WordPress Taking Out The What?

| Created: August 20th, 2009
WordPress Opinion 10 Comments

After listening to recent episodes of the WordPress Weekly podcast (episodes 67 and 68), I was surprised to learn that in future versions of WordPress, the Delete link will be replaced with Trash.

So what does Trash mean? After looking it up in the dictionary, I find it means the same thing as rubbish (or garbage)!

Ahh, I see. Items will not actually be deleted in future, they’ll be sent to the ‘Trash can’. The WordPress team don’t want to use the term Delete, as it implies that the item will be deleted and can’t be recovered. This may cause confusion amongst users.

The WordPress team’s thinking is commendable and I’m glad that over the last year or so they’ve put a lot of effort into usability. I actually think Jane Wells’ appointment is the best thing to happen to WordPress in a long time.

The only problem is that in this case, they are replacing a term that is used universally in the English speaking world, with a term that is North American centric: Trash is not commonly used in Australia or the UK.

This may cause confusion in it’s own right. It probably won’t, because we’ve all seen American movies and know what it means – I didn’t really need to look up trash in the dictionary!

Actually I’m not upset about it. I just felt like making a point.

That’s probably because at one time in the past, I was the International Product manager for a library software company and had to ensure it was localised properly for Australia, UK and the US. It was little things like this that we needed to be careful about – we didn’t want to alienate our customers.

Of course they were paying customers, which means you have to cater for them a little more than for users of open source software, who are getting a great product for free. But it would be better to find a term that is used by everyone.

For my part, I’d be happy with keeping the term Delete. I’ve been using Windows for 15 years or so and I’m quite comfortable with the action of Delete actually sending things to the Recycle Bin. But I’m sure I’ll adjust if I have to take out the Trash in future.

10 responses on “WordPress Taking Out The What?

  1. Jeff Starr

    I agree.

    “Delete” is so clean and simple. “Trash” sounds like an 80’s rock band or something.

    Can’t wait for the first official “Restore-WordPress-Delete-Functionality” plugin 😉

  2. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for your comment. 80’s rockband gave me a laugh. With the long hair!

    Just for the record Jane Wells tweeted the following:

    Trash and Delete are 2 different functions, one is not replacing the other. Also, Trash is a standard term, see gmail, etc.

    to which I replied:

    In Gmail the action is Delete which goes to Trash. Same in Yahoo Mail and Thunderbird. Hotmail and Outlook use Delete.

    Delete is quite clearly the standard action (at least with email apps!).

  3. James M.

    Did they give any official reason for replacing the term? Like Jeff, I’d say Delete is better sounding than Trash. Delete is like a one-click affair, whereas Trash sounds like delete made complicated and you get the feeling that the trashed file/link is still there somewhere.

    Anyway, should that day come, I think I know enough PHP to dive into the wordpress turmoil, search for the ‘trash’ word, and replace it back with ‘Delete’. Hopefully I won’t mess up my blog in the process.

  4. shraddha

    i sort of disagree..

    we can not go back to deleted items
    but we can look through trash items if we accidently delete them

    do you see where i am coming from?

    1. Stephen Cronin Post author

      Hi Shaddha,

      I’ve got no problem with the functionality being added, just the terminology – mainly because Trash isn’t normally used in Australia or the UK.

      Personally, I’d go with Delete (the action) and Recycle Bin (where they go), because that terminology is more international (rather than US centric). Also, that’s what Windows uses, and I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of WordPress users are also Windows users. Maybe the WordPress developers don’t use Windows, but most of the end users do.

  5. Garry

    I think I know enough PHP to dive into the wordpress turmoil, search for the ‘trash’ word, and replace it back with ‘Delete’. Hopefully I won’t mess up my blog in the process. Thanks for the post.

  6. William@Niche Whiz Kid

    How about Recycle bin like on Windows?
    Are more and more parts of computing going to be Americanized? We have “color” and “center” in HTML coding, and it’s even a mission to find a British dictionary for Word or Firefox!

  7. Clayton Shumway

    True that “delete” sounds like you can’t get it back, and trash is old school. How bout “chest”? I’ve seen some anti-virus programs use the term…

  8. Jules@Automattic

    This is an interesting post. I had never really thought about the terms that are used and whether the words are universally used in the English language. It makes sense, it is just something I hadn’t really thought about when building software and naming the actions. I do understand the reason for the change though. It is more representative of the actual functionality.

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