[wp-hackers] Making Updates Friendlier?

Steven Rossi SuperMoonMan at gmail.com
Wed Sep 9 20:53:13 UTC 2009

I tried to read past discussions on this to make sure that I wasn't
repeating anything that has already been said. That said, I'm thinking that
the wp-announce mailing list might not be the best way to do this, at least
not in a format similar to the wp-hackers/wp-docs mailing lists. I'd like to
see something clean and presentable to the public, more "newsletter" than
"mailing list," if that distinction makes sense. I'm thinking of Apple's
product announcement emails and how they're short and to the point but also
informative. Something like that might benefit the average user of Wordpress
(I'm assuming here that the average user is the real target since the more
advanced user will likely have already heard about and applied the update).
I'm in favor, therefore, of the option during installation to sign up to
receive updates of new releases. I also agree with Dougal that it should be
opt-out rather than opt-in, increasing the likelihood that novice users will
check to receive updates.

Also (and now we're getting more complex), I'm wondering if there shouldn't
be some sort of check after an arbitrary number of days/weeks to make sure
that the Wordpress administrator has in fact installed the latest version.
I'm thinking that in addition to that (somewhat useless) bar on the top of
the admin screen, WP should check 2 weeks after any release to see if the
latest version is being used. If it's not, the administrator would receive
an email saying something to the effect of, "You still haven't updated!" You
get my drift.

Just some thoughts I'm throwing out there.

Steven Rossi

On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 1:38 PM, Dougal Campbell <dougal at gunters.org> wrote:

> On Sep 9 2009 1:05 PM, Jeremy Clarke wrote:
>> On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 10:56 AM, Hacker Scot<shacker at birdhouse.org>
>>  wrote:
>>> On Sep 9, 2009, at 5:00 AM, wp-hackers-request at lists.automattic.comwrote:
>>> This is something the Drupal world gets right, IMO. Lots of security
>>> information consolidated here: http://drupal.org/security also available
>>> as
>>> RSS feeds and ALSO available as email. I subscribed to the emails for a
>>> while and was really impressed that they covered not just core but issues
>>> with 3rd party Drupal modules as well.  This kind of thing could have a
>>> huge
>>> security benefit for WP.
>> Not sure who's in charge of it but WP's updates email list is
>> completely desolate most of the time. It should have strongly worded
>> terrifying emails when there are security updates. As it is its pretty
>> neglected, and IMHO the dashboard feed just doesn't replace it. Lots
>> of people use WP casually, and the once or twice a month they log in
>> they don't have time to read everything on the dashboard.
> This is a good point. When was the last time that the 'wp-announce' mailing
> list was actually used to notify people of a new WP version? I can't find
> the archives, and I sure can't remember it happening anytime recently. I
> vaguely recall Matt sending *something* to the announce list a few versions
> back, but I'd probably have to grep through a few gigabytes of old emails to
> find it.
> I think it would be great if part of the installation procedure for a new
> WordPress site was to add a checkbox (checked by default) prompting the user
> to opt-in to the wp-announce mailing list. This would be on the same screen
> that asks for the initial administrator email address. It could give a short
> message explaining that the mailing list is very low volume (typically less
> than one message per month), it will only be used to send important update
> information, and that the email address will not be shared with
> third-parties (etc.).
> Then (and this is the key), actually USE the wp-announce mailing list for
> what it's there for. Make it part of the standard procedure checklist for
> new releases. In fact, there should probably be an announcement at the first
> Beta and Release Candidate milestones, as well (not every interim beta and
> rc, just the initial "hey, we're beta testing, you might want to start your
> own tests to get ready for the new version", and "hey, we've reached release
> candidate stage, things should be pretty stable, and we're trying to knock
> out the last few bugs before official release").
> AND, when a security issue becomes known, an announcement should be made,
> as well. I know that opinions vary on exactly *when* security issues should
> be announced: as soon as known -- even before a patch is available, or only
> after a patch is ready for the public? I don't think this is the time or
> place for that discussion, but I think making the announcements by email as
> well as via the dev blog (and thus the dashboard news) is important. I think
> there are more people than we might think who hardly glance at the
> dashboard. Maybe the news blocks in their dashboard are just "below the
> fold" and they don't see it. Maybe they actively ignore it (do a search for
> "dashboard" in the plugin repository and take note of how many mention
> turning off the news feeds). Maybe they're just old-school and prefer email,
> and miss the days of Usenet. Whatever the case, I think that adding email
> announcements has got to be a Good Thing. And it could pretty easily be
> automated. Just set up the Dev Blog to relay any posts made in the
> "Announcements" category, or something like that.
> (And BTW, I think there are a lot of things that the WordPress and Drupal
> communities can learn from each other. Both have a lot of good points to
> them that the other could borrow. I might have a blog post about that later,
> if I can find the time.)
> --
> Dougal Campbell <dougal at gunters.org>
> http://dougal.gunters.org/
> http://twitter.com/dougal
> http://twitual.com/
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