WordPress MU: Promoting Posts from User Blogs


A long point of contention with WordPress MU users is the inability to “promote” posts from the user pages to the main blog feed.  This causes a disjoint between the bloggers and the site administrators who want to share the content their users are creating.  Other content management systems have this feature built-in, but WordPress users have been trying workarounds (with little success) to allow their users to have the “15 MB of Fame” they deserve.

Working with the Students for a Free Economy, we’ve come up with a solution that works really well (and gives added benefit to the site administrators)

The one caveat with this way is that it does not import the author’s names.  I’ll address that later in the post.

You Need:

1) Google Reader Account

2) WPMU – Sitewide Feed Plugin

3) WP-O-Matic Plugin

4) WPMU installed on a host with a few user blogs already created

Let’s Roll

1) Install Sitewide Feed into the /mu-plugins/ directory.  This compiles feeds from all over your MU installation and creates a “master feed” pulling in posts as they happen from the user blogs.  Putting it into the /mu-plugins/ directory automatically activates it, so you should be good to go.

2) Visit the generated feed.  It should be something like http://www.yourdomain.com?wpmu-feed=posts if you are running a subdirectory structure.  If you are running subdomains, it’s http://www.yourdomain.com/masterfeed/ or whatever you set it to in the options.  Make sure the posts are being parsed correctly, then copy the feed url down.

3) Put the feed into your Google Reader.  This is the first step in allowing you to “promote posts”, but it also gives you a super easy way to check your user’s blogs for spam, inappropriate content, or anything else you as a site administrator need to be on the lookout for.

4) Look at your feed in Google Reader.  If it shows up OK, go ahead and share an item or two (making sure to annotate the author’s name and URL in the note).  Make sure it’s fairly recent so you can know immediately if it shows up in the master feed later.

5) Click on your “Shared Items” tab in the Reader sidebar.  It should bring up a page with only those items that you’ve shared, and a link to a public page.  Visit that link, and pull the RSS feed from the Firefox/IE toolbar (it should be long and look like this: http://www.google.com/reader/public/atom/user%2F08955600430794990750%2Fstate%2Fc…).

6) That feed is your shared items feed.  You are going to take those shared items and parse them onto your blog as promoted posts using WP-O-Matic.

OPTIONAL* 7) Create a new user (role doesn’t matter) in your main blog.  For the SFE blog we used “An SFE Blogger”, but you can call it whatever you want.  If you don’t mind it posting under your username, skip this step.

8) Install WP-O-Matic into your /plugins/ directory (you’ll have to manually activate this one) and follow the setup procedures. When you’re all set up, click “Add Campaign” to set up your newly generated shared items feed.

9) Set your options, and click Submit.

And there you have it.

To break it down in a nutshell, this method parses together all of your sites’ blog feeds, brings them into Google Reader, allows you to moderate which posts you want to show up on the front page, and then pulls them in at a timed interval.  Sure, there are other methods people have found to doing this, but the utility in this method is that you have a way to monitor your entire site from a single dashboard, while allowing your users to have their moment in the sun.