An Open Letter to WordPress

Old fashioned lady on typewriter

Dear WordPress

If you were to grant me three wishes, I would ask if I could have five instead. Is that ok? I tried to stick to three because wishes are generally granted in threes, but I couldn’t decide which to drop, so can we say five on this occasion? Yes? Good, thanks. Firstly, I would like to say how very happy I am overall with you – I’m truly glad that I chose WordPress as my blogging platform. These wishes are simply things that would enhance my blogging experience, and maybe the blogging experience of others too…

1. Are you sure you want to publish?

Thankfully I haven’t done it myself, but I know of many who have, and I’m always worried that I could – publish a post before it’s ready. It’s just one click to publish and it’s potentially all too easy to accidentally press ‘Publish’ instead of ‘Preview’ or ‘Save Draft’. I really think we need an ‘Are you sure?’ prompt when we hit the publish button.

2. Editing comments on other blogs

We’ve all done it – we are commenting on someone else’s blog, and the very second we hit ‘Post Comment’ we spot a typo, and we wish we had the ability to edit that comment after we’ve posted it. I’ve included this one, but with a caveat. I do think that the blog owner needs to retain editorial control of their blog – it’s fine if someone wants to immediately edit a comment they’ve just posted, but there could be issues around people going back to older posts and changing comments they’ve made without the blog owner being aware. So if this facility was brought in, I would want it to include a moderation requirement, or at least a notification so that the blog owner is aware that somebody has gone back in and changed one of their comments.

3. Control of posts in the Reader

I mainly use the WordPress Reader to look at the blogs I follow, but it can become unmanageable for those of us who follow a large number of blogs. We don’t necessarily want to read posts in the order they are published, and we don’t necessarily want to read all the posts from all the blogs we follow. Some people have said that they would like the ability to delete posts from their Reader once they have either read the post, or decided they don’t want to read it. Rather than deleting the posts, I would really like a hide/unhide option, so that when I’m scrolling down the reader I can make quick, but non-permanent, decisions about which posts I don’t want to read right then, and to hide the ones I’ve already read. Maybe when it’s hidden, there would just be one line with the title of the post showing, or just the blog name and date; just a prompt, so that it’s not completely gone from the Reader. If we hide a post though, it needs to stay hidden until we choose to unhide it, we don’t want them popping back up each time we log out of WordPress and back in again you know.

4. Link notification

When we write a post, if we link to a post or a page on somebody else’s WordPress blog, then they receive a notification of that. However, if we just link to their main homepage, they do not receive a notification. I don’t really understand why that is. If I link to someone’s blog, I want them to be made aware of it, and if someone links to my blog, I want to be made aware of it. The way around it at the moment is to link to a particular page or post on the blog, but that isn’t ideal, because sometimes we just want to point people to that blog as a whole and the homepage is most appropriate for that.

5. Reblog comment at the bottom.

When we reblog a post, we usually want to add a narrative comment of our own for our readers, like “Hey check out this post I’ve just read, it’s awesome!” Why does our narrative comment appear under the extract from the post we are reblogging? I don’t get that, surely it makes more sense for our comment to come at the top, then the extract from the post with the link to the full post below. No? Am I missing something here?

So there we have it WordPress, those are my five wishes. I’m not the first person to raise these (although I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone else complaining about the last one before). I understand that they might not be technically simple to solve, but I’m putting them to you anyway, because I know you like to hear from us and always work to improve the service you deliver.

Thank you in anticipation.

Your loyal blogger,


P.S. Can I please have a signed photo of the team for my cat.

photo credit: Foxtongue via photopin cc

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114 responses to “An Open Letter to WordPress

  1. If you’re only allowed three wishes, I will use the two you can’t– these are all SPOT ON! Especially the hiding things from the reader one.

  2. I concur with all five of your wishes, especially #2!

  3. I agree with all five as well, especially #s 3,4 and 5.

  4. I love 1, 4, and 5. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally published instead of previewed or saved as a draft. I would love a “Are you sure” prompt. Thanks for writing this for all of us.

  5. Amen. AMEN!

    Especially for #2. Oh, my Lord, does that typo thing drive me crazy. And once one is discovered, I am forced to ask myself whether the typo is serious enough to warrant a “What I MEANT to say…” comment. Gah!

    My OCD brain just can’t handle it.

    Listen to Vanessa, WordPress; she’s a genius!

    • There’s no need to turn this into a religious experience Mike, with your Amens and your my Lords! I agree about the debate over whether to correct your error or not, I usually kind of want the person to realise that I spotted my own mistake, not sure why when it’s usually obvious what was meant!

  6. Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Particularly #2 and #4. I’ve never understood why we can’t get a pingback (or trackback–I don’t remember the difference) when someone links to our homepage or vice versa. Let’s hope WP sees this post and strongly considers some of these changes. Well, done, Vanessa, and I agree, despite these few things, WP remains a wonderful blogging platform to use.

    • Yes, these are just niggles really aren’t they – when I see some of the other blogging platforms, I’m so pleased I chose WordPress, and I didn’t really know why I chose it in the beginning, I didn’t know much about blogging, it was just that it was the most well known name in blogging for me!

  7. Great ideas, all of them. I especially LOVE the reader idea about hiding posts! I follow 100 blogs and it’s time-consuming to scroll through them over and over.

  8. Could you take on a wee consulting job with WordPress? Yes to all five!

  9. Fantastic suggestions! I nominate you queen of WordPress.

  10. Vanessa i want to nominate you as a representative for the blogger community. I like all these suggestions and fully support your candidacy.

  11. I have to agree on all five points, although I get emails for most of the blogs I follow.. it is only then that I go to the reader and have to wade through tons of posts I’ve already seen to find those I look at every now and then… I follow 157 blogs (God only knows why) and that reader can be a pain…

    • I used to get emails, but because emails feed through to my phone, I found myself getting distracted too easily each time a blog came it, so I cancelled the emails and just have them in the reader so that I only go and look at them when I have allocated the time to do so!

  12. An, “Are you sure?” prompt would be nice. I mean, I know I have some great posts….but others…. Not so much. They needed more work before making them public. Though, when I decide to post, I’m usually set on the idea, so in my case wordpress would need to say, “Are you sure?” I would naturally click “yes.” Then wordpress would have to say, “Hm, let me ask again…… Are you reeeeeeally sure you want to make this public?” I would become annoyed and because I’m stubborn, I would click, “yes” with some bit of force. Again, wordpress would have to say, “Look. This SUCKS. You are not allowed to post this. Now, get back to work.” At which point I would sulk, but thank wordpress later for saving me.

    For whatever reason, I haven’t deleted the sucky posts from my blog. I actually cringe when I see that people have read them too. I become embarrassed. But, up they stay. Sometimes, I wonder if people just click “like” or comment on these posts because they feel pity for the suckiness of the post.

    Oh man, I don’t know if this made sense… I have not had coffee or tea yet and dove right into blogging without starting my day, first.

    Anyway, you made some awesome points!

    Have a great day!

    • Ahh, I see, you’re assuming some kind of judgment in the “Are you sure?” question, hmmm, that could indeed be a problem. I’ve only ever deleted two of my past posts, and they were for specific reasons, other than suckiness! Hopefully you’ve had your tea or coffee by now, thanks for stopping by and have a great day yourself!

      • Maybe there should be an “Are you sure” for everytime we open up WordPress to start blogging in case we’ve not had coffee or tea yet and dove right into blogging without starting our day first, like Lindsey for example!! Actually I need one of those for everything I do in the morning. Could you arrange this as well please Vanessa, WordPress consultant, queen and blogger community representative? … thanks.

  13. 1. You can try to pull a post but once you hit publish, it stays in everyone’s feeder. That sucks.

    2. I CANNOT BELIVE you wrote that because I JUST, and I mean JUST, submitted a comment that I would love to take back. I was trying to be–I don’t know–funny or ironic or wry or witty or something but it just looks crude and insulting. Makes me look like a proper tosser. Hell…can I get an edit feature for my LIFE, while we’re at it? If you’re going to dream, dream big.

    3. I use Feedly as my feeder. It’s awesome.

    • 1. And it also stays in their email inbox if they subscribe by email. Totally sucks. Glad I’ve never done it.

      2. Funnily enough, the very first time you commented on my blog, I wasn’t quite sure whether you were being insulting or making a joke, I consulted a couple of people and in the end we concluded you were joking!

      3. I don’t know what Feedly is.

      By the way, I don’t know how to subscribe to your blog, a couple of times I’ve looked and not been able to find the way, and so because I don’t subscribe I have to remember to go and look at it, and usually I don’t – it’s nothing personal, I wouldn’t remember to go and look at any of the ones I look at if I wasn’t subscribed to them!

  14. So so good! Definitely the reader!! It could really use a little work. I love WordPress too and am very happy but some things would make life so much more convenient!

  15. I can see why you couldn’t choose just three. My biggest requests are the ability to edit my own replies to posts and being able to write intros on posts I reblog….I mean really, who looks for the words at the end of the post?

    • I barely ever reblog, I think I’ve only ever reblogged twice, and once was about a month ago I think, and that’s when I really noticed for the first time about the intro going at the bottom – I’m sure there’s some logic, I just can’t figure out what it is!

  16. Good wishes, Vanessa. All good points. I’ve often scratched my head about all of these at one time or another. I don’t even use my Reader anymore because it’s so clogged with posts! It’s worthless! Your suggestions are good ones. I hope they read this!

  17. You hit the nail on the head with #1, VJ. And as Exile said, even if you retract the unfinished post, it stays in the Reader. Hope WP sees your great suggestions.

  18. All good points. I’ve certainly suffered from numbers 1 and 2 many a time. (No potty jokes, please. Well, unless you must.)

  19. Great suggestions all around. I haven’t used the Reblog option because it doesn’t allow for much control of the post. So, I’d be rooting for all of these changes.

  20. I was going to go down the yes yes yes road, but someone has done that. So I’ll be all love love love this. All of them. Although I usually go email vs reader, the reader does get a bit annoying.
    And my comments always have a typo in them. I’d be surprised if this one doesn’t.
    While were here, do you know anything about password protection of posts. Mine isn’t working.
    And why did I just have to input my details to comment?? That is annoying, already logged in, but for some reason…let’s do it again.

  21. Yes! Sign for the cat!
    Wonderful post.
    Unreachable typos in comments dries me nuts. I type too fast. Dyslexia alters my word appearances sometime. I try to fix typos commenters make on my blog as I realize it’s an accident – but not many people do that.
    Reader is a big issue. Annoying to have to scroll, scroll, scroll to get down to where you stopped reading last time.
    Please WP, go back to no reblog without an OK by author? Too many “fake blogs” only made up of reblogs – no about page, no original posts. Nothing – Would be nice to eliminate that clutter and irritation.

    • Thank you. That’s kind of you to go in and fix your commenters typos! So in the past the author had to approve a reblog did they? I didn’t know that. I’ve noticed on my other blog, the recipe one, a couple of times I’ve had reblogs and like you say, if you go to the site it’s nothing but reblogs of other recipes! Why do people do that? What benefit do they get? They might say it’s like a pinterest thing, collating all the things they like together, but I don’t feel that’s the case!

  22. I hope someone at WP becomes aware of this post. All you points are super. I tried Reader but didn’t like getting bogged down by posts I wasn’t subscribed to. It’s all so overwhelming.

    WP, lookie here at this important letter, y’all. It’s Vanessa for heaven’s sake. Are you there? Someone? A.n.y.o.n.e.? ;-)

  23. Nicely said Vanessa. Tried Feedly and felt overwhelmed.Now I’ve got Bloglovin’ loaded with stuff I’d like to read and I just delete it too.So I’m like Amy, just let ‘em come to my email. None of which has anything to do with this fabulous eloquent pointed post of yours.I’m and I’m still happy.

    • I did it the other way round – I used to do it all by email, but then switched to the Reader. I still prefer using the Reader because then I’m not being bombarded by the emails coming in, I have more control over when I choose to look at blogs. Glad you’re happy with .org :)

  24. I appreciate the fact that instead of ranting, you faced the issues with dignity. Of these five, I would say 2, 4, and 5 would be my top three. Well done!

  25. YES! I especially like the suggestion about editing a comment we leave on someone else’s blog. Don’t they know that poor grammar or misspelling drives writers crazy?

    • Yes, that’s the thing – even though we know people will probably realise it was just a typo and not because we don’t actually know how it should be written, it still niggles us doesn’t it! So often I then make another comment pointing out my mistake!

  26. Yes to all of these please, in particular the ability to edit my comments. I’m a premature button pusher and will see the typo after it’s posted, never before.

    I too would like to organise my reader the way I want it.

    Vanessa for WP president.

  27. I would vote for you as Prime Minister of WordPress, Vanessa. These are excellent suggestions, especially the ability to edit comments, notify people when you link to their main page rather than a specific post, and the “Are you sure?” option. Those would be really, really helpful.

    Are you starting an official campaign of any kind? Because if so, I would happily offer my services as your Minister of Refreshments.

  28. Eye Agee having spellcheck on comments. My spilling is crop!

  29. Agreed! I don’t use my Reader, so I was unaware of the issue you raised. I also have never re-blogged a post, but I think your point makes sense. I really hope you get them to listen to you and to send you a picture!

    • I used to just rely on email for the blogs I follow, but what I was finding was that every time one came in, I would start looking at it, and it would distract me from whatever I was doing, so I cancelled all the emails, and just look at them in the Reader when I’m ready, in set blogs of time. It’s just annoying though sometimes to have to scroll through loads to find the place I got to last time I was looking at them! I’ve only reblogged once or twice, and the set-up just didn’t make sense to me.

  30. Good post Vanessa! :) Absolutely agree with being able to edit comments. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve spotted a typo after I’ve hit the “post” button. :(

  31. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! WordPress, please grant Vanessa her wishes! And if I could add one more it would be the ability to “like” comments. Some of them are fabulous, and I would love the ability to give the author a thumbs up.

  32. Hear, hear, Vanessa! I agree with all of these – especially that double-check “Submit” one. After I had a post accidentally post too early (with just a title), I’ve had to make sure the very first thing I do with any new post is to program to Schedule a few months out. It’s a small thing, but it slows down the writing process…which is what we’re all on blogs to do!

    • Oh that’s a good idea, schedule it and then change it to immediate when you’re ready! Thanks for the suggestion, I’m going to implement that forthwith and until such time as WordPress implement my wishes!

  33. Well done, VJC.
    You have a great head on those shoulders, babe.

  34. Amen, sister! Great list here. The correcting typos in comments is top on my list of wishes. Even when I am careful, the odd typo sneaks in. I’m sure there is one hiding. in this comment!

  35. Oh! I thought of another wish!!!!!! Alternatives to the “Like” button. Like, “I’m here for you,” “That is so sad,” “Be strong,” or whatever. It is hard to hit “Like” when someone writes about their mother’s terminal cancer.

    • Well that’s what the comment section is for Robin! ;) But seriously, I do know what you mean, on more than one occasion I have clicked ‘like’ and then clarified in the comments section that I had clicked ‘like’ to show them some support and not because I liked that they were having a hard time! This applies to facebook a lot too.

  36. Great post!

    I agree with them all. I find when commenting on my phone I type all sorts of rubbish that I’d like to correct. Maybe I should just read them properly before hitting the button, but that’s unlikely to happen. :)

    They all make sense and as a programmer of sorts I don’t see why any of them couldn’t be implemented by THIS EVENING!

    Come on WordPress. Our leader has spoken :)

  37. I’m with you! Especially the ability to edit a comment — I have put my foot in my mouth more than once and ended up regretting it.

  38. Hi Vanessa, I’m new to your blog – but have seen your face/comments on many blogs I follow so I decided to pop over and investigate. OMG(!), I just love this post. I was nodding my head furiously through each of your wish-list items. I hope someone at WordPress reads this, smacks themselves on the forehead and realizes how badly these changes are needed. :-)

    • Hi Nancy! Welcome :) That’s often how I end up following blogs too, I see the person’s face all over the place and then decide to go and check them out! Glad you agree with my wish list, I can’t believe this would be the first time WordPress heard about these if they did read my blog, because I think they’re things that others have mentioned at different times. I live in hope that they might implement some of them!

  39. I agree with # 2 and 3 (and all the rest too). I keep wishing I had been able to edit a misspelling or even the word “not” when it shouldn’t have been there. Too many oopsies, I wish I could have edited in my comments.

    Yeah, no kidding about being able to hide and unhide already read posts on Reader. Some bloggers tend to blog so much, that it’s their post again for every other post on Reader. Just takes too long to scroll down to find posts by other bloggers too.

    Excellent post!

    • Thanks sf.”Too many oopsies” is a good way to describe it! I know what you mean about some bloggers blogging too much, you scroll down thinking – really? Three posts in one day from them?!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  40. Fantastic! Are they going to do somthing about it all? Thank you for putting it out there :)

  41. Hi mates, how is all, and what you would like to say about this paragraph, in my
    view its actually amazing for me.

  42. These are great suggestions. I hope that wordpress takes them into account. You might want to post this on one of the wordpress writer’s blog. Gee, if only I had a button that says save this while I go check my Reader for the name of a wordpress writer:)
    I’ll be back.

  43. Hear, hear! Especially the one about the reader settings. I’m following someone who posts a LOT — which is all good — but makes it hard to sort out the other bloggers posts in amongst this avalanche…

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