A variety of admin pages (users, posts, comments, etc.) use pagination to present long lists. This makes editing multiple items in the lists harder.
Example 1: today I turned off tracebacks/pingbacks for all 56 posts in my blog. Because the Posts list is paginated and only shows 15 posts at a time, I had to do the following four times:
go to the (next) Posts page;
check the checkbox next to the Post label in the list header to check all 15 posts on the page;
select Edit from the bulk actions dropdown menu;
press the Apply button;
select “Do not allow” from the Pings dropdown menu;
press the Update Posts button.
If the list hadn’t been paginated, I would have had to perform those actions only once.
Example 2: today I reenabled comment moderation on my blog. So far Akismet has marked 149 comments as spam. I’d like to delete the actual spam by checking all comments, unchecking the few that are legitimate, and then deleting all checked comments.
But because the Comments list is paginated and only shows 20 comments at a time, I’m going to have to do that eight times (for now; this burden is ongoing).
Modern browsers load and display content incrementally, which means that a long list becomes usable long before a browser finishes loading it. And browsers load content fast over high-speed connections. And browser features like Find in Page make it productive to load all content into one page (I can type Ctrl-F and a search string much faster than I can find and use the search field embedded into WordPress pages).
I understand the value of pagination for the user-facing pages of commercial websites, where more pages means more page views (and thus more ad impressions). But that value doesn’t exist for admin pages.
Therefore, I’d really like to be able to turn off pagination for those pages and see one long list of posts, comments, users, etc.
I finally figured out a decent way to despam the 56 posts on our installation (which accumulated a significant amount of spam before we locked down commenting with moderation). It involved working around pagination as follows:
1. Go to the Edit Posts page and select a post to despam.
2. Search in the page for the “Show more comments” link (which appears at the bottom of the Discussions section) and load it. Repeat until the link no longer appears in the page. This results in all comments being loaded into the page, so you can review them all at once.
3. Scroll to the top of the list of comments. Read through them from top to bottom (oldest to newest), clicking the “Spam” link for the ones that are spam (the link appears in the comment when you mouse over it).
Note: If you have to load the URL associated with a comment to determine whether or not it’s spam, load it in a new tab; if you load it in the existing tab and then go back to the Edit Post page, it will refresh itself, undoing the results of the “Show more comments” links you clicked.
This is another example of how pagination hinders rather than helps a common task. If all comments were loaded into the Edit Post page (or if there were a separate page listing all comments for the post), you wouldn’t have to repeatedly find and click the Show more comments link to get all comments loaded into the page, and you wouldn’t run the risk of messing it up and having to redo that whole process because you loaded a link to another page and then went back.