The first in quite possibly a series of plugins I’ll be reviewing for the WLTC competition in order to get a better handle on them when judging is the Act As Group plugin. Act as a group enables communication to happen on the backend which is useful specifically for multi-author blogs. Once installed, the first group is automatically created by the act as group plugin with the admin marked as the founder. Also, a new navigation menu is added the left hand side called Groups. I’ll note that the plugin author did a good job using an icon that matches the rest of the icon scheme very well.
For my test install, I created a dummy account attached to the Subscriber role. Upon logging into the backend, Subscribers also see the new menu for Groups with the option to see the messages published, join the group, or manage. As a subscriber, you can even create your own groups which off the top of my head, I’m not sure is a good thing.
You can either create a closed or open group. Closed just means the membership has to be approved by an admin member. In order to check for new messages, you have to drop down the Groups menu and select messages. I would have liked to have seen a dashboard widget for this. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing a number show up in the groups menu header like the plugins that told me how many new messages there were so I wouldn’t have to manually check. As for the message area itself:
It works in much the same was as P2. When you hover over a message, there is a reply link that automatically adds @person you’re replying to in the message. On the right hand side, the username of who published the messages along with the time since it was posted is also shown.
All in all, not a bad plugin. I’m sure multi blog authors can find a use for this but it might be more of a hassle considering the different roles that have access to create groups. As I mentioned earlier, a visual way of seeing new messages along with a dashboard widget would have been the extra touch.