[wp-hackers] Ping and Privacy - misleading choices in Blog Visibility

Marci O'Daffer marci at odaffer.net
Wed Jun 13 16:56:41 GMT 2007

I have searched the archives, but I have not found any discussion here
about the privacy options for "blog visibility" in WP. I am curious if
anyone has heard concern about the wording of these options as being
misleading to a new blogger, or someone using WP as a CMS?

I have seen many posts on the Support forum from new users about how
to stop Yahoo, Google, etc from crawling one's blog, and even a thread
from experienced users about the privacy issues of ping-o-matic being
a default setting
(http://wordpress.org/support/topic/88417?replies=13), so I'm
surprised it is still being set by default in newer versions.

There is now an option during installation to set the privacy options,
but I think this is really misleading to a newbie. Even with my two
years of experience hacking WP, and probably 30+ installs, when I
first saw this option I was unsure if it was related to pinging, or if
it was something new that might create/modify a robots.txt file. It
sounded more like the latter.

>> I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search
engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers

>> I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors

The wording of these options addresses search engines -- blocking or
allowing them -- and says nothing about pings or Ping-O-Matic. The
term "archivers" is only well-known in blogging circles, and doesn't
stand out as anything special to a new blogger, or someone installing
WP to be used as a CMS.

I also find it confusing (from the perspective of a new user) that
this Blog Visibility is a whole new section of admin, separate from
the Options --> Reading (V) Update Services choices. And there is no
reference to Update services in this section at all. There is a
reference back here if you disable it -- in Update Services, you are
informed that no pinging is happening because of your Privacy

What about the person who does want their site crawled by search
engines ultimately, but assumes quite naturally that won't happen
until he gets some content and activity? This comes across at the
point of installation as a simple yes or no question, when really
there is much more to it that the user does not understand.

If someone new to WP doesn't get around to checking out all the
options, and just starts happily blogging (as he is encouraged to do
by the WP installation interface :)) he would probably not realize
that he is pinging Ping-O-Matic every time he hits "Publish".

It seems to me that new users should be informed of exactly what this
all means if they are being given the option during set up,
considering that their very first post (or even a test modification to
the Hello World post) gets immediately published to ping-o-matic
without their permission or knowledge. I would also think that with
all the security issues under discussion, having Ping-O-Matic DISabled
by default would be a much better choice. This seems like a serious
security issue to me, but most average users (the ones who clicked a
one-step installation button in Fantastico and started blogging.....)
probably don't even know it's there.

I would very much like to hear the thoughts and opinions of others on
this topic.

Marci :)

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