18 Comments

  1. Matt Mullenweg
    · Reply

    The solution to spam in your email isn’t to make an inbox. The solution to notifications you don’t want on your phone isn’t the notification center. I don’t think a notification center is the solution to this problem. It may be useful for other reasons, but not that one.

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    • James Sullivan
      · Reply

      The solution to notifications you don’t want on your phone isn’t the notification center.

      Incidentally, the notification center and its underlying system are exactly what enable to someone to control unwanted notifications.

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      • Matt Mullenweg
        · Reply

        I would posit that app store guidelines have had a far bigger impact there on user happiness than the settings and controls in the OS. Also think about the rules introduced about how and when an app can ask you for a review, which is inside the app and not in a notification.

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    • MSMMST
      · Reply

      We have three major issues with plugins/themes:

      1/ Notifications;

      2/ Cluttering menus;

      3/ Cluttering databases and folder structures even after uninstall.

      I think for each one of these there should be a basked so one could look, clear and manage it when and if he wants.

      I am tired of chasing where a plugin put itself in the menus and tired of seeing my WP admin looking like a Christmas tree from plugins inserting themselves into various of sub menus or even the main menus.

      A client of mine tested several analytics plugins and uninstall then later. He had a dozen page site and it become super slow. Turns out the database grow with few hundred megabytes due to these tests. We used third party plugin to clean most, but not all of it.

      If you want a consistent UX and focused UX with fast speeds we need to force plugins and themes to obey rules and to make people manage all that cruft that comes with them.

      I know many devs won’t like it but we need sand boxing aka the way the new Linux and MacOS and even Windows 10X would do where the main core is a read only image and all the clutter on top is outside of it and is easily manageable and purgeable.

      You need to think how a WP installation ages as testing it in a clear fresh new state is not the typical picture.

      People blame their WP sites to be slow exactly because of the clutter that builds up and that can’t be removed even uninstall. I’ve dealt with hundreds if not thousands of WP sites and I can clearly state that this is the major issue.

      Not to mention how the average Joe is confused by the UI inconsistency of all these installed plugins which insert stuff wherever they want.

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    • MSMMST
      · Reply

      We need a simple basket for all that so that we focus on content creation and not basically ads.

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  2. Giorgos Sarigiannidis
    · Reply

    As a user, the most frustrating thing about the unwanted notifications is that sometimes, on poorly or irresponsibly written plugins, they persist even after I close them. Those times I would love a “Mark as spam” functionality, but that would be too much and it could easily be misused, ending up making things even worse.

    A less aggressive and maybe more realistic approach would be some sort of “Mute this plugin” option: Users could disallow specific plugins from displaying notifications overall, either permanently or until their next update (in case they indeed need to announce something actually important).

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    • Bastian
      · Reply

      As a user, the most frustrating thing about the unwanted notifications is that sometimes, on poorly or irresponsibly written plugins, they persist even after I close them.

      This. I ended up thinking that most plugins that do this, do it on purpose. Then, you see the developers in their support forums playing dumb like they don’t know what’s happening with their plugin.

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  3. John Blackbourn
    · Reply

    The aim of the WP Notify project is to fix just this. See https://make.wordpress.org/core/tag/feature-notifications/

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  4. Peter Shaw
    · Reply

    Matt,

    your analogy sounds good but does not stand up.

    Spam was never the the probelm with email and it is not with notifications. Gmail´’s tabbed interface hugely improved email, by automatically categorising items and hiding non urgent matters that could be looked at later
    Right now we don´t even have an inbox for notifications. Developers put them wherever they feel like.

    The WP Notify project seems like a workable the answer to me, what do you propose?

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    • Ciprian Popescu
      · Reply

      I want to answer this question:

      Stricter guidelines for plugins.
      Plugin notifications only on the respective plugin screen.

      At the end of the day you can’t control commercial plugins or non-repo plugins and they are free to inject ads and notifications wherever they want.

      But for the official plugin repository, see my 2 points above.

      I do agree that the wp-notify project is an improvement and I’d like to see a nice bell icon somewhere top right of the screen where all the messages are.

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  5. Miroslav Glavić
    · Reply

    I fully agree with the annoyance of these notifications. I just installed and activated your plugin. Why the heck would I want to buy the PRO version, rate the plugin or subscribe to your newsletter? I JUST INSTALLED AND ACTIVATED YOUR PLUGIN.
    The PRO version or any paid extensions, etc…is spamming my admin box.
    Also, the fact that your plugin automatically adds an admin widget on the admin dashboard is also wrong.

    Yes, I know plugin and theme authors have created the plugins and themes I use on my WordPress websites. However, YOUR job is there because of a free product.

    The only notification I am ok with is the Really Simple SSL, to turn that setting on.

    I even remove all the “default” admint widgets, including that one that lists WordPress Meetups and WordCamps.

    I install x amount of plugins in all my installations. Those the basic plugins I install. I install more depending on each website.

    Guess what? I started with WordPress in 2005. I know how to install things. I know how to rate things. I already rated most of the plugins I use. I don’t have to do that. I subscribe to over 30 WordPress based newsletters.

    A former employee that was let go (not former at that time), decided to delete ALL 35 WordPress installations of mine. I had to reinstall everything from start (he had access to backups too and deleted them). Just like that person from Twitter that removed Trump’s Twitter account on his last day.

    WPSmush asked me 35 days to subscribe to their newsletter.

    The list of basic plugins I installed in every installation (I just checked as I typed this sentence) is 41.

    41 plugins x 35 websites…1,435 notifications if they each gave me 1 notification in all sites.

    The whole anonymous stats collecting. Freemius and other ways…..that has to go too.

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  6. Pat
    · Reply

    Recently installed a cache plugin, it came with a ridiculously high level of adverts.

    I don’t prescribe to advertising as necessary (you’re putting billboards on my tool, without my permission), but if the advertising is done well, its, to me a sign of a good developer who understands user experience and user interfaces. Most WP advertising on the dashboard just highlights a lack of thought.

    I installed it the cache plugin and ended up with cache enabler, which has 1 admin notice but a very small one about a paid feature.

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  7. Marcus Downing
    · Reply

    Adverts have no place in the admin area. A lot of the clutter comes from plugins trying to sell something, whether it’s upselling a Premium version / paid upgrade, or a related product, or worst of all an unrelated advert. They aren’t notifications that an admin needs to see, ever.

    I realise a lot of plugin authors depend on upselling to make any sort of income from their plugins. The problem with the current system is that it’s a noise arms race: if one plugin is loud and another is subtle, the subtle one will get less money despite being the better admin experience, so plugin authors have no incentive to play nice.

    So while we need a solution to notifications (such as the WP Notify project already mentioned), we also need a separate solution – not part of that notifications area – for how plugin authors can upsell responsibly. I don’t know what that looks like, but without it the notifications area won’t solve the problem.

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  8. Gary Taylor
    · Reply

    Here’s a thought. WP silently updates itself for .x versions and will soon do the same for plugins (and themes? I can’t remember). So I will no longer have to look at the plugins that want to be updated and see the list of changes.

    That would be a good use for Notifications as well. A notification from each plugin that updates itself, with a link to the latest readme.

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  9. Rod Olman
    · Reply

    What good are guidelines if they are not followed? Rememeber when Yoast added a non-dismissable banner add for Black Friday, totally contrary to the guidelines? And then they played innocent afterwards?

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  10. Caspar
    · Reply

    WordPress provides an open API for plugin and theme developers to message users in the ‘shared apartment’ that is their dashboard, and it has not enforced any house rules whatsoever up to today.

    Blaming plugin developers isn’t the answer, nor is appealing to their sense of care. The core software must take responsibility for the coherence of its own UX, and it must provide tools and restrictions to help third-party developers reduce cognitive load for end users. Enabling basic user actions like block, snooze, and even prioritise certain types of messages are key in that regard.

    While currently that is still not happening, the WP Notify project looks like a good start.

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  11. Steve
    · Reply

    And the exact reason that the ‘hide admin notices’ plugin exists.

    The notices area should be for urgent items – like upgrade warnings, changes to plugins, etc – not that you should leave a review, live or subscribe.

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  12. Cameron Jones
    · Reply

    The irony is that I’ve found that Freemius admin notices are the most persistent and annoying. Dismiss them and they’ll come back a day later regardless.

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