UPDATE: May 24, 2010. I think I found a better #10 tonight than the current “Bodily Fluids” theme — so we’ll now make the former #10, #9a. Read on for the rest of the update below!
In our — Top Ten Things We Love About WordPress.com — article, we gave you the things we found to fondly appreciate after a two-year leave of absence. Now, after being back in the sack again for a week or so, we’re going to give you the doppelganger for that article in this review of the Top Ten Things We Want WordPress.com to Fix… in no particular order.
1. Blog-to-Blog Memory
One thing Movable Type 5.01 actually did quite well was to predict that if you were running more than one blog and if you were in management mode, you likely wanted to move from one admin subset to the same admin subset on another blog. We wish WordPress.com had “blog memory” that if we’re in the widgets for one blog, we want to be in the same widget section for the next blog we call. Right now, WP.com codes your landing page as the Dashboard by default for any blog you choose, and while that is quite slow and counter-intuitive, it also wastes time while you wait for the Flash-based stats to load before you can move on to what you really want to get done.
2. Bulk Payments for Services
When you have to purchase multiple upgrades for your WordPress.com blogs one-by-one and then enter your full contact information each time, it can get tedious. Let us have a WordPress.com shopping cart that saves our credit card information — if we so choose — and then let us pay one time, in bulk, for whatever services we want. My credit card company went bonkers having to process each little identical payment made within minutes of each other and my account was flagged for possible fraudulent activity. I was able to complete the WordPress.com purchases by staying on the phone with my bank’s fraud identity supervisor, who then manually cleared each fraud flag in real time as I continued to make charges. WordPress.com support told me they’re working on a better payments solution for the future. Here’s a small snapshot of my credit card transaction history for the buys:
3. Cross-Blog Searching
If we have more than one blog, it would be go great if we could choose to have WordPress.com search across all our blogs for comments and posts results. I write about my lovely wife Janna a lot, but trying to remember where I wrote about her in each blog for hotlinking in a new article, is taxing on a memory growing older every day. Sure, I could Google her with certain keywords — if I could remember them all — but staying in the WordPress.com admin area is much more convenient.
4. Proper HTTPS Behavior
In the WordPress.com support forum, I noted I was having trouble getting remote images to load in WordPress.com while in secure HTTPS mode. I don’t think my Mac browsers like the way WordPress.com is handling HTTPS requests and that makes it nigh impossible to get remote images to load because the web browser thinks the image calls are illegitimate and unsecure for some reason. Here’s a simple, visual, example. I’m logged in to my BolesBlues.com admin dashboard and Firefox says I’m “green to go” with a secure HTTPS connection. Then, I simply click on the “New Post” button and I’m taken to a red HTTPS session that means my connection has suddenly become non-secure. I’m not loading any images or doing any writing. All I did was click on “New Post” and a non-secure session was detected for some reason.
5. Hide Filters for Junk We Don’t Want to See
One artifact that remains on WordPress.com when we were first here two years ago is the propagation of commercial blogs in the “What’s Hot” list. It would be so great if we could filter those results to prove what we’d like to follow like, “Hot No-Advertising Blogs” or “Hot Non-Commercial” Blogs. As it is, and as it has remained, the information never really changes, and you just keep the entire thing hidden from view.
6. The Proper Restoration of Related Articles
Two years ago, you could set up “Related Articles” for your blogs that would take readers to other articles you wrote that might also interest them. Now, “Related Articles” has become “Possibly Related Posts” and that means other posts from blogs you do not write can appear on your site. “Possibly” is a weak word, and I don’t really want my readers getting referred to something I haven’t read, and so, I have turned off that “Possibly Related Posts” link that I used to previously enjoy in another form. Perhaps that might be a paid upgrade someday: “Only Show Related Articles From This Blog” for a dollar a year or something…
7. No Fun or Surprises
Another new curiosity is a “Fun” option you need to tick and save for a “Fun Mode” surprise. If you are a serious blogger, I don’t think you would tick an option that is wholly unexplained and made unclear on purpose. The rumor seems to be that checking that option will allow you to set a mark on your new posts that the article is “extra special” and then it will be submitted for consideration as a “Freshly Pressed” front page blog on WordPress.com. The other rumor is that the Fun option also tells you how many real minutes you spend logged into the site — but all of that is just conjecture and mere rumor since I’m never going to enable something unless I fully know what it will do to my blogs.
8. Change Default Visual Editor Font
I find New Times Roman a really ugly font — and WordPress.com is so pretty — and I want to be able to change the default font in the Visual editor to something like Verdana instead of New Times Roman.
9. Image Upload Memory
This fix is sort of related to Fix #1 concerning Blog-to-Blog memory. We love images and we load them only “From URL.” WordPress.com doesn’t remember you like to load images from a URL, and it always takes you to the “From Computer” option when you click to add an image. Then you have to click on the “From URL” option every time you want to insert an image. I can tell you, all that clicking gets tiring after a long day of publishing, and you wish for better behavioral memory from WordPress.com.
9a. If It’s Yellow, Let it Mellow; If It’s Brown…
Finally, we arrive at the last bit of business we’d like WordPress.com to fix, and perhaps, we’re a bit desperate to ask for this as a fix… because we’ve run out of real ideas for fixing — but bear with us. When we saw the announcement on Friday for the new “Notepad theme” we thought, for a moment, we were back on April 1 for a fool’s joke. A yellow and brown theme? Really? Seriously? Some of the comments left on the official WP.com blog post for that theme appeared to be thinking in the toilet bowl just like us: Something is in need of flushing down, and it is a yellow and brown theme mucking up the WordPress.com design pipes! Please! No more bodily function Poop and Pee WordPress.com taint themes!
10. Discomforting Re-Directs
Tonight I found something that is curious and strikes me as a bit odd and it makes a better #10 fix. I reported what I discovered directly to WP.com support and I’ll let you know their take. Here is my message to them:
I find the following behavior strangely discomforting. If I am logged into WP.com and if I type the following addresses into Firefox for Mac and Safari for Mac:
allthingsboles.com/wp-admin/ (not my domain)
I get taken to the admin area of MY blog in which I am logged into on WP.com — and I find that incredibly strange. What’s causing that redirect and how can I stop it from happening — other than first logging out of WP.com?
I discovered this because I received a Google alert on “allthingsboles.com/wp-admin/” and when I clicked on the link to check out the site I did not own or control, I was taken into my WP.com backend — making it appear that site was controlling my admin area. That snapped my head!
I kept trying to check to see if that other person’s blog was in my blog list — and I wondered if they could see the backend for my blogs — I’m guessing not, but I’m not sure, and that’s why I’m writing to you now.
I had my wife do the same test on her machine. Her personal blog is janna.wordpress.com and she found the same result with /wp-admin/ whacks.
Wild and a little scary. Is there any way I can turn off that behavior on my side?
I thank you!
I don’t know if that sort of re-direct is standard behavior or not for WP.com blogs as a logged-user, but it does strike me as confusing. I’d much prefer a, “Sorry, parder we can’t take you there” message when a link to a WP.com blog’s admin area that I do not own or control is called in a browser. In my basic testing, nothing dangerous or insecure appears to be taking place with the redirect, but if you don’t have a lot of experience with WP.com blogs and the common backend admin interface, it might put you off just a bit with more concern than you wish.
We thank for your attention to these humble WordPress.com fixes and let us be cogent and clear when we say we love WordPress.com and we will always work to help make the place better and faster and cleaner and safer whenever possible.