As a new user of WordPress I feel the need to report on my new user experience… in particular, the most frustrating part of that experience, Ping-o-Matic.
So far I really like WordPress, but I wish I would have removed Ping-o-Matic from the list of Update Services before I posted my first entry. Better yet, I wish it hadn’t been enabled by default.
Imagine yourself as a new user. You’ve installed WordPress, and to test it out you post your first entry… “I’ve installed WordPress, w00t!” You take a well-deserved rest, and the next morning you find your inbox flooded with a dozen announcements that someone has posted a comment to your weblog — all of them spam. You spend the next week shoring up your weblog’s defenses. You change your settings, you install plugins, you edit the comment-post script to check that an entry exists before posting a comment to it, you change the name of your commenting script… you hack, and you hack, and you hack WordPress, wondering all the time if you’ll remember what changes you made when the next upgrade is released.
I think Ping-o-Matic is a good service. I know I’ll use it once I’m ready to promote my weblog. But it shouldn’t be enabled on WordPress by default. As soon as that first ping goes out, it can’t be undone. And believe me, the spammers have a better idea how WordPress works than a new user does. Please, remove the Ping-o-Matic entry from the Upgrade Functions script. It can only frustrate new users and give Ping-o-Matic a bad reputation.
When users are ready to promote their site, after they’ve set up protection against comment spam, it’s so easy to add Ping-o-Matic to the list of Update Services. The URI is right there at the top of WordPress’ list of recommended services. Or, add an option to the Writing Options submenu that would need to be switched on in order to enable Update Services… that way you can still keep Ping-o-Matic bundled with WordPress while protecting new users from an influx of comment spam at a time when they’re not prepared to fight it.
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