wordpress publish button is like a gun with the safety off

Es­ti­mated reading time is 5 min­utes.

FOR THOSE READERS who have their own Word­Press sites, I as­sume you oc­ca­sion­ally do what I (alas) con­sis­tently do: mis­tak­enly click the Pub­lish button on the right side of your Edit Post work page when you meant to click the Save Draft button. To over­state the sit­u­a­tion: leaving the Pub­lish button ex­posed is like leaving a gun lying around with the safety off. I con­sider it a fun­da­mental flaw in the Word­Press design.

Why not make the Status op­tion just below the Save Draft button a drop-down menu with the Pub­lish button safely tucked away there? That way, the only button easily ac­cessed during the writer’s ac­tual flow of writing is the Save Draft button.


The placing of this ex­posed Pub­lish button is like leaving a gun lying around with the safety off!


To ac­tu­ally pub­lish a piece would re­quire that the au­thor think that he wants to pub­lish, It would be a con­scious de­ci­sion to click on the Status menu, open it, and then click on Publish.

Makes sense to me, but then I am only one of tens of mil­lions of WordPress.

As I am now a Se­nior Cit­izen Word­Press user, I don’t sleep a lot and work at all hours on any given day. Today I woke up to find that, once again, I had ac­ci­den­tally pub­lished the piece I had thought I was merely saving at 2:30 AM when I fi­nally crashed and went to bed.


Publish Button: screenshot of the Edit Post page on a WordPress site.

This is what the Word­Press Edit Post work-page looks like as I type this ar­ticle. Note the blue, lozenge-shaped Pub­lish button on the right, oh so easily ac­cessed by an er­rant mouse moving right­ward across my desktop, in­tending to click the Save Draft button a couple of inches above it but un­con­sciously clicking the wrong one.

Hide publish button on WordPress

For some reason, today I went looking for an al­ter­na­tive: I typed “hide pub­lish button on word­press” into Google. I was sur­prised and de­lighted to find that the first page listed on Google was for a plugin that I had never heard of, DC Hide Pub­lish Button by Doni Susanto.

The plug­in’s de­scrip­tion was in the frac­tured Eng­lish that in­di­cates that it is not the plugin de­vel­op­er’s go-to lan­guage (unedited):

“This plugin will come handy for au­thor who often ac­ci­den­tally click pub­lish button when what they re­ally want is save only. This plugin hide pub­lish button for Post and Page which status is Draft.
Pub­lish button will shows when status change to Pending Re­view, or if you change Vis­i­bility state which will au­to­mat­i­cally change Post / Page status.”

My first im­pulse was to con­tact the de­vel­oper and offer to rewrite those two para­graphs with cor­rected lan­guage and grammar. But then I thought it would be better to try out the plugin first.


Friends point out that I have been using Word­Press for five years, ergo I should know some­thing. I re­spond that I have been dri­ving cars for fifty years and I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on un­der­neath the hood of a modern car.


Down­loading the plugin to one of my sites was easy but my ini­tial re­sponse was trep­i­da­tious: the plugin had less than ten ac­tive in­stalls. This is the kind of number one ex­pects from a plugin that was just added to the Word­Press plugin repos­i­tory a few min­utes ago—not one that had been avail­able for more than a year!

It had a 5‑star rating but based on only one re­view, which found the DC Hide Pub­lish Button plugin to be “simply brilliant.”

And then there was the warning: “This plugin has not been tested with your cur­rent ver­sion of WordPress.”

As I had just spent sev­eral hours over sev­eral days on the phone with my host’s sup­port people un­doing the damage that an aging plugin had done to my sites, I was re­luc­tant to add an­other ar­chaic piece of soft­ware to my blogs.


Publish Button: screenshot of the homepage of the WordPress Plugins repository.

This is the Word­Press Plu­gins repos­i­tory home­page, where more than 50,000 ap­pli­ca­tions that have re­ceived the seal of ap­proval for con­struc­tion and safety can be found. The first two plu­gins on the page are Ak­ismet and Jet­pack, two ex­cel­lent plu­gins from Au­tomattic (the in­cor­rect spelling is an in-joke), the people who brought the world WordPress.

Are you still with us?

I checked the In­ternet for ar­ti­cles that might tell me why the DC Hide Pub­lish Button plugin wasn’t on thou­sands of Word­Press sites but found nothing. So I de­cided to see what was up with the DC Hide Pub­lish Button plugin. So I posted the first (and still only) ques­tion on the plug­in’s Sup­port page:


This plugin ap­par­ently does EX­ACTLY what I need, as I con­stantly press the Pub­lish button in­stead of the Save Draft button. So, thanks for de­vel­oping the DC Hide Pub­lish Button plugin.

That said, I no­ticed a few things:

  This plugin has very few downloads.
•  It’s been a year since you up­dated it.
•  The plugin home­page under your name is no longer active.

So, why aren’t you up­dating and pro­moting this groovy little plugin

Are you still with us?

Hoping to hear from you . . . 


Now I have to sit back and hope that Doni is alive and well and con­cerned enough with his bril­liant ap­pli­ca­tion that he will re­spond to my query and I will in­deed find out what’s up with the DC Hide Pub­lish Button plugin.

Of course, I will keep my readers in­formed of any progress . . .

I con­sider the ex­posed Pub­lish button on the Edit Post page a fun­da­mental flaw in the Word­Press de­sign. Click To Tweet


Publish Button: photo of an antique Iver Johnson revolver with automatic safety.

FEA­TURED IMAGE: I found the fan­tastic image at the top of this page on the North­west Iowa Out­doors web­site ac­com­pa­nying the ar­ticle “Iver Johnson Safety Au­to­matic Re­volver.” Writer John Hackett ex­plains (edited for use here): 

“Iver Johnson was a Nor­we­gian im­mi­grant that left a century-long im­print on the Amer­ican gun-making land­scape. Johnson’s in­no­v­a­tive de­signs lasted the test of time. One in par­tic­ular was the use of a ‘safety’ on nu­merous Johnson revolvers.

Johnson’s greatest in­no­va­tion to the gun-making world was the afore­men­tioned ‘safety’ he pi­o­neered for use on his re­volvers. The safety blocks the hammer from making con­tact with the firing pin un­less the trigger is ac­tu­ally pulled.

This fea­ture set the stage for Iver Johnson to be­come one of America’s most pro­lific re­volver man­u­fac­tures. Sales were boosted by Johnson’s ‘Hammer the Hammer’ ad cam­paign boasting his re­volvers ability to pre­vent ac­ci­dental dis­charge. The early ads show a gun owner taking a car­pen­ters hammer and ac­tu­ally beating on the gun’s hammer to prove their point!”


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