A checklist for how I’d like comments to work in WordPress

I don’t get a lot of comments on this site, and I don’t leave a lot of comments elsewhere, but I like the idea of comments in general and I think I would engage more if I enjoyed the tools more. I think having a good commenting system would be a fun addition to WordPress.

Here’s a list of things that address how I think comments could be handled in WordPress so that they’re more flexible and enjoyable.

It should be possible for comments to be private.

In current WordPress, the only way for a comment to remain private is for it to stay in an “unapproved” status. It would be nice if comments could flow more easily between unapproved, private, and public.

Ideally:

  • When someone leaves a comment, an option is available to submit the comment as private so that only the post author will see it.
  • When a post author moderates a comment, an option is available to make it private.
  • A post author has the ability to privately reply to a public or private comment within the WordPress admin.

Commenters should be notified of their comment interactions.

There is no way in current WordPress for commenters to subscribe to comment threads or status changes via email.

Ideally:

  • Opt-in email notifications should be sent to the commenter when their comment has been approved and published.
  • Opt-in email notifications should be sent to the commenter when a reply has been posted to their comment.

Comments should have full webmention support.

Current WordPress does not have built in support for webmentions, though does have support for pingbacks and trackbacks. It would be nice if WordPress had the capability to be a webmention dashboard of sorts.

Ideally:

  • A commenter should be able to submit a comment via webmention from their own site.
  • An author should be able to send a webmention reply to comments received via webmention.
  • An interface should be available in the admin to send webmention comments to other sites. These webmentions have permalinks that can be used for replies.

Repeat commenters should be recognized

In current WordPress, information about commenters who are not also site authors is stored with each individual comment rather than being tied to the user table or another comment author table. It would be nice if simple passwordless authentication could be used to verify repeat commenters without requiring a full user account on the site.

Ideally:

  • An opt-in email notification is sent to a commenter with a one-time authentication link that, when clicked, “verifies” them on the site.
  • When a comment is left under that same email address in the future, and a cookie is not available in the browser for verification, a new one-time authentication link is sent for verification.

A lot of these items rely quite a bit on: how to ensure a self-hosted WordPress site properly manages email. But I think they’re all very doable and would enhance the overall commenting experience.

Now that I have a list, I’m going to start spending some time poking through it for this site. If you happen to know of helpful prior art, please leave a comment or send a webmention! 🍻

Thoughts for the week’s end

It rained this morning! We woke up late, to good air, and enjoyed coffee on the deck for a couple hours with my parents.

All week I had these notes about how horrible being outdoors was. The things I wanted most were to be able to open a window, to step outside for more than a second, and to enjoy a few moments of quiet without the constant hum of air purifiers—as grateful as I am that we have them.

And here we are. I’ve been outside. The air purifiers are off or running on very low. The sun peeked out for a minute. It’s cloudy and cool and comfortable.


A new level of madness was spending a week indoors due to bad air—Friday through Friday—without even having a place to drive to for a break due to a pandemic.

We spent several nights doing laps in the house to music for 45 minutes to an hour just to get a walk in. Who are we!


Michael Kiwanuka‘s 2019 album, Kiwanuka, was a joy to listen to this week. 🙌🏻


Still picking through Orwell’s essays, one by one. This time on Kipling.

His outlook, allowing for the fact that after all he was an artist, was that of the salaried bureaucrat who despises the “box-wallah” and often lives a lifetime without realising that the “box-wallah” calls the tune.

George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, Horizon, February 1942

The footnote attached to “box-wallah” reads:

Strictly, a peddler, but in the context applied derogatively to those working in commerce in India.

The term made me think: “what are the odds this is why Dishwalla is named Dishwalla”. Sure enough, Dishwalla’s drummer confirms that the band name comes from an old issue of Wired.

Turns out it’s the second ever issue of Wired with this article.

Lajpat-Rai is a crucial link in this vast republic’s exploding market for satellite television – and a central supply port for a new generation of opportunistic entrepreneurs called “dish- wallahs”; wallah being a common Hindi phrase which translates to something between “hack” and “specialist.”

Dish-Wallahs“, Wired, April 1993

I have spent way too much time thinking about Dishwalla over the last month.


From the other room just now: “do you want to touch raw beef tongue?” 😂

Of course I did. Tacos tonight!


I’m about half-way in to Rage, Bob Woodward’s new book. The most striking part so far is how un-striking it all is when compared with how I felt while reading Fear just two years ago.

Dan Coats, former director of national intelligence, appears quite a bit at the beginning, which made his op-ed on the election slightly more interesting this week for some reason.


Rest in peace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. May all current and future jurists—I mean, everyone really—be inspired by your life and your work.

My Own Words is now on my short-term reading list. I’m looking forward to being inspired rather than enraged.


60 some hours until fall!

Time for a whiskey. 🥃

Thoughts for the week’s end

Heyo 41.


I might be excited because I might buy myself a guitar today at our local music shop. I might also not be excited because I might postpone the visit yet again due to… pandemic!

I’m fairly certain they’ve done good a good job through everything—at some point I saw a notice that only one customer is allowed in the store at a time. But I still classify this as highly risky on my list of things Jeremy has done in the last 6 months.

Ooph, time goes.

So I’m browsing various models ahead of time, hoping to pop in and pop out. It will be a little weird to not sit and get to know the guitar for a bit, but also… pandemic!


One of the weirder decisions I made 9 years ago was to sell my guitars and amps and pedals and oh, it’s sad if I think too much about it. But stuff is stuff; the hobby went away for a bit and now it wants to come back.

I’m probably looking at a Telecaster this time around because I’ve always been curious of the sound. And if the hobby sticks, I can start poking at rejoining the Gibson family. 🎸


I caught up on a bunch of magazine reading last weekend and found James Meek’s history of the World Health Organization—accompanied by the history of the current SARS-Cov-2 outbreak—to be a very interesting read. It’s from early July, but still timely.

One thing the writer tries to clarify is the difference between communal health and “tech fixes”: (emphasis mine)

The divide between communal health advocates and tech fixers represents a deeper choice: between actions that aim to help an individual, so may indirectly help everyone, and actions that aim to help everyone, so may indirectly help the individual. Lockdown requires each individual to accept personal constraints for the sake of the community, even when they are not themselves ill. In theory, the tech fix can be for everyone, too, but because it is a thing to be obtained, rather than a constraint to abide by, it comes trailing issues of priority, price, privilege, exclusivity: what device, what pill, what treatment, what test can I get for myself, my family, my friends, to protect them?

James Meek, The Health Transformation Army, London Review of Books

I don’t know how I came across an old post of mine with a picture of a Pixies show taken on a (likely Nokia) camera phone circa 2004, but I did so now it’s here.

At some point these photos are going to classify as abstract.


What is the minimum number of people required on a video call before an Irish exit makes sense?

I’m thinking once you hit 10 it might be fair game.


Donating to politicians in other states seems like it should be wrong—if for nothing else because the amount of money involved in politics is wrong, but it also seems like the hate spread by existing politicians is worse, so here we are donating to politicians in other states.


You need a holiday, somewhere in the sun
With all the people who are waiting
There never seems to be one

Every once and a while the very beginning of Blur’s Advert pops into my head and I repeat it randomly throughout the day. It’s a sample used once that simply says: “food processors are great”. A keyboard starts looping, the bass comes in, and then the catchy guitar riff hits and it becomes a rock song. It has all the makings of a great track and I love it.

So I’ll be standing in the kitchen making coffee or lunch or anything and just start repeating out loud: “food processors are great”. Michelle asked me where it was from this week and of course I took the opportunity to play it.

This time I honed in on the chorus posted above and a song about advertising is now working in different ways as an anthem for our COVID summer.

A holiday, somewhere in the sun, would be fantastic indeed.


And of course I then made Thursday and Friday Blur listening days. It’s been a while since I went through the catalogue.

I can’t really pick a favorite. Leisure and 13 are the least likely, even though Tender, the first track on 13, is one of my favorite songs ever made and I thought I remembered the album being amazing.

Modern Life Is Rubbish, Parklife, The Great Escape, and Blur all have their moments where I’m like: oh right, this is my favorite album. Even as I’m writing this I have Modern Life Is Rubbish playing again and my brain is trying really hard to convince me to pick it.

And then Think Tank, which I don’t remember appreciating as much at the time, but I very much enjoy now. And the reunion album, The Magic Whip, turned out to be very excellent.

Anyhow. One day I’ll sit down and do a proper write-up of the best parts.


Stay well! May we see 46 before I see 42. 🎂