May 10, 2011

The Other WordPress News box needs work

In the WordPress Dashboard, which is the summary page that greets you every time you log in to your WordPress admin area, you have a bunch of boxes. These are widgets, you can move them around and even hide them using the Screen Options tab in the top right, which is good.

One of the default Dashboard widgets is the Other WordPress News box that pulls updates from various sites online and present links to them. It is a good idea, and a great complement to the official WordPress news feed also available.

Unfortunately, the Other WordPress News box is flawed. There is no selection here whatsoever which means that some sites overflow the box, as well as its source being Planet WordPress. Overall that’s OK, the real problem is when non-WordPress related stuff shows up. Like the top link in the picture here, from Alex King’s blog, where he is looking for PHP developers.

Or to phrase it differently: Alex King just got to post a job ad in your WordPress Dashboard.

I have the utmost respect for Alex King and his work, he’s a great plugin developer and contributor to the community. However, this shows that the Other WordPress News box needs work. We need a proper selection that sticks to WordPress only, and one that is aimed at the community. Ideally it would be semi-curated, but that would probably be hard in practice.

What can we do to fix this? Well, the first step would be to make sure that sources only supply WordPress links to the box (or rather, to its source, Planet WordPress). Since the links are all from RSS feeds, this is easy enough: Just pull the appropriate category or tag feed to make sure that it is WordPress only.

Maybe we could get some curated system going for Planet WordPress? How would it work, who would oversee it, and how would we make sure that it was a neutral ground about WordPress? I don’t know, but I’ll think about it.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.