Basic Comment Quicktags Plugin

Basic Comment QuicktagsThere are very few instances when I’m browsing WPTavern.com without being logged in as an administrator. Turns out, I should do that more often as I discovered that my Comment Quicktags Reloaded plugin was broken. I’ve used Comment Quicktags Reloaded since launching WPTavern.com because I believe that comment forms are a lot like forum threads. Users should have the ability to bold words and use other tags while composing their comment, similar to how you would write a reply in a forum thread. CQR was developed by Owen Winkler who was an early WordPress enthusiast but has since gone on to be a part of The Habari Project. While the supported version of WordPress only went up to 2.2, the plugin continued to work way past that into the 3.0 branch. Thus began my search for an alternative.

This brings me to the Basic Comment Quicktags plugin authored by Mika Epstein (Ipstenu) and Marcdk This plugin is very straight forward. Simply install it, turn it on via a checkbox in the Discussions page of WordPress and watch as the Bold, Italic, Link and Quote buttons appear above the comment form. If you’re wondering why more tags were not added, Mika explains:

After careful consideration, and a long review of my users, those are the only ones they ever use! If you have a reasonable argument why I should add in others, I’ll listen.

While I don’t use bbPress just yet, I’m happy to report that Basic Comment Quicktags does have bbPress support built-in but not BuddyPress. While writing this article, I began to wonder why WordPress doesn’t ship with these tags above the comment form out of the box? I don’t have the answer but I did discover that the next best thing is knowing that a Quicktags API was created and then added to WordPress 3.3. I think that this type of functionality should be part of every theme by default. I mean, why not? Shouldn’t users be able to easily compose comments with some of the bells and whistles that post authors have in the back-end of WordPress?

But then, we run into the issue of whether it should be a theme option, or a stand alone plugin? Using a plugin, themes can be replaced without any loss of quicktag functionality. If it’s built into the theme, then when the theme goes, so do the quicktags. That’s a topic for debate but it’s nice to know that this type of simple functionality is built right into core so nobody has to worry about depending on one particular Quicktag plugin anymore.

9 Comments


  1. I have to admit, it’s 100% lazy that I haven’t sat down to figure out how to do this with Buddypress yet. At the time I wrote it, I’d stopped supporting a BP site, so I had not drive pushing me. If anyone’s got the code for it, patches are always welcome.

    https://github.com/Ipstenu/basic-comment-quicktags if you’re into Git.

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  2. I consider this unneeded bloat. Many sites won’t want quick tags, and those that do will want to implement them in their own way. This seems like plugin territory to me.

    I use Mika’s smilies plugin rather than the quicktags plugin. I’m thinking about removing it from my blog though as no one seems to use it.

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  3. @Ipstenu – I was just happy to quickly find a replacement to the plugin I’ve been using forever. It was also reassuring to find out that Quicktags API was added to WordPress and this plugin was utilizing that which gives it a little bit of future proof.

    @Ryan Hellyer – I understand where you’re coming from but if the API exists within WordPress already, as a theme author, why not tap into it? It’s in core already, it only needs to be exposed. So which part would be the unnecessary bloat, the API or the quicktags themselves?

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  4. [head bang]

    I misread what you wrote. I thought you were suggesting the WordPress should force the display of quick tags by default. Including them in themes is perfectly fine IMO.

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  5. While we’re on the subject of comments sections … I love how your comments section is so usable with the AJAX Edit Comments functionality and the quicktags. I find the Tavern is a great place to comment, partly because you actually converse in the comments, but also because of the technical setup you have here.

    However, it would be even better IMO if you had nested comments so that we could properly reply to each other.

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  6. @Ryan Hellyer – Actually, Ajax Edit Comments I’ve discovered is giving me problems. For example, I don’t see the countdown timer anymore, and I’ve had to turn off the Colorbox display which is used for popups with this plugin because instead of loading the comment, it’s just a blank white screen. So right now, I’ve had to disable colorbox and while you can now edit your comment with AEC, it’s not as user-friendly as it should be. I’ll need to post on the support forums to figure out what is going on. I love AEC and there is nothing else like it, and users should be able to have the option to edit their comments.

    I used a forum as the basis of how I wanted the comments to function, minus the threaded replies because they don’t work well in this theme. But I have comment preview, AEC for editing comments, quicktags for the most basic of editing, subscribe to comments, and a special feature on WPTavern where the reply link automatically puts the comment link and author into the comment field which nobody else seems to have. Last but not least, a different color to signify the author’s comment.

    So far, everything works nicely with each other. I did have spell check with AEC but that is not working either.

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  7. @Jeffro – I’ve been pestering Ronald to fork AJAX Edit Comments into something newer and better for the past year, but I haven’t succeeded in convincing him yet.

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  8. @Jeffro – Yeah.

    What I’d love is an uber simple cut down version that literally just handled editing comments, even if it only worked with the default theme(s).

    My issue with AEC is that it always looks like AEC and it’s hard to make it blend in seamlessly to the site. Something simpler and without all the bells and whistles should be a lot easier to integrate and have look nice, yet still have all the functionality I want.

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