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!