WordPress Apparently Messing With Commenting Ability


Over the last few days I’ve been getting people complaining that WordPress isn’t letting them comment because it says their e-mail address is associated with a WordPress account, and they need to sign in at WordPress, etc.

To be clear: I don’t know why that’s happening and it has nothing to do with how I’m running the site; on my end I have the same comment policy I’ve always had. This is possibly down to WordPress deciding to implement some internal dictum regarding people who have WordPress accounts, whether they remember that they do or not.

If you’re having this particular problem making a comment with your usual e-mail address, your options are signing into WordPress so it can authenticate you; using your Twitter or Facebook account to sign in and comment; or putting in a new e-mail address (real or not), not associated with WordPress, so it doesn’t bug you about it further.

I do apologize for this apparently arbitrary and silly thing that has nothing to do with me other than that I am hosted on WordPress, which I otherwise find a fine hosting option. I’ll look into it.

Update, 9pm: Matt Mullenweg of WordPress has an update in the comment thread.

22 Comments on “WordPress Apparently Messing With Commenting Ability”

  1. Incidentally, changing your email address in WP doesn’t seem to help – it’s what they suggested, and I tried it. I now have 2 email addresses nagging me to log into an account I can log in to but not comment through.

    However, WP help page did say it might take a while for the change to be felt – perhaps 24 hours and a different computer aren’t enough.

  2. As one of the people who complained, I’ll add four things.

    1. There wasn’t any notification when they rolled out this “feature,” so it comes across as high handed, especially the part about erasing the comment after sending that little note about logging in. Worse, after I logged in in the evening and kept my browser running all night, in the morning they gave me exactly the same BS treatment. Do you have to log in every single day? Someone should confirm this.
    2. I’m still waiting to hear back from WordPress after I contacted them about it.
    3. If you tweak your email address slightly, even to an address that doesn’t exist, the system will accept your comment without a quibble. This strikes me as the dumbest part of the whole exercise, because it gives an active incentive for WordPress people to lie, just to avoid the inconvenience of logging in on a different website before they visit here to comment.

    Thanks for giving this some visibility, John. If other people are having this problem, let’s give WordPress a bit of negative feedback about it, shall we?

  3. I encountered this on another blog yesterday. My reaction was, “What, another site wants to track me? Oh well.” I logged in.

  4. Argh. I had that problem with WP.com a while back, because I foolishly *HAD* associated one of my email addresses with a website I was building (in order to try out their Jetpack plugin as I was working on development), and then after I became *cough* disassociated with that project, I suddenly couldn’t log in to my WP.com account anymore! It took multiple emails explaining the problem in words of one syllable to their support folks (bless their hearts) before I finally got through to them that I wanted to either (a) break the link between the WP.com account and the defunct website or (b) delete the WP.com account entirely so I could start over from scratch. When they finally actually listened to me, as opposed to giving me the canned, “you’re an idiot and you have to log in on [defunct website],” response, it all got fixed.

    Moral of the story: (1) implement the Jetpack functions as separate plugins instead of the big umbrella plugin, so I don’t have to tie a WP.com account to a website for functions that don’t require it, and (2) if I DO need to do make that connection, use a throwaway email address for the WP.com account.

    Live and learn.

  5. I actually don’t have a problem with this (I’m “TomG” above), and I do have a WP website. This doesn’t seem to be “you can’t comment AT ALL unless you are signed in”, So aside from a minor inconvenience of logging out of WordPress if I really don’t want a comment associated with my website, it isn’t stopping me at all.
    (But of course, I’m only speaking for myself here)

    Now, there’s a tech blog I like a lot that requires me to be signed in at Facebook (or make an account on the tech shite) in order to make any comment. That’s much more annoying.

  6. I’m having the same issues with my WP blog so since I’m a lazy skank, I’m going to reblog your post.

  7. Reblogged this on mccrabass and commented:
    I’m having the same issue, and since I’m a lazy broad at times, I’m going to allow Mr. Scalzi to do the talking for me.

  8. I think that some of it has to do with the merger of Gravatar into WordPress. I didn’t have a WordPress account (I use a different username (same display name) for those.) This link is coming off of my having had a Gravatar account. I’d rather that WordPress would give up on this, and take away the frame that your comment page appears in.

    *Perhaps I -did- have a WordPress account, and meant it for a throwaway.

  9. It is kinda cute, how it puts a 20×20 reduction of my Gravatar in that bar, just over and cutting off the top of the 40×40 Gravatar image. I think there’s one pixel of light blue above the interior crossbar of the “a” in “htom says:”.

  10. Closer examination shows the 20×20 image is something else, my Gravatar 30×30 is over by the right end of the screen-wasting bar.

  11. In my case it is a gravatar account linked to the email I’ve been using across general sites. I mostly stopped using that because it insisted on putting wrong information in log-in boxes.

    After some struggle it seems to work now, with the drawback that I’m logged into wordpress, ah well let’s see how things work out.

  12. I’m running into the same problem on my WordPress blog. The only thing that seems to work for me is to access a WP blog through my blogroll. It then allows comments where going through a bookmark or logging in with the WP icon below the comment box doesn’t.

  13. Matt – In 2002 I started contributing to Open Source software, and life has just gotten better from there. Co-founder of WordPress, founder Automattic.

    Sorry for the troubles, we’re working on making the process a bit smoother and have also fixed a few bugs already.

    For folks that say it has the wrong information, you just need to edit your profile (hover over your name in top right, click edit profile) to whatever you want to appear next to your comment, including the URL, name, and image. Thinking of ways to make this more apparent.

  14. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang R. Terhune

    Weird. Well i just logged in via Facebook. Serves me ok.

  15. You could start by not flushing the content of the comment when you hijack the process for your login demand.

    The hijack message could include directions to the link for changing things in your account, bypassing the login, … it all seems to have been designed and written for those “behind the curtain”, not for those of us out in the audience. “iso spot sup pink DR” might make sense to a stage lighting technician, but most people won’t translate that into “isolated spotlight surprise pink filter down right” — or understand what that means.

  16. As htom noted, this is a result of Gravatar linking your account to WordPress (and every other site on the internet). You can log-in using your Gravatar account.

    If that doesn’t work or you don’t remember signing up for a Gravatar account, just go to the WordPress site and find the link to let them know you forgot your password and enter the email the error message told you is already linked to a WordPress account. They auto-email you a link to reset it and you can make the password whatever you like. Remember to use letters, numbers and characters to block spambots’ dictionary attacks.

    Hope that helps.

  17. Hey, I’m so impressed. WordPress got back to me!

    Okay, that was sarcastic. Anyway, their message was effectively, “sorry this frustrates you. Maybe you should use a different email address when you comment.” AFAIK, They want their customers to lie to them about who they talk to among their other customers. Works for me.

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