WordPress 4.3 Improves User Search and Turns Comments Off on Pages by Default

WordPress 4.3 beta 1 was put into the hands of testers last week. Those who have been following 4.3 developments are already familiar with the major features headlining this release, ie. the new site icons, menu management in the customizer, and more secure passwords. However, there are also a couple lesser-known improvements that will have a positive impact on millions of WordPress users.

Improved User Search

Searching for users in the admin is about to get much easier, thanks to work on a ticket opened by John Blackbourn 16 months ago. He notes that “only the user_login (username) and user_nicename (sanitized username) fields are searched,” excluding the following more likely fields:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Nickname
  • Display name

This issue was especially problematic in large, multi-thousand member multisite installations where finding a user in the admin often meant knowing exactly what to query and then paging through results. WordPress 4.3 contributions from Pippin Williamson and Scott Taylor make it possible to search by the user’s email, URL, and display name.

Comments Turned Off on Pages by Default

comments-off-on-pages-by-default

WordPress 4.3 will also bring a welcome change to turn off comments on pages by default. In the future when you create pages, you won’t have to remember to go into the discussion settings to disable comments. One might think this would be a simple little thing to change, but quite a bit of discussion has gone into crafting the best solution to the ticket opened five months ago.

This change also applies to all custom post types. Mel Choyce outlined the new behavior in a post on the make.wordpress.org/core blog:

Post registrations that don’t explicitly add support for comments will now default to comments being off on new posts of that type (before, they defaulted to on). Up until now, post type support for comments has only affected admin UI; a developer could omit comment support on registration but still allow comments to be posted. This is a change in behavior, and we will be closely monitoring its effects during beta. Moving to explicit support will allow core behavior to be more predictable and robust in the future, but we will always consider real-world usage.

The change also comes with a new function and a filter that you can use to restore the current behavior of comments to your post type, if necessary. More details and an example on how to use the filter are available on the make.wordpress.org/core announcement post.

16 Comments


  1. > Improved User Search

    That’s fantastic! We have over 8000 members, so this will really help.
    Thanks for sharing Sarah!

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  2. Experienced many times comments on contact page or on “about”. It will save time for majority and save again fails those who where not able to turn it off :)

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  3. I don’t think I could be happier when reading this! I have spent sooooo much of my time going back and turning comments off.

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  4. Option to disable comments on Pages but still no option to disable the `wpemojiSettings` code in the header :(

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      1. Yeah but I shouldn’t *need* to install a plugin or remove filters in my functions.php to disable emojis, that’s just silly.

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      2. You’re right. Clearly WordPress should do exactly what you want. Screw all the other users, no one is as important as you.

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  5. Looking forward to both of these changes, especially the changes in user search.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried searching by one of those fields- the inconsistencies between core and some plugins only made this worse.

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  6. The user search improvements were needed. When you run a site with thousands of users and get an email about something with their account, the user often forgets to tell you their username. And, searching by email doesn’t turn anything up.

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  7. Hi Sarah! Good to know about the changes. Thanks for the info.

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