A heavenly small chunk of WordPress enlightenment

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In the grievously chaotic haystack that is WordPress.org and all the myriad related hackers, coders, designers and geek blogs and websites that deal  with this topic, you can well imagine that finding a concise, specific solution to a concise, specific problem is not always a cakewalk. In fact, it is all too often the proverbial hunt for the needle in a haystack.

Why is it, with my relatively advanced google-fu and a fair amount of tech savvy, that it should take me hours, even days, to discover how to add comments to static pages? or, how to limit the levels of categories displaying in a sidebar listing? I shudder to contemplate the learning curve for my next task, namely, displaying different sidebars on different pages.  It’s not that these things can’t be learned: it’s that locating the information in an up to date, valid, and useable form that’s on point is like some kind of bizarre zen exercise of self-mastery.  It’s like in a cold room someone is telling me I should learn how to master my body temperature so I can become superheated like those Tibetan monks who sit in bare silk robes in freezing weather and have the heat steaming off their bodies.

When all I want and need is a space heater to goose the room temp a quick 5 degrees.

I don’t know what the solution is.  We need better tools than google to locate information: it isn’t a question of finding keywords in a search heap, be it ever so logically arranged. It’s more like an AI exercise, in which conceptual parameters need to be factored in to the information requirement as well.  That kind of tool just doesn’t exist yet. I’ll be glad when it does.

Meanwhile, slogging through google-land, let me share the joy of my two recent scores:

The Very Simple fix for adding comments to pages is here, buried in plain sight in the WP support content in a fairly recent conversation.

And the likewise Very Simple fix for limiting page listings is the addition of a meager 8 characters to a certain place in a file, neatly illustrated here, along with excellent description of surrounding program flow and logic for persons  undertaking page scripting of a more expansive nature than my simple needs required.

This is a great site, by the way.  WP Designer (who captions his picture “Small Potato” – I fnd that amusing) does not appear to have much activity posted here in the last year, but his tutorials are excellent examples of clear, orderly presentation of information, amply illustrated with screen shots and explanations of program logic.  This is vastly superior to the dominant school of “answers” to php and css coding questions, in the vein of “simply add x to where the php code calls y.”   If one does know how to formulate x or where to find y, (or for that matter, understand what a ‘call’ is, as many coding/scripting noobs do not), these kinds of answers don’t help.  WP Designer doesn’t assume any sophisticated knowledge.  In his explanations he does not talk down to the reader but is simply thorough and logical in his explanations. Kudos for a job well done, and I hope he will add some new material to his site this year.

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