Patronize ‘Em: WordPress Draft Post Docket with Subscription and Donation Options

2015-06-05 page_docket

“In Progress” Page with 10 Draft Posts

Core functions completed and ready for testing, bells, whistles, plug-innability, and code presentation still to come: A notification-enabled “Coming Soon” or “Works in Progress” or “Docket” feature. This post will provide for initial on-line testing of the full functional cycle – display, subscription, confirmation, co-messaging, subscription cancellation, notification, removal of used subscription data.


I had several interrelated purposes in mind when I envisioned the Docket. First, and easiest to implement, I wanted to show users what a writer happened to be working on. I put up a Docket of that type last December, showing five draft posts in the sidebar, ten on a dedicated page, in order of most recently modified, unwanted post types excluded. (I didn’t have the time to go much further with it: It was just a non-interactive archive.)

Second, I wanted users to be able to subscribe to be notified when posts they selected were published: A convenience for a certain type of specifically interested reader. Whether or not users subscribed to the particular post – rather than or in addition to subscribing to all new posts or in some alternative actual or potential modality (category subscriptions, RSS subscriptions, newsletter/digest subscriptions, and so on) – the feature might still serve the same promotional and even self-motivational purposes provided by the December Docket.

Third, and to me at least as important, since subscriptions to a particular not-yet-published post would provide incentives to the writer to finish his or her work, the existence of the option would give the user a chance to join in the writing-publication process, or even, fourth, play internet patron of the literary arts via associated fundraising and acknowledgement options.


If I get any cooperation, some post on the current list – ten choices on the docket page, presented in a random chunk of three in the sidebar – will get published in effect on user request, possibly earlier than if I had waited until the spirit finally moved me, assuming it ever did.

Sidebar Widget Set to "3"

Sidebar Docket Widget Set to “3”

I’m not in a hurry. Most the posts on the list are “Untimely Posts” – as I defined the category,”usually begun in the heat of some ongoing controversy, withheld until memories have mostly faded and tempers mostly cooled”:  No great harm in holding out for a while longer to see if any users do me the honor of helping test the feature. By subscribing they – or you – will also identify a post or posts “on deck” likely to get an interested reading from someone – or at least that’s how I’ll take the fact.

I’m fairly confident that the main process works, but during the initial phase it might also be helpful if you let me know directly – maybe in the comments below – that you have subscribed. Please feel free to give any feedback on aesthetics or confusion or unexpected behavior, too!

Of course, the way these things work, even assuming some friends of the blog or lurkers or regulars do help out, they will subscribe to the posts on the list that I would in fact be least likely to have published next, the posts in my judgment furthest from being “done” or riskiest for my reputation either because likely to be misunderstood or, worse, because likely to be correctly understood.

So be it. I still want to see which if any particular posts attract interest or especially interesting interest. If no one subscribes, I can, of course, still test and re-test the feature with my own email addresses, so I’ll still be able to move forward, but, at least as far as substantive posts go – long-form posts or posts in series other than on web design or some other directly career-related or other practical topic – you can consider me on a “writer’s strike” until at least one of you all subscribes.

I may make that a general policy: No subscriptions, no “real” posts. Of course, if you like the site the way it is – no long posts, mostly web design posts, occasional notes posts, Twitter feed – then you don’t have to do anything, or you can donate with a message to please shut up for good!

If the weight of opinion falls on that last alternative, I suppose I may comply, and some future executor, if any, of my future estate, if any, will have to decide whether or not the backlog of never-subscribed-to posts is of sufficient interest to merit distribution of any kind.

For now, fingers crossed, I should be hitting the ol’ “Publish” button any moment now. I have already been notified at least of my subscription to this post, and I look forward, if all goes to well, to the satisfaction of my own curiosity.

3 comments on “Patronize ‘Em: WordPress Draft Post Docket with Subscription and Donation Options

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  1. This seems kinda Borges-ian in concept, altho it may produce interesting results – at times directing you to write about things you’ve lost interest in, and either regained it at the prompting of readers, or perhaps looing even more interest.

    • Thanks for playing, bob. I hadn’t thought of the concept as Borgesian.

      It’s in the writer’s control to determine which draft posts end up on the list. So, if I’m sure I don’t want anyone to ask me to work up some old post defending Sarah Palin’s reputation or taking a stand against puppies, I can keep it off the display. Currently, I have it set at all most recently modified posts not in the “notes” category, but I could apply more refined sorting, or set up a special category just for subscribable drafts.

      Involvement of the reader, or the reader’s “patronization,” is intended as a key feature though. I’ll eventually add a capacity to show number of subscriptions – so that at a busier site than this one we could even introduce a bit of mass competition to show support or among multiple writers to get it. (Yes, could have downside, too, if misused.)

    • Have now added a subscribers count on the docket page, since we now have another player. No readerly consensus yet, but it’s early days.

      I DID take a look at the post you subscribed to, did a round of edits, still reconnoitering.

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