New WordPress Feature: Pending Review

WordPress has had support for “Contributor” users since version 1.3 (an unreleased development version in late 2004 that turned into version 1.5). Contributors could save drafts, but not publish their entries. Combined with open registration (default role: “Contributor”), this had a lot of potential for opening up blog contributions to the public. Or, with closed registration, it could provide for mandatory editorial review before posts were published.

Unfortunately, the idea wasn’t fleshed out. Contributors had two options: “Save and Continue Editing” or “Save.” Both saved their post as a draft. There was no way to tell the difference between an in-progress draft and a “ready for review” draft. People hacked their way around it, doing things like adding HTML comments in the body of the entry: <!--publish_me--> … but that was cumbersome for both Contributors and Editors.

Starting with WordPress 2.3 (and maybe even sooner for WP.com users), this process is a lot more natural. Contributors will now have a new button. It acts as a counterpart to the “Publish” button that Authors (and above) get. The button says “Submit for Review.” It leverages a new post_status called “pending.” Pending posts show up as links above the Write Post screen for Editors and Administrators, along with the “nags” for your own drafts and others’ drafts. These links hooks into the new Manage Posts screen coming in WP 2.3 (and already on WP.com) that Mike Adams did such a good job creating.

Here is an example of what an Editor or Administrator might see above their Write Post screen:

List of pending posts, drafts, and others' drafts

If there are one or two posts in any of these categories (pending, drafts, others’ drafts), it will show a link to each. If there are three or more, it will tell you how many there are, and display a link to the respective Manage Posts view. For Pending posts, an Editor or Administrator can click “View” to get an in-theme preview of the post. If it looks good, it’s only two clicks to Publish: “Edit” then “Publish.” If it still needs work, the Editor or Administrator can edit the post and make it a draft again, and maybe send an e-mail to the author informing them of the problems that are preventing its publishing.

There are obviously a lot more “editorial process” types of features that we could implement, but we’ll wait to see what the demand is for those sorts of things. The “Pending Review” feature is something that has been half-implemented for two-and-a-half years, and has been an itch that I’ve long wanted to scratch. Let me know how you like it, how it could be improved, and what sorts of cool contribution-driven sites you can build with it!

Update: WordPress.com users can now use this feature!

54 thoughts on “New WordPress Feature: Pending Review

  1. This sounds like a great feature. Although I’ve always solved it in multi-authored projects before, an actual pending functionality is of course preferred. Great!

  2. Definitely a nice feature. Does this link to the three drafts mean that there’s a dedicated management page for drafts? That’s something I’ve wanted for a while, especially for the ability to delete drafts in the same AJAX-y way that you can do it for published posts and comments.

  3. Olly,

    There isn’t a dedicated tab, but there is a dedicated view within the Manage » Posts screen. You have a bunch of dropdowns for picking different post criteria. “Status” is one of them. So if you pick “Draft,” you get all the drafts. And then, yes, you can click “delete” and get a nice asynchronous deletion. The links in the “nag” area just go to pre-configured views of the Manage » posts screen.

  4. Cool, that sounds excellent. It’s a feature that I’ve been wanting for a while, since I’m terrible for making drafts and not finishing them ;)

  5. Nan Becklean says:

    Hmm. I’m confused. I’m happy to be reviewed but friends have already seen my blog–so doesn’t that mean it’s published? They have not, however, been able to leave comments–something about enabling cookies. I’ve tried to figure out what to tell them but I have no clue. Thanks.

  6. Hi, I have a strange little problem; when one of my contributers hits Submit for Review, their post gets published instantly! Wow! (But it breaks my editorial process.) I’ve verified that the Contributer role, using a different plugin, does not have publishing access. What’s going on? I’m on the latest WordPress…

  7. I.S. – You are right on… “Submit for Review” officially does not work. Contributers who used to only be able to “Save” a post, can now “Submit for Review,” unfortunately that feature does publish the post directly.

  8. This new feature is great but two things are missing for it to get perfect:

    1) Warn admins that there are pending review posts via email.

    2) Send an email to the contributing author telling him what’s been changed from his original post after publishing. I’m always doing this manually via email and it takes a lot of time. I want to make my contributors editors like me, but for that they need to understand what are my site’s defaults, schemes etc., you know what I mean? I want them to know exactly what have I changed and updated from their posts so they’ll know how to do them next time.

    Thanks a lot!!

  9. cheezdog says:

    I would appreciate allowing contributors to upload images to posts. At present I do not believe they can do this.

  10. Jon Warner says:

    All well and good but can an Email to Blog be auto approved so the author doesn’t need to manually publish it after??

  11. No answer to Jon Warner question? I have the same problem, post from email to Blog get stuck as pending review, which fefeat the purpose of email to Blog.

    Help is appreciated.

  12. zia says:

    I have added 6 categories to my blog. In the view i cant see them. There status is at pending since long.
    Plz help me

  13. vectorjess says:

    This is what I want: I want to write a post in WordPress, save it as “pending” and then have a tool/function/feature inside WordPress that allows me to alert an author/contributor/editor that there is a post waiting for their review and approval. Once they review/approve, then they would publish and I would get a notice that said action is done. That would be sweeeet!

  14. Great I use the Pending state of pages en can call them up true a javascript menu whit many options in different Events pages and more pages that I whant to hidden in the theme page menubar I use

  15. Ian says:

    I really hoped that the role of Contributor would be able to “submit for review” repeatedly. That is, a Contributor is free to make edits whenever they please, but if they do, they are forced to “resubmit for review”.

    Currently, once a post is published, it’s published, and if you edit roles for a Contributor to edit Published posts, then they have free reign.

    I wish there was a middle ground, even if it is slightly Orwellian, to make it so a particular role always has to submit for review by an editor or admin before any changes are live.

  16. Does anyone know if there is a way for the administrator to be notified by email when a post written by a contributor is submitted for review?

    I have around 10 contributors and each time they post an article for review I have no way of knowing unless they tell me or I login to see.

    Regards Peter

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