Update: Sale starts today, Friday 19th at 5.00pm GMT (12 noon EST).

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Tomorrow I’m going to release 50 copies of my new plugin called Private Comments, and it’s something I’ve wanted myself for ages.

It allows you (as admin) or a visitor to your blog to add a private comment that isn’t seen by the rest of the world, allowing you to hold a private discussion with someone.

This is incredibly useful.

From my own perspective, I sometimes get a comment on my blog that really shouldn’t be published, and that I’d like to reply to there and then.

I’ve found it quite frustrating not being able reply directly to a visitor so they can see what I have to say to them and not involve everyone else.  You’ve probably had the exact same issue.

The only way round this is either to use email when I often don’t want to give the person my email address (and that’s not always guaranteed to get through spam filters), or to edit the comment they made and leave it unpublished, but that’s not always noticeable, and it just doesn’t seem to be a good way of doing it.

The visitor can’t then reply without creating a new comment and it all starts to get a bit messy.

The upshot is, we don’t always want everyone to see the content of a discussion do we?

This plugin solves the problem.

It allows you or the visitor to mark the comment as private.  Now only you as the site admin and your visitor can see the tic-tac of back and forwards conversation.

And as a little nice bonus, we’ve built in comment threading (nesting) for those themes that don’t support it.  This means you can reply to a comment and the plugin will keep it all cleanly organised and directly underneath the original comment.

(There’s a teensy problem with some old WP2.x themes, more on that in a moment.)

The Private Comments plugin does this without requiring your visitors to register on the blog.  Instead, it uses the cookie that WordPress normally drops on your visitors browser allowing them to see their comments, and now of course, yours too.

Think of it as being like the blog equivalent of a PM (Private Message) on a forum, but where registration isn’t required in order to keep it private.

(And we’re also planning on making it more robust for those people who do register.)

Apart from the obvious use discussed above, I also realised that this plugin could be used for some other things too, such as client discussions, and even a simple support desk.  😉

Now then…

At the moment, the only downside to this plugin is that it seems to have problems with some (not all) old WP2.x themes, and it doesn’t do the comment threading (nesting) properly or at all.

But don’t worry as the developer is looking at this to see if it can’t be fixed or worked around, and when it’s solved we’ll release a new version.  (Who knows, she might get it done by tomorrow.)

The good news is, every WP3.x theme we’ve tried it on seems to work perfectly.

Tomorrow (Friday 19th) at 5.00pm GMT (12.00 midday EST) I’m making available 50 copies in a pre-launch sale at a bargain basement discount price.  First come first served, and when they’re all gone that’s it, the price goes up.

Okay?  :-)

I’ll drop you a line tomorrow with details of the sale.

-Frank Haywood