Comment Editing Redux

Continuing to work an annoying issue that WordPress doesn't care about. At all.

So, apparently, registering doesn’t solve the problem. WordPress simply isn’t built around commenting, despite having been around almost 20 years.

My WordPress expert has suggested that I delete one specific plugin and look at all of the commenting plugins, of which I’ve inactivated one. Let’s see if that helps.

lf nothing else, there may be a different solution for those who have already registered (the BuddyPress system). But let’s see if this helps.

UPDATE: I have no idea why so many comments are going to moderation all of a sudden. Maybe it’s the WordFence plugin. I’ll keep an eye out, although I’ll be in the office most of the day.

I also temporarily(?) de-activated the Comments Like/Dislike plugin as part of the ongoing experimentation to see why the Comment Editing plugin isn’t loading consistently. If it’s the culprit, it’ll go away. Otherwise, I’ll bring it back if folks miss it.

UPDATE II: Bumping this to the top.

Whatever hiccup was causing comments to go into moderation seems to be over.

As best I can tell—having tried on multiple browsers as a logged-in Subscriber and as a logged-out user—the edit function seems to be showing up every single time now with a 15-minute timer. Let me know if that’s not your experience.

If it’s fixed, the culprit was the plugin that allows folks to give a thumbs up to other comments. It never did what I hoped it would—send a signal to commenters that a particular comment was a distraction or otherwise not a valuable addition to the conversation—but rather a reward for writing something with which others agreed. It might, however, have provided a release valve more useful than everyone piling onto a bad comment. If enough folks want it back, I can probably find an alternative.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mister Bluster says:

    To assist in this experiment on this thread should we be registered on the new system?
    I currently have not yet done that.

    ETA: success

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    Just made the above post at 18:14 and got the EDIT key when I hit Post Comment the first time.

    ETA: I’ll stop now.

  3. charontwo says:

    Test for edit.

  4. charontwo says:

    Test for edit.

  5. charontwo says:

    You are right, I still do not get an edit key. Closing the tab then reopening worked yesterday, but not today.

  6. charontwo says:


    I got an edit key for that post though, so kind of erratic.

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    Just made a post on today’s Forum and got the EDIT key on the first click of the
    Post Comment key.

    ETA: Again the EDIT key appears when I posted this comment.
    I can only speculate that not being registered with the new system has anything to do with it.
    This may all change any time.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    I just want to say thank you, for either taking our minor annoyance seriously, or for so annoyed at the repeated kvetching about comment edits that you hit a breaking point.

    Either way please don’t think your efforts are going unappreciated.

    Now, moving on to our next demands regarding gif functionality and, this one is most important, emoji implementation…

    ETA: just bragging that I can edit this. Look at me, editing away, la la la. Ya’ll probably didn’t even see my airing of grievances toward half the commentariot. Even I admit my remarks about de stijl’s taste in music went too far.

  9. Beth says:

    Just here to add a hearty, you guys rule! Cause you do.

  10. CSK says:

    OTB is the best.

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    @Neil Hudelson:..demands

    I think that we should be able to embed cat videos in our comments. Cats and kittens.

    No dogs, birds or turtles. Just kitties.

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Even I admit my remarks about de stijl’s taste in music went too far.

    I would stay that I am jealous of his taste, but really, he should be jealous of mine. He has to seek out weird eclectic things to give him enough of a jolt, while I can listen to the same Deep Purple album over and over.

    ETA: I’m a little jealous.

    ETA2: Edit link shows up for me without a refresh. Posting is super-slow though. I’m wondering if the “registered accounts” make WordPress do a lot more work.

  13. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    While I appreciate the effort (and I do!), I suspect that I’ll just keep Luddite-ing along, mumbling under my breath at my inability to learn new tricks.

    ETA even though I think/suspect that I am registered. {Insert eyeroll emoji here}

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I keep wondering if the problem is that from the very beginning of my acquaintance with blogging, everybody was telling me “The really great thing about blogging is that spelling and grammar don’t matter all that much.*”

    *And the bloggers I knew were teachers/tutors of English that I met while I was in Korea. 😛

    ETA: And I got an edit link WITHOUT EVEN ASKING FOR ONE! Yee haw!

    ETA2: Maybe the people who comment here are too perfectionistic?

    ETA3: I REALLY shoulda played Powerball today. If only I knew where lottery outlets are. 🙁

  15. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Me, sitting here watching everybody play Edit Button Bingo, and laughing. Just waiting for de Stijl to show up. 😛 😛

    Just for the record, I now have an edit button, and I haven’t registered. And it’s AFTER 5 PM!!! The edit button usually clocks off right around 3 pm Eastern Time!

  16. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Thanks for the effort, James.

  17. James Joyner says:

    @Mister Bluster: Alas, as best I can tell, registration without site authorship permission doesn’t allow users to edit their comments. (I briefly uninstalled the editing plugin but reactivated it after a couple of hours.)

  18. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:

    I can edit, and I haven’t registered. But my like button has vanished.

  19. tester123 says:

    Just trying this thing out again

  20. tester123 says:

    Got the edit button

  21. tester123 says:

    Got it yet again.

  22. tester123 says:

    Either a coincidence that I’ve gotten the edit button four times in a row or the thumbs up plugin was the culprit

  23. CSK says:


    I was getting the thumbs-up sign as well as the edit button prior to this.

  24. tester123 says:

    Trying again quite a while later

    ……and got the edit button!

    ……and got it again!

    ……and again!

    …..and again!

    …..and again!

    I think I’m calling this thing fixed.

  25. James Joyner says:

    Different browser (Edge). Not logged in.

    Got the edit function!
    …..and again!
    …..and again!
    …..and again!
    …..and again!
    …..and again!

  26. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Like a dog on a bone!!!
    Thanks again for the effort.

  27. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    But…I’m still going to moderation…

  28. James Joyner says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: No idea what the deal is. It’s a you-specific problem. You’re going into moderation, not spam, so it’s not the spam filter. There’s nothing in the commenting settings that you’re obviously tripping. I logged you out of your Subscriber account (since registration doesn’t actually solve the editing problem) to see if that helps.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    …allows folks to give a thumbs up… It never did what I hoped it would—send a signal to commenters that a particular comment was a distraction or otherwise not a valuable addition to the conversation—but rather a reward for writing something with which others agreed.

    I never realized that sending a signal related to distraction or valuelessness of a comment was your goal in that button. Especially considering that everyone called it “the like button” and thumbs up is kind of a universal symbol of approval. That said, I have no suggestion beyond using the flagging system for disruptive comments that I’ve seen at other sites–but that one only tells the moderator that people disapprove, not the readers of the comments.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    But…I’m still going to moderation…

    That’s because we know what you’ve done {looks over glasses}.

  31. James Joyner says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: There was a lot of discussion when the feature was implemented but that was a long time ago. I even had the buttons labeled something like “Helpful” and “Unhelpful.” I eventually just gave up and left the option to upvote but not downvote.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mu Yixiao:..

    Mu Yixiao says:
    Wednesday, 24 May 2023 at 14:02
    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    But…I’m still going to moderation…

    That’s because we know what you’ve done {looks over glasses}.

    In lieu of the Thumbs Up icon for the recent Mu Yixiao remark may I propose:
    HA! HA! HA! HA!HA! HA! HA! HA!

    ETA: Now that the EDIT key is working a poster has 15 minutes to add or subtract HA!s.

  33. Andy says:

    Thanks for the work on this.

    As for the like button, I’m on record here, going back at least a decade, that I’m not a fan, and I haven’t changed my mind on that. But I realize I’m probably in the minority and don’t really have a strong opinion. Given a choice, I’d much rather have a reliable edit function than a like function.

  34. Andy says:

    Another thing that would be nice is for registered users to be able to use more than two links in a comment without going into moderation. But I don’t think this is possible without using a special plugin, unfortunately.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    @Andy:..Given a choice, I’d much rather have a reliable edit function than a like function.

    Upon reading your comment my cursor immediately jumped over to where the Thumbs Up used to be.
    Oh well.

    One LIKE for Andy’s 14:13 post today.

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    @Andy:..more than two links in a comment

    I have routinely placed 3 links in comments in the past.
    I am using Safari 12.1.2 on my MacBook Air.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    First Link

    Second Link

    Third Link

    I’m not going to try four as the whole OTB site might blow up!

  38. Gustopher says:

    @Andy: The like button is a friendly reminder to me that no one likes when I go on a long, rambling, pointless tangent about Space: 1999.

    ETA: I suspect that any scientific advisors the show brought on were homeschooled.

  39. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: Three links has always been doable (including anyone you reply to, since that’s a link)

    I believe that @Andy either was not mentioning the reply-to link, or had taught himself to use two as it was otherwise apparently random.

    Otherwise, it will kick you into moderation like @daryl and his brother darryl (although he is in moderation for different, ominous reasons, as @Mu Yixiao points out.

    And then @James Joyner has to fish them out of the moderated pool, unless it is all working now.

    Anyway, this has five links, just like in the famous Star Trek episode.

    ETA: huh, it posted fine. Either it now works or I was wildly wrong.

    ETA: the non-deterministic nature of the site has everyone seeing patterns that aren’t there.

  40. Mu Yixiao says:


    I believe replies do not count as links, since they’re internal.

  41. Sleeping Dog says:

    Thanks for your efforts.

    If the trade off is, the edit function appears or the like button ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    The only thing that I’ve noticed, as previously mentioned, is the refresh being slow, but my wife has been telling me that I need to practice my patience (unsuccessfully), we’ll survive that. 😉

  42. Scott says:

    Personally, I like the Like button. I consider it the equivalent of a thumbs up to a pho0ne text. Basically, an acknowledgement without the necessity or requirement of a reply.

  43. Andy says:

    @Mister Bluster and @Gustopher

    Interesting, I’ve long been in the habit of only using two links so I didn’t catch that change.

  44. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    While I miss the “thumbs up” button, I’m just happy to be allowed here in the sandbox. And I appreciate the effort this madhouse takes, and the amount of time our hosts invest.

    ETA, I really appreciate the example of why I don’t learn/use WordPress. Seems like it’d be just as frustrating as walking to computer lab with my box of punch cards at 3:07 a.m. for my assigned time on the magic box. Or DisplayWrite on 8″ floppies, Dictaphones, and fishing the 8-track tape out of my car’s tape deck. Seriously, thanks, Dr. J!

    ETA 2 – Oooooh, an edit button. Shiny!

  45. Scott says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Seems like it’d be just as frustrating as walking to computer lab with my box of punch cards at 3:07 a.m. for my assigned time on the magic box.

    Ah, yes. Fond memories of 1975 when the box was dropped in the rain while getting out of the car.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: There was a time people other than me were convinced they did.

    I place no faith in correlations between what people think this site does, and what it actually does. We’re all trying to make sense of the unknowable.

  47. CSK says:


    I agree. Sometimes I have nothing to add, but just want to show I appreciate the comment.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    James? I don’t care. Back when the spam bots had it in for me, you and Doug always made sure my comments posted up. When in doubt, I always go with the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t be afraid to do the same. Those of us who love this space will stick around no matter what, and those of us who are just here for the lulz…

    Who tf cares?

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    If we hear that @Joyner has blown his brains out, we’ll know why.

  50. Ol Natq says:

    One of the reasons I don’t comment is that I still haven’t figured out all the things to begin with. But regardless, this made my day! Thank you all!

    EDIT: can edit, didn’t go to moderation even though it said I did, and I can’t edit the q out of my name. Sigh.

  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    when the box was dropped in the rain while getting out of the car.

    I was complimented by my instructor for being smart enough to mark a pattern on the top of the cards in the shoebox just in case …

    He asked the rest of the erstwhile programmers why the chem major was the only one who thought of it.

  52. JohnSF says:

    Is is working? Is it? Is it?

    Well done Professor Joyner for plunging boldly into the jungly undergrowth of WordPress!

    Edit function seems to be up and running.


    What fun! Now just need to remember to read through to spot my usual typing/spelling/grammar mistakes.
    I assume the register to edit solution is now binned?

  53. The Lounsbury says:

    What is registering supposed to do? Is one supposed to see something different than the normal commnet box (which for me is what is showing, nary a sign of a registered identity)…

  54. James Joyner says:

    @JohnSF: @The Lounsbury: Unfortunately, while being registered always allowed front-pagers to edit their comments organically, there is shockingly no separation between commenting in posting inside the WordPress architecture. And only one plugin that addresses that issue. So, there’s no real use in being registered.

  55. The Lounsbury says:

    @James Joyner: It is perhaps worth noting that Kevin Drum blog is WordPress and whatever set-up he has there, I have a Lounsbury login that functions to log me into commenting (and nothing more). I have no clue as to what PlugIn or whatever he may have and of course people also constantly whinge on about comment functionality etc (no pleasing people) but at least login & identity function.

    Perhaps Drum would give some insight, could perhaps be of utility – presuming as a hobbyist or “non pro” as he is now that this has a running chance of being relevant and within reason for you.

  56. James Joyner says:

    @The Lounsbury: Interesting. I’ll see if he still responds to the last email I have for him. The edit button seems to be working right now, anyway, but it would be good to find a workaround.