 

You for example write a news article in IP.content about a game. you post another news bit about the same game, and another some time after that. AND when people comment on these three separate news articles their comments should go to the ONE and the same topic as replies. It should be possible to add a topic ID or something where comments should go as replies. if left blank - then its all as default.

 

and if comments get moderated or deleted either from the topic or comment view - the same changes should happen in another place as well. Am I making any sense here?

 

this would benefit those communities which post about various news about the same thing and want to maintain one topic for easier moderation of all the comments/replies.

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Is it possible to disable/enable reviews on a per-item basis? And delegate that toggle to the content creator?

 

My use case is that some users may not want reviews, and some may... being able to turn it on or off for a given content item would meet this need.

 

If this isn't supported OOTB, well... rough idea of how hard the hook/customization would be?

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Cool stuff. I've got a couple questions about it.

1) Are reviews and comments stored in separate tables? Or is there a flag to say which is which?

2) Can you reply to a review?

3) Say a new version is released and you want to update your review. Will reviews be ordered based on last updated date?

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Where it makes sense that's a feature. Like in IP.Downloads you can disable the comment system and instead create a linked forum topic.

The big question is who decides "Where that makes sense" :). For example, is it going to be possible to have gallery image/album discussions in the forum I wonder?  

To me it makes a LOT of sense to organize the site on topic focused lines and use the different apps for what they are best at, and the Forums are the app of choice for discussions.  So if you post an album of images in the "Kitchens" section of the gallery, I'd GREATLY prefer that discussion about it occurs in the "Kitchens" forum where all the other Kitchen design folks hang out.  It brings more discussions into the mix and increases the interaction in the community.  Leaving comments/reviews all in the individual app space fragments the community interaction, and buries great discussions in little backwaters of the site where a lot of the core community never see/interact with it.

 

We LOVE the fact that you can already link IP.Downloads and IP.Content categories to admin specified forums, and we're really hoping that there will be more such flexibility goodness to come in 4.0!  Love the frequent blog updates this week... It's the first place I go online every morning!

 

James

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I think a general reviews for like shows and Movies would be nice will this work with that?

Should be perfect for it from what's been said.  I'd probably build the Shows and Movies as an IP.C database with different categories and then turn on "Reviews" for that database/categories.  

 

I'm assuming that it's implemented at the category level as that would be comparable to individual forums etc?

 

James

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Cool stuff. I've got a couple questions about it.

1) Are reviews and comments stored in separate tables? Or is there a flag to say which is which?

2) Can you reply to a review?

3) Say a new version is released and you want to update your review. Will reviews be ordered based on last updated date?

 2 and 3 are in the blog entry :)

 

 

The big question is who decides "Where that makes sense" :smile:. For example, is it going to be possible to have gallery image/album discussions in the forum I wonder?  

To me it makes a LOT of sense to organize the site on topic focused lines and use the different apps for what they are best at, and the Forums are the app of choice for discussions.  So if you post an album of images in the "Kitchens" section of the gallery, I'd GREATLY prefer that discussion about it occurs in the "Kitchens" forum where all the other Kitchen design folks hang out.  It brings more discussions into the mix and increases the interaction in the community.  Leaving comments/reviews all in the individual app space fragments the community interaction, and buries great discussions in little backwaters of the site where a lot of the core community never see/interact with it.

 

We LOVE the fact that you can already link IP.Downloads and IP.Content categories to admin specified forums, and we're really hoping that there will be more such flexibility goodness to come in 4.0!  Love the frequent blog updates this week... It's the first place I go online every morning!

 

James

I'm the decider ™.

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Just took another look at that last screenshot, shouldn't the text say "report review" instead of "report post" which is quite generic? :tongue:

 

 

P.S.: For whoever didn't notice it the last screenshot includes also a link to view the edits history :sorcerer:  Not sure if it's only date/name or if it also shows the previous content though. Any word on that Charles? :P

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