WP gremlins strike again

(Updated May 8, 2012 at 9:18 am MDT)

WordPress has done it again, and by now you’ve probably noticed. Something they did over the weekend, whether intentionally or not, now causes you to get emails whenever there’s a comment on any blog you follow. Or at least, any blog you comment on. You’ve probably noticed there’s a little box to check after your comment where you can choose to be notified whenever there’s a new comment on that post (“Notify me of follow-up comments via email.”) The default setting used to leave the box unchecked, for no notification. Now, by default, the box is checked — yes, you want to be notified. If you don’t uncheck it, the result will be a flood of unwanted email.

The WP forums are full of complaints about this, spread over at least four different threads. One has run to four pages of comments/complaints. So no, it’s not your imagination; WP has struck again. Let’s hope they fix this soon. And let’s pray it’s not another “working as intended” new feature that they have no plans to change.

If you want or need to turn off the notifications you receive from a particular blog, go here. Click the Comments tab at the top of page and delete any blog from which you do not want to receive comment notifications. (If you reply to comments on your blog, it will be listed too, and you’ll be getting notifications of your own comments on your own blog!) The link also appears near the bottom in each email notification you receive. Be aware, however, that the next time you comment somewhere, the flood will start again unless you remember to uncheck the box under the comment (before you post the comment).

You know, this sounds so much like what a lot of big companies are doing today — setting up things we likely don’t want that we have to actively opt out of instead of opt in to. Shows a huge disrespect for the customer, it seems to me, and is very bad PR. But if this turns out to be just a bug, as some have said, then I’ll be among the first to apologize to WP.

25 thoughts on “WP gremlins strike again

    1. Can’t say my suggestions are a permanent fix. Every time you leave a comment and neglect to uncheck the Notify box, it will start all over again. And looking down, I see that’s also why I get notified of my own comments on my own blog! Eek! It’s a horrible idea!

        1. By now you’ve probably seen my update saying they aren’t going to “fix” it because it’s not a bug; it’s the new default, done on purpose. Hope your phone survives.

  1. This started over the weekend – UGH! If they are trying to increase traffic ( to show to advertisers) it was a bad idea – everyone is annoyed – some turning off ability to comment until it’s fixed in protest. It is so big business ( and they will tell us how rude it is to complain as it’s a free service (but they are making money off of all the bloggers)
    Also prefer the “blog tiles” on topics page rather that all the scrolling.
    Another case of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”

    1. I’m not sure how it helps traffic, but I don’t doubt for a second that if it benefits WP in any way, then we’re stuck with it. As you noted, our complaints carry no weight with them because it’s a free service. (Except, of course, I pay for the CSS upgrade and the “No ads” upgrade.)

  2. In all honesty, checking the box for comments or no doesn’t bother me. On the other hand, I totally second your previous call for a tool bar for comments. It would be especially nice if that included an image icon, just while I’m wishing. 🙂

    1. Yep, a toolbar would sure save me some time when I want to include links, images, etc. I also wish they’d allow us to edit/correct comments for at least a few minutes after we post them, just in case we need to correct something.

    1. Yep. Now instead of occasionally missing out on the 10% of discussions I might have intended to follow, I’ll now be kept up to date on the 90% I don’t want to follow. Way to go, WordPress. Thanks for nuthin’.

    1. Check that (heh), I just saw the box was pre-checked on another blog. Maybe there’s a randomness to it. Either way, because WordPress already keeps track of WP on WP commenting, it’s at least a redundancy we don’t need if we’re logged in when we comment.

      1. So far my experience is that the box is now always checked by default, which means 9 times out of 10 I’m going to forget to uncheck it and the flood will start again, as it has several times today. Yes, you can go to the unsubscribe page to stop it (again), but doing so doesn’t delete all the spam that’s flooded your in-box again. This has got to be one of the worst of WP’s “innovations.”

        1. One of the things about WP.Com people don’t really understand is we’re the Beta testers for WP.Org. In the TOS that we have to agree to it says features can and will change — kind of, but not quite, on the whims of the developers. They used to do annual updates, with a bunch of changes all at once. But they haven’t done that in a while.

          But there have definitely been worse feature introductions.

          When they introduced the “related posts” feature they didn’t tell anyone, or give us time to prepare. So a post I wrote about my little brother watching a plane fly over the White House on 9-11 — he was on the phone with our mother at the time, the last thing she heard before the phones went dead was “please evacuate the area” then the plane dove into the Pentagon, for seven hours mom thought he was dead-ish — ended up as a “related post” on a blog about gardening.

          I gave Matt both barrels in an email and that’s why we started getting announcements on our dashboard about updates to the blogging system. Unfortunately they’ve recently stopped doing it, other than the promise that’s there now about moving the stats page.

          When the “reblog / like” feature was introduced it was only one button — in order to reblog, you had to Like the post. And there was no “unlike” feature. Again, I confronted Matt about the changes, he told me to “like it or leave it”, but then the changes I wanted happened: we have a separate Like and Reblog system with an Unlike capability.

          So they do listen. One of the major changes over the past few months is Matt is no longer really involved with the WP.Com service — he doesn’t comment in the Forums or on blogs anymore — there’s a new management structure with Other People in charge of Stuff. So I think it’ll be harder to get bad changes overturned, but not impossible.

          1. Sometimes I think they listen; other times, not so much. My perception is probably very skewed by whether I like what they’ve done. The Related Posts thing was awful, initially, but now we have the Zemanta option to choose truly related posts from a suggested list — something I very much like. The Reblog thing ticks me off, and I’ve written about it; luckily for me it doesn’t seem to be widely used.

            I hadn’t really been aware that we are beta testers for WP.org, but it makes sense when I think about. We’re just lab rats for the paying customers.

... and that's my two cents