Dear WordPress: Check for duplicates


I write a lot of blog posts on my BlackBerry, which works out pretty well. WordPress provides a mobile site with the basic posting features, although you can’t do stuff like edit old posts or retrieve a draft. Given the limited intent of the mobile version, that’s fine with me. But one thing drives me crazy: if you get a network error when saving the post, there’s no way to tell if it got saved or not without leaving the WordPress mobile site, and potentially losing your work. As a result, I’ve sometimes posted the same article twice. This got me wondering: why doesn’t WordPress screen for duplicates?

The process could be quite simple. If two posts are submitted on the same blog, on the same date, with identical titles and body text, then ignore each copy after the first one. There’s no risk of losing data, since the post has already been published. If they wanted to get fancy, WordPress could make this an option you could disable, or send the duplicates into a private queue that only the author can see from their blog control panel. But this is probably overkill, since I can’t imagine any legitimate reason for posting the same article twice in a row.

More generally, automatically checking for duplicates can save users a lot of time and hassle. E-commerce sites are a great example. Why do so many of them warn you to only press the “Place Your Order” button once? I’m sure that some people still hit it multiple times, e.g. if their Internet connection flakes out during the process. A few sites have gotten smart about this, and they replace the button with a “Please Wait” animation while the order is being sent. That way, you simply can’t press it twice. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have automatic duplicate screening on the backend, too, using a similar mechanism to what I’ve proposed for blog posts.