Subscribe to Comments 2.1 — Feature and Fix Requests

Subscribe to Comments is by far the most popular plugin I’ve written. It’s been long due for an update.

Here’s what’s already done for the upcoming Subscribe to Comments 2.1:

  • Single-file install — Everything in one file. Drop it into your plugins directory, activate, DONE.
  • Show list of subscribers on the back end — I’ve probably had this requested 50 to 100 times. People really want to know who’s subscribed in a big list. I’ve completed preliminary work on this. It’s a list of e-mail addresses with the number of subscribed entries in parenthesis (sorted from most-subscriptions to least). If you click on an e-mail address it takes you to the screen for them, with a list of their subscriptions.

What else would you like to see? I don’t just want to hear feature suggestions — tell me how the existing functionality can be better.

96 thoughts on “Subscribe to Comments 2.1 — Feature and Fix Requests

  1. The Shoutbox I use the Tagboard Widget(http://freepressblog.org/plugins/Tagboard) it’s actually treated a post as any other but appears in a Widget, it is taking tha priority of the subscribe checkbox. So I can’t get it to appear in the comments box of the actual post. Could the compatibilty be tested?

    Is the ‘Subscribed’ image going to appear in this version?

    Is there a functionality to mail all subscribers?

    Great plugin, glad to see you working on an updated version. Nice work.

  2. I could change it so that a manually placed subscription checkbox always shows, even if another comment form has already been displayed. No way I can prevent it from displaying in the Tagboard widget, however.

    The ‘Subscribed’ image is just something I whipped up for my site. I’ve given permission for people to use it in the past, but I don’t see it being bundled in… I’d rather let implementation of “is subscribed” functionality up to theme authors. An image wouldn’t work for all themes.

    I like your idea of being able to mail all subscribers. The easy way to implement this is to print out a copy-paste box that people can pull into the cc: box in their e-mail client.

  3. Tim says:

    The existing functionality works fabulous for me. In addition to what you are already planning, i would like to see a list of “top subscribed posts”. It would be interesting to have a list of posts (perhaps a top 50 list) with columns for postname, comment_count, emailsubscribe_count sorted by emailsubscribe_count descending.

    By figuring out which posts have the most people subscribed it would give me a good idea of what type of content people are most interested in hearing more about on my site.

  4. Ja says:

    Well, it sounds pretty complete as far as existing features now that some form of more robust list management features is being added.

    Only things I can think of off the top of my head are:

    1. Does it have the functionality to email people on updates to subscribed posts or only when messages are added? I can’t recall.

    2. It would be nice, imo, to see a ttl type thing where there would be a small box to enter in how long you want to stay subscribed or perhaps how long after the most recent comment was made. It may just be me, but I seem to forget to unsubscribe from posts and then end up with a ton of junk mail from old posts on a variety of sites before I actually go about doing some housecleaning.

    3. Another one I don’t have a clue about… but the OpenID plugin(s) or what may come of such things: I haven’t used them personally, but StC should work out of the box with them. Or am I overlooking something. Just thought I should bring it up just in case.

    Cheers and thanks for all the great work, Mark!

    Jason

  5. love your plugin.🙂

    two minor feature i’d find useful are:

    1. an option to send text/html emails instead of text/plain. (this could even just be an option in subscribe-to-comments.php, rather than being fully configurable through the UI.)

    2. the ability to suppress emailing subscribers, on a per-comment basis. sometimes i make a small comment–or a series of comments, and i don’t want emails to be sent. something like this would be great:

    if
    (user is logged in) and (user is owner of post)
    then
    present the option (a checkbox, perhaps) to suppress email notification.

    anyway, even without these features, your plugin is one of the most useful i’ve installed.

  6. Thanks for the reply Mark about the Tagboard issue, it’s not an issue if it still appears on the Tagboard, I figured as much. Is there a quickfix I could do to make this work now? It’s just that I’m off monday starting a world trip and most of my blogging will be done by phone/email so I won’t be able to mod the blog for some time.

    Again, great hack, and I will check back to see how this has developed. I also looked at some of your others, compiling a nice little portfolio there.. I’m looking at your wishlist right now😉

    Cheers

    ~D

  7. Hi Mark,

    I really like your plugin🙂

    How about a new template tag, something like getSubCount(postid) which could give the number of subscribers for that passed post id, so that it can used to display the total number of subscribers for a particular post as part of the meta information.

    It may be just me who needs this, but it just poped up in my mind and I thought of mention it here.

    Cheers and thanks for all the great work, Mark!

    Cheers,
    Sudar

  8. How about a new template tag, something like getSubCount(postid) which could give the number of subscribers for that passed post id, so that it can used to display the total number of subscribers for a particular post as part of the meta information.

    That’s a good idea, and not too hard to implement.

  9. Mark any ideas on that workaround?

    ~ also can you add it so I can subscribe to these comments.. I have to keep going back to the previous blog to gt the url.

  10. First workaround would be to remove the comment form hook for the sidebar thing.

    I can’t add STC here… but you could subscribe to the RSS comments feed for this entry.

  11. Hi Mark

    I have suggested a modified version of this gets added to the core but here is a small tweak.

    When you subscribe to comments, it would be good if all your own comments are also sent to you, including your first one.

  12. Great plugin, Mark. I really like this one.

    The one thing I’d like to see is more configuration options for using the subscription manager with the blog stylesheet. I use a custom theme that displays the sidebar before the main content and I have to customize each version of the plugin to get it to work properly.

  13. Andy,

    What is the point of sending your own comments to yourself? While I obviously love this plugin, I’m not sure it’s a good candidate for core inclusion. It functions perfectly well as a plugin, and isn’t necessarily something that every site would want.

    Joefish,

    Would simple switch “sidebar comes [before|after] the main content” work for you? I’ve had a few other people mention this.

  14. Re: sidebar. A before/after toggle would probably help a great deal. I’m not sure it would be everything I hope and dream, as my theme does have a few other quirks which would probably require me to customize it anyway. It’s not possible for your plugin to be all things to all people, but a toggle like that would definitely be a nice feature. If nothing else, I’d have to customize it less.🙂

  15. Hi Mark

    Maybe including it in core was going too far at this stage

    I wanted it in some way to be linked into the system being a member of a blog, and thus also maybe a member of a BBPress forum.

    Thus the only way to be subscribed to comments would be as a member of the blog, which would then also enforce a double opt-in confirmation.

    Most forum packages have some option with an authorization procedure for various reasons.

    If you have 5000 people subscribing to various comments on your blog, and some explicit spam, or just an affiliate link gets through, you need every level of evidence possible to safeguard your hosting, and domain registration.

    There are loads of people using an older version of your script, or someone elses that offer no unsubscribe facility.

    If it is possible to do everything I would like just as a plugin, that is great.

    Why do I want my own posts emailed back?

    I have had recent problems where I have written very long comments on blogs, and they have just disappeared into the ether of Akismet.
    Losing a 500+ word comment might be a minor loss to you, but having to rewrite it, or maybe send it through to the blog owner to post is a pain.

    If I am giving an email address each time I post, wouldn’t it be ideal if a copy was sent to me, and then I have to click a confirmation link for it to actually be posted on the blog?

    I subscribe to comments on loads of blogs, either by RSS where available, or by email. I know that I am going to receive potentially 100s of additional emails, and gmail fortunately folds them all together.
    Whilst I take advantage of other people using this plugin, I am scared to use it on my own WordPress blogs.

    Email Marketers use services like Aweber for a reason, and they still are very careful about including their own domain name in emails. Often they will register throw away domain names for each product campaign, with some kind of tracking redirect.

    You can actually get your domain frozen because someone else included a link to it in a spam email.

    Some hosts limit how many emails you can send from your domain per hour. If you send more than a certain number, you get a black flag.
    Have you got some kind of controls to limit how many emails are sent per hour?

    Another feature should be an easy way to include business details in every email sent, without modifying the code.

    As I mentioned on the hackers list, if this is beyond the scope of what people want to do with email features of WordPress, I will pump some resources into it eventually. I would love the additional “stickiness”, but not at the expense of my blogs being taken offline.

  16. Thus the only way to be subscribed to comments would be as a member of the blog, which would then also enforce a double opt-in confirmation.

    Wouldn’t your comments be restricted to members only in that case? Seems strange to me to require membership only for notification.

    There are loads of people using an older version of your script, or someone elses that offer no unsubscribe facility.

    Must be someone else’s (are you sure it’s on WordPress?) Mine and the one that came before it have always have unsubscribe functionality.

    Some hosts limit how many emails you can send from your domain per hour. If you send more than a certain number, you get a black flag.

    Have you got some kind of controls to limit how many emails are sent per hour?

    No, that’s beyond the scope of the plugin right now. I may revisit this when WP 2.1 comes out and I get built-in pseudo cron functionality.

    I can appreciate your concern about wanting to protect a business that is offering this feature. That wasn’t the intended audience for the plugin, which is why such things aren’t built in. My reasoning for not doing double opt-in was that it made it harder for people who want the notifications to be subscribed, without making it easier for people who don’t want the notifications to be unsubscribed. In the case that someone is maliciously subscribed, they’re still going to get an e-mail. It could be the opt-in confirmation, or the actually comment notification… but either way they’re going to get it. As it works now, if they didn’t want it, it’s only a few clicks to block all notifications from the site. I figured that the instance of malicious subscriptions would be very low. I’ve certainly never had any reported to me. I didn’t want to code the plugin in such a way as to be oriented towards an edge case to the detriment of normal use.

  17. Wouldn’t your comments be restricted to members only in that case? Seems strange to me to require membership only for notification.

    Only for subscription for email comments, there is always an RSS option

    Must be someone else’s (are you sure it’s on WordPress?) Mine and the one that came before it have always have unsubscribe functionality.

    I am not sure which plugin was being used when I noticed this problem. A lot of my more recent email subscriptions did have full control, and the smartest implementation (though probably not using WordPress), is the way Ezine Articles manages their’s. It isn’t double opt-in, but they actually deliver their email from a domain that was previously used by the owner for a top end autoresponder business that is bound to be whitelisted.

    No, that’s beyond the scope of the plugin right now. I may revisit this when WP 2.1 comes out and I get built-in pseudo cron functionality.

    I can appreciate your concern about wanting to protect a business that is offering this feature. That wasn’t the intended audience for the plugin, which is why such things aren’t built in. [..] snip [..]I didn’t want to code the plugin in such a way as to be oriented towards an edge case to the detriment of normal use.

    It is my reasoning that if at all possible, it should be the safest possible solution for someone who doesn’t have any understand about what might happen to their hosting / domain if a complaint did happen.

    I might have come up with another solution, but will have to sleep on it a little.

  18. Hi Mark!

    Just an FYI in case you hadn’t checked – S2C is broken in WP 2.1 Alpha…

    Somethdng about invalid array type for second paramater or something when you submit a post – but the post submits anyway…

    I see you’re not using it here?

  19. Damn, hate to spam, but here’s the exact error message as output:

    Warning: in_array() [function.in-array]: Wrong datatype for second argument in c:\Inetpub\wwwroot\blog\wp-content\plugins\subscribe-to-comments.php on line 438

    Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at c:\Inetpub\wwwroot\blog\wp-content\plugins\subscribe-to-comments.php:438) in c:\Inetpub\wwwroot\blog\wp-includes\pluggable.php on line 271

  20. I think you mean submitting a comment… right?

    2.0.8 is the latest version, and is official. I see the issue, and it’ll be fixed for STC 2.1, due out in December.

    The fix is to add (array) before get_post_meta( on line 438.

  21. Yep, comment, sorry.

    I was looking at the old (2.0.4) site, and it had 2.0.4 listed as the latest… I later found the official post on your other site with 2.0.8 listed on there.

    Just fixed it though, thanks🙂

  22. I’m really looking forward to the second point of this post.🙂

    In Germany many blogs were using iso-charsets. So it would be nice to have an option to send emails in UTF-8 or iso-8859-x, because as far as I know the po/mo-files must be UTF-8 and therefore german umlauts in iso-mails are crippled.

    Something like that:
    In subscribe-to-comments.php on line 668:
    – $headers .= “MIME-Version: 1.0\n” . “Content-Type: text/plain; charset=\”” . get_settings(‘blog_charset’) . “\”\n”;
    + $headers .= “MIME-Version: 1.0\n” . “Content-Type: text/plain; charset=\”” . get_stc_option(‘mail_charset’) . “\”\n”;

  23. The alternative solution I thought of turns out possible but extremely messy.

    It would be possible to use the Feedblitz API to create new RSS channel subscriptions, but their default templates are not ideal for permission based email.
    You would have to purchase both their professional upgrades to allow realtime updates and custom templates, which just isn’t viable for many users.

  24. Another suggestion idea… it would be nice to have a cookie remember the checkbox state. I’ve had readers request this, in their roundabout “I wish it would do this” sort of way. I have the box unchecked by default and I frequently have users leave a second comment because they forgot to check the box the first time around.

  25. I would like to see the ability to mass unsubscribe commenters as well as the option to email all the signed up users in one shot.

  26. I’m using Dreamhost and I’ve gotten an issue where this subscribe to comments plugin is being used to send SPAM and they are forcing me to shut off the script. Anyway we can see some SPAM protection in this plugin?

  27. Hi there – thanks for the sweet plugin! We had to remove Subscribe-To-Comments for a while since bots were signing people up for emails and then trying to sneak a single spam comment through. Got some big huge ugly lists of “subscribers”.

    The fix I implemented in this new version is in the add_subscriber function – I changed the SQL that selects the comment_post_ID to check for an approved comment:

    $postid = $wpdb->get_var(“SELECT comment_post_ID from $wpdb->comments WHERE comment_ID = ‘$cid’ and comment_approved=’1′”);

    Seems to work well in testing, so I’m pushing it out. Just posting this for anyone else looking for info…

  28. Christmas trees, presents and holly wreaths,
    Stockings hung over the fireplace,
    Caroling singers to fill the streets,
    The feeling of love like a warm embrace.

    That’s my wish for you for Christmas!

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