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WordPress: Comment Approval Email Address

[Update 6/11/2009] See comments for resolution of this issue.[/update]

Had a weird problem that might point to a weird semi-bug of WordPress.

I just recently received an email asking me to approve a comment on the Stearns site. I haven’t touched the admin part of the site in two months. We had set them up to need to approve every comment, and to have WordPress email the administrator whenever a comment was submitted. When I left I had made sure the address in the >Settings>General pane was set to one of the Stearns people, and it still is. This is the address I thought would receive the comment approval mailings.

I went looking for information on where the address for comment approval mailings is pulled from. According to this thread, the mailings are sent to the address of the “admin” account. I had deleted the “admin” account for security purposes (getting rid of a known user name) and may have transferred that account’s posts to mine. Or maybe it’s because my ID is the next closest to zero. So my account may be considered the “admin” account now.

The other possibility that I thought of is that the mailings get sent to the post author. I’m set as the author of the post the test comment was set to and a number of others. I would have to change them all over to one of the Stearns people if this were the case.

Choosing the easier solution first, I changed the email address of my account to that of one of the Stearns people (modified with the “+” syntax to avoid duplication). I did a test comment on the same post as the previous one was sent to and did not receive an email, so the suspicion of that thread may be correct (have to verify with the Stearns people).

I think that is a silly place to pull the address from if true. It would certainly make sense to have this settable and not tied to one particular account. The comment moderator might not necessarily be the “admin” user, as with Stearns. It doesn’t seem to be unreasonable to have the comment approval mailings sent to the same person who receives mailings about user registrations (the one on the “General” tab). Or, to be a bit more fancy, either have a separate address or user set for comment moderation on the >Settings>Discussions pane.

I’ll update this post if I find out more.

[Update: 6/10/2010] At this point I am thinking that the author of the post receives the comment approval emails, as it would certainly make the most sense. For the Samba Soccer Club site I did a while back, I received a comment approval message for a post I wrote as myself rather than admin. I do have the lowest current ID, so that can’t be ruled out, but it really doesn’t make any sense for that to be how it works. I’ve realized that my changes on Stearns shouldn’t tell anything, because the lowest user id and post author are both the same for the relevant posts.[/update]

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Stearns: Two Content Columns Per Page

Our layout has some pages with a three column layout and some pages with only two columns.  The left column is always the same, but the other two will have one or two columns based on individual page content.  For a while, we’ve had the third column on the home page and an empty third column on other pages, but we ran into troubles when we wanted to add the third column content to the other pages.

The columns use float to get their positioning and can’t be inside each other or the text from one would flow under the other.  A few options came to mind.  We tried closing template divs and opening others in the HTML editor of the page content: this did not work for us, somehow removing the background that was supplied by a wrapper.  It would be trouble for Stearns anyway.  We also tried removing the container for the center column from the template and putting one div into two column pages, two into three column pages.  This gave some difficulties with the editor, would require the divs on every page, and would be difficult for Stearns and us to work with.

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Stearns: Flutter now Magic Fields, Adminimize

Flutter/Magic Fields

Magic Fields is a fork of Flutter that is open source GPL and seems to have more active development going on.  It also seems to be much more streamlined and simplified.  It doesn’t have all of the features of Flutter, but I didn’t know what those features were anyway and wasn’t using them.  I switched to it for these reasons and in hopes that it would fix a problem I’m having.

The problem is that posts created outside of the Flutter write panels do not appear inside of that panels “Manage” pane, nor do posts on write panels that have no custom fields.  Two of the panels had no custom fields, and some items were not added with the write panel at all, so the “manage” panels were not working for us.  I discovered that Flutter associates its custom fields with posts in a particular table, and the “manage” pane only shows items in that table.

Moving to Magic Fields, I thought it might fix this.  They provide a script to move all panels and items from Flutter, which made that easy.  Unfortunately, the plugin still uses the same method of populating the “manage” panes, and so didn’t fix my problem at all.

I really just want that pane to have all items from the related category, whether they have populated custom fields or not, whether they were added through the write panel or the posts panel.  I may have to modify the plugin to make this happen.  Otherwise, I will have to somehow craft a script to find unassociated items from a given category, insert a custom field with the relevant name for that type, and then insert the cross-reference row.  That would be a complicated affair and would do nothing for new items created after the script is run.  But I am worried that not having an associated field set in the database will cause problems when those items are displayed.  We’ll see what I can manage and have time for.

Adminimize

This plugin was recommended by Kevin Behrens, maker of Role Scoper.  It allows removal of panels and individual items from the admin section based on role/group.  So far, I only have used it to remove the “Add New” pane of the posts section, but I think it will allow me to remove the HTML tab from TinyMCE as well as a few other things to clean up the interface for the Stearns folk.  The easier we make it for them, the better.

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