Plug-in Weirdness [UPDATED]

Some upgrade-related wonkiness.

The backend of the site has undergone a series of WordPress updates recently. Apparently, this has caused issues with one or more commenting-related plug-ins.

I gather from Steven Taylor and some comments that,

  • Comment editing isn’t working? I’m not having issues but maybe that’s a function of administrative privileges.
  • The ability to subscribe to comments is broken? The plugin we’ve been using for more than a decade hasn’t been updated in five years and I gather it stopped working recently. I replaced it with a successor that has 20,000+ installations and very high ratings but, alas, it doesn’t seem to populating the Subscribe box.

Is there something else new that’s happening?

IT support for bug fixes is time-consuming and expensive, so I’m trying to do more of it myself. Still, I don’t want basic functionality to disappear.

UPDATE (9/22 1044): I believe I’ve activated the “subscribe to comments” checkbox. It required inserting code into the comments.php file. Let me know if it’s not working correctly, as I automatically receive comments on my posts via a built-in feature.

UPDATE (9/22 1055): The comment editing plugin we’ve been using for years is no longer being updated. I’ve installed a newer, less feature-rich version for testing purposes. Let me know how it works. There don’t seem to be a lot of plugins in the WordPress database with this functionality.

UPDATE (9/22 1103): Alas, the longstanding Comment Preview plugin likewise hasn’t been updated in 9 years. Given that it doesn’t work, I’ve deactivated it. There does not seem to be a viable replacement.

UPDATE (9/22 1109): I have installed a plugin that should theoretically fix the issues that sporadically appear wherein new comments don’t appear until a subsequent comment is posted. Let me know if it creates any bugs.

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. Kylopod says:

    As I mentioned, I haven’t been receiving regular email updates of threads where I posted. But curiously, a couple of days ago I did receive a few such emails–though they were in a different format than the standard emails I’m used to, and they seemed almost random. I’ve been having that same issue with Disqus for more than a year–I don’t regularly get email updates of responses to my comments like I used to, but every now and then they appear in my inbox, sometimes for comments days or weeks old, with no apparent rhyme or reason.

  2. flat earth luddite says:

    Aside from my usual thumb-fingered inability to add links to comments (which I attribute to user error), I’ve noticed lately that any attempt to edit a comment (typos, etc.) is automatically flagged as spam.

  3. Mister Bluster says:

    I attempted to edit my 11:51 comment in Kingdaddy’s More On Expanding The Supreme Court thread just a few minutes after it posted, well within the edit window and received a message that I was “not allowed to edit this comment.”

    I have successfully edited other comments since then.
    I will attempt to edit this comment to test the edit function.

    Edit function works now.

  4. CSK says:

    “Click to edit” works fine for me. “Preview” hasn’t worked since the server switch a few years ago. I frequently get email notices of follow-up comments when I’ve never asked for them.

    I also fairly frequently get “edit” and “delete” buttons appearing under other people’s comments. I tested one, and “edit” doesn’t work, so that’s not a big problem.

    I would really prefer not to receive 100 emails notifying me of a new comment on a thread.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    I haven’t had problems editing comments. (Safari on OS X, iOS and iPad OS) However, for a while I was getting randomly signed up to receive comments despite not clicking that box. That no longer seems to be happening. When it was, I was unable to get to the page to turn it off. I’ll check the box on this comment and let you know what happens.

    Oh wait. There is no checkbox anymore.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    Preview still not working.

    BTW, thanks for the effort!

  7. wr says:

    FYI I’ve had no technical problems at all. And thanks for putting in the work to make this blog possible!

  8. SKI says:

    No ability to subscribe to get email comments and no emailed comments on threads I’ve posted on.

    Noticed a few weeks ago that the link to manage subscribed threads was no longer available.

  9. charon says:

    I no longer get emails of new comments, and there is no check box to request them.

    Edit function still seems to be working for me though.

    ETA: I am using Chrome on a Win 10 desktop.

  10. Not the IT Dept. says:

    The “Click to Edit” and “Remove” keys appear quite often in the threads that I’m reading, and most of the time the posts are not the most recent ones. I thought that was only supposed to happen to my own posts. I’ve mentioned it before, but it has become quite common in the last few weeks.

    I have, by the way, never taken advantage of my apparent ability to edit or remove other people’s posts.

  11. CSK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:
    You probably can’t. The same thing happens to me. I can only edit my own comments.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I don’t know what the term “subscribe to comments” means (and probably don’t care) but I’m not experiencing any problems with the site that are not features of my loss of fine motor control. I notice that on some comments that I write, a box that reads something to the effect of “Check here to receive email notifications” is pre checked, but I see no evidence that it has done anything to my email spam level. For what it’s worth, that check box is currently missing from this particular screen set.

    @CSK: I opened up someone else’s comment once to see if I could and it worked for me that one time. Didn’t write anything, though. Haven’t ever checked again.

  13. Michael Cain says:

    Having done some maintenance work on a WordPress site, and rewritten a substantial plugin as part of that, I can only remark that WordPress with PHP, CSS, themes, and plugins have managed to recreate all of the development nightmares of the 1990s.

  14. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Everyone appears to have different glitches.

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Every time I see the edit button under one of Teve’s comments, I try to an apostrophe error, and it has never let me.

    Which is fine. I should really only be able to edit my own comments, which I sometimes do.

    I get the prechecked “subscribe to updates” sometimes. Although that is missing now.

    For a creaky old WordPress site it seems fine. Fine-ish.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t have any complaints about the site.

  17. James Joyner says:

    Testing as un-logged user.

    Woohoo. Editing seems to work.

    But not Preview.

  18. James Joyner says:

    Another test as an unlogged user.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    James Joyner. Military Genius. Perfect Father. And now… The Web Master!

  20. MarkedMan says:

    BTW, no longer seeing a choice to edit my comments.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    Test A-1

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    Test A-2
    No “EDIT” button. Just “Post Comment”.
    I will now proofread my posts 20 times before I post instead of 15.
    (Not that it will help any.)

    The click to edit function hs suddenly appeared!

  23. MarkedMan says:

    Testing on Edge browser to see if I get “edit” function

  24. MarkedMan says:

    I did not. By the way, I notice there is a “Reply” function. Has it always been there?

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    Test B-1
    I’m going to see how long it takes for edit function to appear.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    Let me clarify that last question. I thought the “Reply” function was in a different place. Or has it always been on the far right hand side and I’m just oblivious?

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..Has it always been there?


  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:…Test B-1.01

    No more bold. No more italics. No more block quote.
    The edit function has vanished.

    Who is feeding the squirrels?

  29. James Joyner says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    No more bold. No more italics. No more block quote.
    The edit function has vanished.

    Hmm. I’m seeing all of them and they seem to be functional. I’m using the latest Edge Chromium build as a non-logged user.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..I thought the “Reply” function was in a different place.

    You don’t really expect me to remember the what the format of this comment thread looked like just a few hours ago do you?
    I have signs posted all over my home just to remind me to take my medication every day (1 pill) including inside the front door and I still get outside without taking it.

  31. James Joyner says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Mister Bluster: The comment Reply feature is from yet another plugin. So far as I can tell, it’s working fine and I haven’t done anything to change it.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @James Joyner:..@Mister Bluster: @Mister Bluster:

    I was replying to Marked Man re: Reply feature.

    I can now see b i link and


    And edit has reappeared.

    I am about to hit “Post Comment”.

    I wonder what will happen?

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    Test: NCC-1701

    One thing that has not changed. I can still give myself an up vote!

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    When I made my most recent post, Test: NCC-1701, I hit the Post Comment button and my comment posted but it did not appear in the format I used. No block quote. And no click to edit.
    When I scrolled down to the next comment box it was there but all the functions bold, ital. etc. had vanished.
    So I reloaded the page and everything reappeared.

    Let’s see what happens this time when I click “Post Comment”.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    Looks like if functions are missing they might reappear after reloading the page. Then again they might not.
    Edit function is gone again after several page reloads.

    Edit has reappeared again.

  36. CSK says:

    I still have to refresh the page to get the most recent comments.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    Another test. Definitely see bilinkquote in Safari for iPad OD

  38. MarkedMan says:

    I see bilinkquote in both Chrome and Edge in Windows 10

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Here’s a test:

    Person Woman Man Camera TV
    Bell Book Candle
    One Potato Two Potato
    Legislative Executive Judicial

  40. Mu Yixiao says:

    Chrome on Fedora Linux
    + AdBlock Plus (nothing blocked)
    + Privacy Badger (two cookies from ShareThis blocked)
    + ScriptSafe (nothing blocked)

    I’m a WP user (since v1.x when you had to manually build the database!) so I understand your situation. Not complaining, just providing information.

    1) The “edit” feature isn’t showing up for me.
    2) When I submitted a 2nd comment (replying to someone), the formatting buttons disappeared. But reappeared after it was submitted.

    Hope this helps with the troubleshooting.

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    looking for edit function

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..looking for edit function

    There it is. Took one click of “post comment” and then reload page.
    There are still 9+ minutes left on the edit function on my 19:58 post
    I wonder if they will still be there after I post this comment

    I am now editing my 20:03 comment
    Edit function appeared here after post comment and reload page

    Also edit function vanished on my 19:58 post when I posted this comment and reappeared when I reloaded page