Includable discussion forum in existing pages?
September 23, 2005 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find an easy, modular, includable, threaded (preferably) chat forum?

Here's what I have...I'm putting together a user-content-driven website where people will create a page. I want to keep the content management of that to be kept completely separate from the discussion of the page (ie. I don't want a solution that creates a whole site). The code of the site as it currently is, written by me, is in PHP.

I want to automatically include in that page an area below the content for people to discuss what the content creator has posted. The solution for this should exist entirely on a separate database (possibly, just on separate tables, but I'd prefer not) to the content creation. The discussion area should have access controls (username and password), whereas the content creation does not.

Each of the content pages would have their own discussion area, not one shared by all content pages.

The discussion area should be theme-able to match the look and feel of what I've already created (really, that should just be colour changes). Ideally, it would be threaded, but failing that is not horrible...I just like the way that works.

Anyone have any suggestions?

posted by Kickstart70 to Technology (5 answers total)
Best answer: I haven't yet played with it, but Vanilla is on my to-do list. It looks really clean and stripped-down forum, so possibly a bit easier to plug into an existing site. Easily style-able to match your site.
posted by misterbrandt at 4:35 PM on September 23, 2005

I'll second Vanilla. I've only done "hello world" level playing around with it, but it seems very slick so far.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 5:43 PM on September 23, 2005

You're not going to be thrilled by this response, but, if you're a PHP programmer, why not write such a system? For the precise need that you describe, I wrote a system to do this about four years ago. (It was subsequently replaced, and the hard drive on which I had that code died, so I don't have it anymore, or else I'd offer it to you.) It was fun to do, and surprisingly easy.

Authentication and basic registration shouldn't take but an hour or two, complete with password reminders. A non-threaded (ie, this one right here) discussion board is wicked easy to create -- maybe 3-4 hours, if you want to get fancy?

Unless, of course, you're going to need moderation tools, troll-tracking, bells and various whistles, in which case my "write it yourself" advice is horrible. :)
posted by waldo at 6:29 PM on September 23, 2005

Response by poster: why not write such a system?

Mostly because of time :-/ Or lack thereof. I've got all the ideas in the world, but a real lack of time to accomplish them. If I had lots of money, I'd likely pay someone to implement things for me.

Yeah, I could likely have a flat non-threaded system working in a few hours, with some form of authentication, but I was hoping someone had run into this exact problem for a drop-in forum and could suggest an easy way to save me hours.

Moderation tools...yeah, will need them. My experience (head moderator dude over at for the past 5 years) has shown me how badly things can get out of hand if there's no way to stop it. But other than that, simplicity is key.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:22 PM on September 23, 2005

I've played a little bit with Vanilla. I mean, it's running on my site right now, but not getting a lot of use. It's easy and modular (though not a lot of modules have been written), but I don't think it's threaded, so you may not have much use for it.
posted by Hildago at 1:34 PM on September 24, 2005

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