[wp-trac] [WordPress Trac] #46898: WSOD Protection: Finalize email language

WordPress Trac noreply at wordpress.org
Mon Apr 15 08:34:16 UTC 2019

#46898: WSOD Protection: Finalize email language
 Reporter:  TimothyBlynJacobs  |       Owner:  SergeyBiryukov
     Type:  defect (bug)       |      Status:  reopened
 Priority:  normal             |   Milestone:  5.2
Component:  Administration     |     Version:  trunk
 Severity:  normal             |  Resolution:
 Keywords:  servehappy         |     Focuses:
Changes (by pento):

 * keywords:  servehappy has-patch => servehappy
 * status:  closed => reopened
 * resolution:  fixed =>


 Reopening, as the language in this email is scary and confusing. I'm aware
 that we're past the soft string freeze, but I don't think we can
 reasonably release it as is.

 @matt noted:

 > I really thought my site had been hacked when I got that email
 > and didn't click on the link since I wasn't sure what it would do

 If a highly technical site owner is confused by the email, I'm quite
 concerned about what the 99.999% of site owners will do when they see the

 For reference, here's a copy of the current email text:

 >Your site recently crashed and may not be working as expected.
 >This was caused by the following plugin: test.php.
 >Please click the link below to initiate recovery mode and fix the
 >This link expires in 4 hours.
 >Error Details
 >An error of type E_WARNING was caused in line 6 of the file /var/www/src
 /wp-content/plugins/test.php. Error message: count(): Parameter must be an
 array or an object that implements Countable
 >--The WordPress Team

 There are a few points on the content that come to mind:

 - Opening with "Your site recently crashed" is too strong. It feels panic-
 - The single sentence paragraphs are too short, they don't offer any
 additional information about why this email has arrived.
 - "This link expires in 4 hours" inspires artificial urgency, and it's not
 similar to the language of email scams.
 - The "Error Details" section is entirely unnecessary for the vast
 majority of site owners. Maybe only include this if `WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY` is
 `true`. It'd be more useful to report this information (in an anonymised
 fashion) to w.org, so it could be aggregated and plugin/theme authors
 could be made aware of it.

 Additionally, sending the email every 4 hours feels overly aggressive.
 Could someone point me to the original discussion on the link timeout, and
 why 4 hours was chosen?

 Also, I saw this email being triggered by a cron task, which seems overly
 obtuse. At most the site owner would want to report that error to the
 plugin author, not take immediate recovery action.

 Here's a first pass at some new text:

 > Howdy!
 > When a plugin or theme on your site runs into technical issues,
 WordPress will automatically catch that error, and send you an email to
 let you know what happened.
 > In this case, WordPress caught a potential issue with one of your
 plugins, Hello Dolly.
 > You should first check if your website (https://my-amazing-site.boop/)
 is running normally. In particular, the error that WordPress caught
 happened on https://my-amazing-site.boop/cart/checkout. Try visiting that
 page and see if it looks correct to you.
 > If everything appears to be working, the author of Hello Dolly would
 greatly appreciate if you could post more information about this error in
 the support forums. You can find the error details at the end of this
 > https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/hello-dolly/
 > If there's something not quite right about your site, and you can't
 access your dashboard normally, WordPress has a special "recovery mode",
 which allows you to safely login to your dashboard and disable the Hello
 Dolly plugin.
 > https://my-amazing-site.boop/wp-
 > To keep your site safe, this link will expire in 4 hours. Don't worry
 about that, though: a new link will be emailed to you if you click on it
 after it expires.
 > --The WordPress Team
 > https://wordpress.org/
 > Error Details
 > =============
 > An error of type E_WARNING was caused in line 14 of the file
 /var/www/src/wp-content/plugins/hello.php. Error message: count():
 Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable

 I've asked some editorial folks to also review this issue.

Ticket URL: <https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/46898#comment:10>
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