WordPress’s least used and most useful feature

One of the, or “the”, most useful and least used feature of wordpress (the software that powers this blog) is the ability to take an RSS feed (or an ATOM feed – whatever fits your fancy) of basically anything! For example, if you searched the blog for the word “blue”, you can take a feed from the results just by adding “/feed” at the end of the URL1 so that you’ll be notified whenever an article with the word “blue” in it is added.

Which is not really useful in and of itself, but one thing that is massively useful and (unfortunately) most WordPress blog owners don’t bother with is having a feed of all comments posted on the blog. In my blog you can get it by clicking the RSS icon in your browser (its the orange icon in the location bar on Firefox 2 or Internet Explorer 7, or at the bottom right corner in most other browsers), and choosing “Things n’ Stuff comments”. Once you are subscribed to the comments feed, you’ll get notified whenever someone posts comments on the blog, on whatever post. Its a great way to track who responds to your comments and posts.

Of course one can subscribe to a feed for only comments of a specific article by going to that article and choosing “Comments feed” from the RSS list.

(1) At the end of the path element of the URL, so in the above example, if the URL of the search would be http://geek.co.il/wp?s=blue then the feed would be http://geek.co.il/wp/feed?s=blue .

8 Responses to “WordPress’s least used and most useful feature”

  1. Eran:

    The question is: Is that feature available in every website and how do you make it available?
    My WordPress has a comments feed but if you click the little blue RSS icon, it doesn’t show you a choice like here. Bli Panika doesn’t even have that.

  2. Guss:

    The capability is there – check it out by adding /comments/feed to the base URL for a WordPress installation (any recent WordPress version – I’m pretty sure it works on any version more recent then 1.5). Now all you have to do is change your theme to offer it to the browser – my theme has this for header.php:

    < ?php if (is_single()): ?>
    <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Comments feed" href="< ?php echo comments_rss() ?>" />
    < ?php else : ?>
    <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="< ?php bloginfo('name'); ?> Comments" href="< ?php bloginfo('comments_rss2_url'); ?>" />
    < ?php endif; ?>

  3. Eran:

    Is that it?

  4. Guss:

    The code ? yes. The above snippet, when put inside the head tag in your template will generate a comments RSS link for your browser – all the comments in the main page, and the comments for the specific page when you look at a single post.

    But if you want an RSS for some other WordPress site that you can’t fix – just engineer the URL to do what you want and register that.

  5. Eran:

    Engineer how? I’ve tried some combinations on Bli Panika with no result.

  6. Guss:

    בלי פאניקה use the default permalink structure for WordPress (check under Admin->Options->Permalinks) and so the URL structure is a bit different. To get all the comments, add the query parameter feed=comments-rss2 to the link, for example – all the comments for category 2 would be: http://www.blipanika.co.il/?cat=2&feed=comments-rss2

  7. Eran:

    So I have to make a different feed for each category published?

  8. Guss:

    if you want – you can take out the category parameter to get all the categories.

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