Teaching Online Journalism

Setting up a private WordPress.com blog for group editing

When you have a free WordPress.com blog, you can make it private, limiting it to only people you select.

You can also allow multiple authors, editors, or a mix of roles on a free WordPress.com blog, whether it is private or public.

Here’s what I learned by setting up a private blog that gave editing privileges to several users: 

  1. It was easy to make it private: Dashboard > Settings > Reading — find and tick “I would like my site to be private, visible only to users I choose.”
  2. It was easy to add new users and assign “roles” to them: Dashboard > Users > Invite New – but you need to get either their correct WP username or the correct email they used when they signed up for WordPress!
  3. It can be hard to get people to send their correct WP username to the person who is trying to add new users. (They send what they think is their username, but it is not.)
  4. Sometimes people do not know which email address they used to sign up for WordPress, and as a result, they never receive the invitation email (because it is sent to that email account, which they are not checking).
  5. If a person goes to a private WP blog’s URL and submits an email request to “view the blog,” that process DOES NOT add the person as a user, and the blog administrator then cannot assign a role (such as “editor”) to that person.
  6. If someone else is in the midst of editing a post, and you attempt to edit it, WordPress gives you a warning. Depending on your user role, you might be able to override and edit anyway.

What are WordPress user roles? For example, a “contributor” cannot publish or upload, but she can write and save posts, and post comments. There a few different options.

At first you’ll have only one all-powerful Administrator on the blog. That person can assign the Administrator role to others.

This would all be very easy to do as part of a course, but it might be best to do the role-assigning and user-inviting while students are all together in a room, maybe a computer lab, so issues with usernames can be resolved quickly and in person.

Categories: blogging, participation, teaching, training

One Comment

  1. […] in the US, and her blog is a valuable resource for all journalists. She offers practical tips like setting up a private WordPress blog for group editing, and posts observations on media […]

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