Calling all Forum Beta Testers

Great News: I’ve been meaning to add a general WordPress forum to this site for a while, but none of the options seemed to work well for what I wanted to do.

All I needed was a simple discussion forum, integrated into WordPress – I really didn’t want to mess around with phpBB or the likes. bbPress is in a constant state of beta and gives me a headache every time I want to make it work, SimplePress is ugly and basically all of the above are overcomplicated.

Enter Tal.ki – an embeddable forum solution that promises to give me a forum with only one line of code, or alternatively as a WordPress Plugin! It’s not live on this site – let’s test it out!

What is Tal.ki?

First of all, Tal.ki is a hosted forum solution so you won’t have to install anything on your site. It can work as a standalone website, or be integrated into an existing website (such as WordPress). The beauty is that all kinds of integration nightmares a la bbPress are necessary. Just activate the Tal.ki plugin (or embed the code they give you into any page or post) and you’ve got yourself a forum.

Tal.ki accepts plenty of login options so there’s no need to authenticate your members: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress.com, OpenID, Yahoo, Google or even your own self-hosted WordPress site will be enough to recognise who’s posting. And that’s not a full list of login options either!

Since Tal.ki is a hosted forum, you can embed the same forum on more than one website if you’re using standalone code (this won’t work with the WordPress plugin as that’s tied to the website it’s activated on). In my case that’s a superb idea as I have more than one site dedicated to the same topic: wpguru.co.uk and wphosting.tv – but both audiences would benefit from the same topics.

My servers are very happy about not having to take extra load either, which makes Tal.ki such a lightweight option to add to any website. At the same time, Tal.ki is clever enough to read the existing stylesheet of your Theme and use the same fonts and colours so it looks like it’s part of our site. Now THAT’S clever!

Features

There are two versions available: one is completely free, the other one is only $50 per year. The main difference is that the free version only displays 15 topics and 5 sub forums on display. The Pro version adds a search option as well as image uploads (yes IMAGE UPLOADS) to the mix, as well as posts only visible to logged in members.

There appears to be a level above this but I’m not sure how one would sign up for it or how much it costs – I am interested though, if anyone has information about the Platinum package please let me know!

As with other comment systems you get notified via email when someone replies to your topic – however there’s a snag to this with Tal.ki: the link you’re sent takes you to the standalone forum rather than the embedded version on your website… not good! NO sidebar, no branding, no context. But then, maybe it’s me not having configured it properly.

Tal.ki embedded on this site

Testing Testing

At this stage I’d like to test how well it could work for me – so please start posting in the forum, lets see how this can work. I’m using the Pro version.

Any comments – below or in the forum – would be much appreciated.

Jay is the CEO and founder of WP Hosting, a boutique style managed WordPress hosting and support service. He has been working with Plesk since version 9 and is a qualified Parallels Automation Professional. In his spare time he likes to develop iOS apps and WordPress plugins, or draw on tablet devices. He blogs about his coding journey at http://wpguru.co.uk and http://pinkstone.co.uk.

8 thoughts on “Calling all Forum Beta Testers

  1. Looks like I found something that isn’t as smooth as it could be:

    Even though I love the fact that it’s really easy to sign in with so many options, you could end up with multiple profiles while doing so. Say the first time you want to login you do so using Facebook, but when you come back you sign in with Twitter. Tal.ki now sees you as a separate user – and creates a new profile for you. Yikes!

    In order to avoid that make sure you REMEMBER your favourite signup option and always use that. Any other issues, please let me know in the Forum Issues section at https://wpguru.co.uk/forum

  2. Thanks to everyone who’s been providing feedback over the last couple of months. I’m afraid the forum doesn’t work very well for me, so I’ve decided to close it down.

    I like the open concept that everyone can ask a question which is not related to any of my articles, but I don’t like the way it’s executed by Tal.ki. For example, I never get to find out if there’s a new post – which sucks. There are many other points that don’t quite do it for me.

    I’m not sure what I’ll replace this forum with, sadly every solution I looked into didn’t cut the mustard. Maybe it’ll just be comments on posts like it used to be. Tal.ki is a nice idea, but really only a concept. They’re not developing this product anymore, or too slow – and for that reason, I’m out.

  3. too bad this doesn’t work well. But is it possible to embed the forum on a wordpress.com blog? or only in a wordpress.org?

    Because I’m looking for something very simple like in this internet site here: http://www.iphoneography.com/discussion-board/
    That’s what I need, I don’t want to have an external forum. Is there a way to do it on a wordpress.com blog that you know?

    Thanks

    1. Hi David,

      Tal.ki is such a wonderful idea, and it’s the simplicity that really attracted me. Everything works and you don’t have to worry about installing anything or tweaking your theme, really good.

      The only drawback for me is that if a new forum post is left by a user, I don’t get to find out about it unless I check manually. I get an email if there’s a comment on an existing post, but not on a new one.

      If you can live with that, go for it – if you want to put it into a WordPress.com blog then the standalone version is for you. It’s just one line of JavaScript code – sometimes this works on WordPress.com, sometimes it does not – they’re eager not to let you execute your own code for system security. It’s free to use, try it out and let me know if it works for you.

      For self-hosted installations, the Tal.ki plugin does it all for you: install the plugin and you’ve got a forum. It’s super easy.

      I’ve even read about a workaround for the new posts notifications: I believe they’re working on it, and in the meantime they reckon you can use an RSS feed reader to check your forum feed and let that send you notifications. I’ve not tired this though.

  4. Hi Jay,

    Sorry I didn’t answer before but I haven’t received any email notification , probably I haven’t checked the spam folder well.

    By the way, I haven’t created one yet because I’m not sure if it’s working on wp.com. I’m not an expert, is it an iframe code? Usually in wp.com they allow only few external codes from the company they know and they want to. Not so many unfortunately. And there no way to use any external plugin.

    There was a link on tal.ki about it but it’s broken and it seems there are not so many answers in the support forum as well. I have the feeling to open something that will be shut down soon, or with no help at all. Even the most of their examples are broken :S

  5. I use WP Symposium for my community needs. It’s easy to set up and also allows members to have their own profile page. It does cost $39 a year but it’s being updated constantly and the developer takes on new ideas. Well worth looking into

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