In-Reply-To Linking and Comment Subscriptions

CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

Related Post Roulette

46 Responses

  1. Michael Drew says:


    • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:


      • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:


        • CK in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Evidence that the main problem I was encountering subscription management-wise might have had, curiously, to do with the HTMLifying of Management Links in subscription emails.

          Since I’ll be reporting this to the plug-in developers, I’ll describe my UX as follows:

          With HTML emails + HTMLify links enabled, I was receiving subscription emails with “Manage Your Subscriptions” links that, when clicked, took me to a “Manage subscriptions” page that didn’t recognize my subscriptions.

          It’s hard to keep track of different failure modes. One involved, I think, subscribe without commenting, but the multiple variables of logged-in/logged-out, allow-logged-in-admins-to-subscribe/don’t-allow, security-key, etc., make keeping track of which precise conditions difficult. I can only imagine how difficult it was to write the code! Anyway, I believe I reached it via a “provide your email routine.” I was then informed that if I used a link being provided – same language as in one type of notification email – I could manage my subscriptions: except there was no link provided.

          And if anyone else reading this, who hasn’t experienced it, can follow at all what I just said, you may have a future in WordPress plug-in development.

          Copy-pasting non-HTMLified links into the address bar got me to the right “Manage subscriptions page.” It works properly whether I am logged in or out.

          Am now trying non-HTML (plain-text) emails.Report

          • CK in reply to CK says:

            Ah! The bad page comes when I click manage my subscriptions after having commented, and then ask (by clicking a Send button) to be sent a management email. I land on a page whose text reads:

            “You have requested to manage your subscriptions to the articles on Ordinary Times. Follow this link to access your personal page:”

            There is no such link provided. I’ll now see whether I have received the management email and whether it works. If so, then it’s a wrong text on landing page problem (should just say – “wait for the email you impatient person”), not a functionality problem.Report

            • CK in reply to CK says:

              Bad news – in that I am subscribed to this post under my alternate email address, but, when I get to the subscr-management page, it doesn’t like this post. Will now log-in to see whether the new subscription appears under the log, and to double check the configuration on confirmation emails – since I don’t seem to be receiving emails via this secondary, supposedly subscribed email address.

              Could be a time delay, I suppose. Could be something more unfortunate – and will have to log back in to see whether this address is subscribed to this post.Report

  2. Test, as well.

    By the way, I noticed the new automatic subscribe feature after I had commented on the linky Friday post. I had assumed I accidentally clicked “subscribe.” The fact that I usually never clicked “subscribe” had more to do with never thinking to do it than with not wanting to.Report

  3. CK MacLeod says:

    OK – subscription seems to be initiated now on this post – or at least comes up on subscription management page. So, if all (or anyway this part of the all – since still have the bad landing page and delay problem to deal with) is as it should be, I should received this comment via my alternate email address.Report

  4. CK MacLeod says:

    Posted today to S2CR Support Forum, for reference:

    Great plug-in, but I have encountered numerous difficulties getting it to work in the most desirable configuration – I am currently discussing the problems with users here:

    It’s hard to keep track of all of the different conditions and configurations under which the various glitches crop up, but here are some:

    1. With HTML emails enabled, subscription management links were dysfunctional, and instead took me to a bad “Manage subscriptions” page stating “No subscriptions match your search criteria.” Switching to plain text emails solved this problem, though is obviously not the most desirable solution.

    2. When subscribing as a non-logged-in user, without confirmation email required: a) Click on the subscription management link on-line, b) Provide an email for management purposes, c) go to landing page, d) get management email.

    Problem with 2c: Landing page uses the “Management message” from the management email, which instructs user to use the management link. The management link is present in the email, but NOT on the landing page: So the text is confusing when it appears there.

    Second Problem with 2c: I have encountered a delay between subscribing and having the subscription show up on the management page. The new subscription does not show up on it, but does show up in admin. A bit later, the the subscription does show up. If this is normal behavior, and not fixable, the user should get some kind of notice that new subuscriptions may not appear immediately.

    3. The plain text “you have requested to manage” emails (with the Management Message) produce a redundant link:
    “You have requested to manage your subscriptions to the articles on Ordinary Times. Follow this link to access your personal page:
    (*) a href=*) (*)

    (tags removed)

    I’ll be pasting a copy of this email at the thread already linked.


  5. CK MacLeod says:

    For time being, will go with “not subscribed by default, ugly (plain text/non-html emails), modifications to landing page language (warning on delayed notices, management message not implying link is necessarily present), grin-and-bear ugly plain text with redundant link on management emails.”

    Am hopeful tho that the plug-in developers will address. If not, may look into doing my own hacks, especially if I notice much interest in what I think the most desirable configuration would be: “default subscribe + email confirmation, pretty (HTML) emails, logged-in admins can also subscribe, differential landing page language, pretty (HTML) on management emails.”Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      Also would like thread-subscription emails to identify comment-author in the subject line, something more like “OG Michael Drew has just replied to…” rather than “There is a new comment…” Would at this point require a hack – may make a feature request/suggestion at some later point assuming bug report is handled.Report

  6. CK MacLeod says:

    Turned “Admins can subscribe while logged in” option back on. Had turned it off on off-chance explained an alternative problem. (Also noted other landing page language that could stand to be improved, but very minor.) Whether or not Admin subs are enabled via the front end (something of concern potentially to all of four people at this point, I believe), Editors, Authors, and Admins can manage subscriptions – including by adding them – via the backend.

    (Don’t know if any will find this useful. But if, say, I wanted to subscribe a bunch of people to this thread, I could do by entering the email addresses one by one on the Manage Subscriptions panel with the box at the upper right.)Report

  7. Glyph says:

    Me likey in-reply-to, especially with time-traveling comments now possible.Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

      Yeah, that was a good suggestion – I’m glad you put it in my mind before I ran across the code.

      Am also noting just for comprehensiveness that Subscription Management for Admins, from the front end, is kind of screwed up – not exactly sure how or why, but may have something to do with why the developers made the option to turn it off available. Am also not 100% sure yet that the “Replies Only” setting works very well. Will be testing…Report

      • CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        In fact, ever since around the time I turned Admin can subscribe back on, I have not been receiving emails to my Admin email supposedly subscribed to other threads. Have turned it off, and will shortly do some other checks. Fingers crossed this email will go to my test address. If it doesn’t, I’m uh-gunna be unhappy.

        Am wondering if anyone else is getting notifications as expected.Report

        • CK in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          Well, I am – plus I see now that maybe you weren’t getting notifications on that other sub because you had it set to reply, and no one replied directly to you. So, why don’t you try turning admins can subscribe back on again?Report

  8. CK says:

    Sorry to have to report that I never got an email alerting me to your reply.Report

  9. Vikram Bath says:

    Anyone else in favor of checkboxes over dropdown for subscribing to replies?

    CK brings up a good question regarding the defaults. I guess defaulting to not subscribing is the more classy thing to do, but for my own convenience, I wish it weren’t. I don’t suppose it’d be easy to make it default to whatever you previously selected the last time you commented?Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      I’m still not 100% sure “replies to my comments” even works, VB. As for remembering last choice, that brings up an interesting possibility, but I’d like to get things stable and working with the current feature set in the most desirable configuration before trying to interest the developers in adding features or before trying to add any myself.

      I originally thought “default replies to me, email confirmation, HTML emails” would have been the best set-up. Now that I THINK that Subscription Management is working well enough, switching to default-subscribed/email confirm can be explored, but I’m also not 100% sure that there’s a lot of user interest one way or the other. If I thought there was, as I suggested in the OP, we could do a user poll.Report

  10. CK MacLeod says:

    On developer requested, opened a Bug Report at GitHub – – mainly an updated/amended/reorganized version of WordPress Support submission copied above.Report

  11. Zane says:

    I love the “in reply to” feature in the upper right! Thanks CK!Report

  12. Zane says:

    Would it be possible to get a “cancel comment” option to click before actually publishing a comment? There have been a number of times I start a comment only to decide I don’t want to post it. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way out. I’ve taken to deleting the text in the comment and refreshing the page.Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to Zane says:


      There should be a red “Cancel reply” button in red at the top-right of your “Leave a Reply” box! (You’re not the first person who’s missed it… or am I misunderstanding?… or is it not showing up for you for some reason?)Report

      • Zane in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        You’re correct, I’m seeing it every time now, I’m not sure how I missed it a few minutes ago. Sorry for the false alarm.Report

      • Zane in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        Okay, I think I might have figured this out. The red “cancel reply” button only appears to me when I’m replying to another comment. If I hit “reply” to the overall post (at the very end of all the comments or if no other comments have been made), there’s no “cancel reply” button.Report

      • Vikram Bath in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        I find this an interesting phenomenon. It’s not hiding, an in fact I imagine CK tried to make it as obvious as he could by making it a different color.

        Still, I think we are used to seeing enough useless stuff on websites that we might not really register something we really want. It’s there, but our brains don’t register it as being there.Report

        • CK MacLeod in reply to Vikram Bath says:

          Vikram Bath,

          Didn’t want to make it TOO obvious (like Fire Engine red or cherry red or scarlet or something) for reasons of developing the palette here consistently, also didn’t want it to distract from comment text in what is becoming an increasingly busy comment box (with more possibly to come).

          I think part of the confusion is that there is no “Cancel reply” at the bottom of the thread, and, if you think about it, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense – would be more a “are you sure?” function: The Cancel reply is really more a “close box” button – and more a convenience so you can get on reading than a necessity: It’s not like the reply will reply without you if you just move on to another page whenever. The box at the bottom is always opens unless the in-place-reply is open.

          Could be Zane got used to NOT seeing CR after commenting at full width/bottom of thread, so wasn’t seeing it when commenting “in-thread.” Idunno. I’m inclined to put this one in the “user-learnable” category, unless there’s somethihng about the (dys)functionality I’m not getting.Report

  13. CK the Second Tester says:

    Have subscribed to 500k post as test1 without commenting.

    Am subscribing to this post with comment as test2 to All Replies.Report

  14. CK the Third Tester says:

    Am subscribing to replies to my comments only on 3rd account.Report

  15. CK says:

    testing Jetpack comment subscriptions. (Safari, S2CR still enabled, but hidden)Report

  16. CK MacLeod says:

    testing Jetpack comment subscriptions (Firefox, posting logged, subscription confirmed)Report

    • CK in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      Now that’s odd – the Jetpack comment mostly works, except for some reason mentions Mark Thompson.. maybe his name is on the relevant account?Report

      • CK in reply to CK says:

        not one thing, 1000 others, but at least the Jetpack subscriptions look good, link to the comment in question and re-produce it.. maybe it can be safely customized some day. Most important, it has a good cancel subscription link!Report