WordPress: email to comments

Finally got this working. The idea is that a pre-configured blog post is set up to receive comments via email. The option to receive SMS as comments works too. Why do this if a user can just leave a comment on the blog?

Consider an important business or organisational announcement. Oftimes the audience will watch this on niche financial TV stations or hear the announcement on the radio: essentially away from the desktop. We’re hoping the audience (analysts, investors, journalists) have a mobile device, and upon hearing the contact details, can comment there and then via email or sms (phones in this sector are still vastly incapable of watching the streaming presentation). The questions are received, relayed to the presenter and asked at the venue. Moderation is encouraged.

I did investigate microblogging for this event, however ran into the following problems with existing providers

  • can not moderate
  • can not drastically change interface
  • in corporate presentation world, names like Twitter and Jaiku are brand-detractive

You would have to roll your own, and include the phone and IM additions to be able to comment.  Next time…

 The technical details
Using WordPress’ blog to email functionality, one can just hack around the existing scripts and get the email to write a comment to a pre-configured post (eg: post ID =4). Set up (in WP) your email address, and then call your new script every now and then (cron or manual refresh). It automatically goes into the moderation queue, where you can edit and filter out all the MIME netsam (would love someone to work on this).
Voila! any user can email a comment, from webmail as well as desktop mail. You can set up SMS to send to the email address too.

I’ll get around to putting this onto Codex. Until then, ask me a question if you want to install for self. Got some ideas about SMS comments from James Saunders.

About Derek

My key interests are online investor relations, websites, social media, enterprise 2.0 and intranets, and XBRL. Speak to me if you need a solution in any of these disciplines, or follow my knowledge links on this site and others. Find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or in recent conversations.

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