cc-licensed photo “Evening” by flicker user aloucha

cc-licensed photo “Evening” by flicker user aloucha

Members can have as many WordPress “sites” on the Commons as they want. We have over 1,300 sites on the Commons, many are dedicated to academic group collaboration or professional partnerships. These fall under different use cases. This page deals with personal sites (or “blogs”) – one person posting her/his thoughts, research, articles, poems, images…

We offer domain mapping if you choose to purchase your own domain name – your site will be hosted on the Commons, but your URL will be your own.

Examples of Personal Sites:

Tony’s Thoughts – where the Anthony Picciano, professor and executive officer of the Ph.D. program in Urban Education at the Graduate Center, reliably publishes his thoughts every day, many times focusing on pedagogical issues and current events.

Shehzad NadeemAssistant Professor of Sociology at Lehman College, uses a Commons blog as a portfolio site.

Orienting Statements – Perspectives on Black Music of the Americas by Dean S. Reynolds, a Ph.D. candidate in Ethno-musicology at the CUNY Graduate Center shows how someone can use a Commons site to gather resources and write incisive, personal blog posts. He also uses the site to post his CV and Bio.

Helldriver’s Pitstop  One of our oldest ongoing blogs Helldriver’s Pit Stop is written by an Assistant Professor of English at Hostos Community College. By turns a music review, a personal diary, and an ongoing meditation on the nature of blogging, it’s been seven years foot sliding.





A site can be configured to have one or many contributors, and WordPress allows granularity in the permissions users are assigned. Listed below are roles and their permissions:

  • Administrator – has access to all the administrative duties
  • Editor – can publish posts, manage posts as well as manage other people’s posts
  • Author – can publish and manage their own posts
  • Contributor – can write and manage their posts but not publish post
  • Subscriber – can read comments, and receive comment and news letters

To add a user to an existing site, follow these steps:

1. Log into the Dashboard of your site.

2. Navigate to the Users tab located in the left navigation bar of your Dashboard and select ‘Add New’.  This will open up the Commons Invitations Modal. For the remaining steps, see Invite Others to Join a Group or Site.



Suppose you want to record what you learn at a class or a conference. Both wikis and blogs let you compile links and share information, but blogs are better suited to broadcast that information. On the other hand, wikis allow content to evolve and grow by enabling collaboration. Blogs allow feedback in the form of comments, but searching through comments is not that convenient.

So here’s an alternative that lets you use both.  Using the WordPress plug-in “WIKI INC” you can include wiki content in your blog post or page.

After installing, on your post or page edit screen, scroll down to the Wiki Inc section and fill in the wiki site (must be MediaWiki sites like Wikipedia) and the name of the wiki page.  See below:

wiki append

  • WPCandy tutorials – WPCandy has many useful tutorials that provide tips on configuring your blog.
  • FLOSS – general how-to manual for WordPress (in TWIKI format)
  • – Here you will find complete documentation for WordPress, including available plug-ins and themes and free downloads. As an open source project, WordPress depends on its community to develop plug-ins and themes, and to document each of these by using its Codex, a collection of blog pages which serve up wiki pages that members of the community can collaborate on.
  • WordPress TV Screencast how-tos created by WordPress developers

Authors love to get feedback from those who read their posts, but how can they ensure that the comments are genuine?

Spammers comment on site posts to get their URLs posted on legitimate sites, and increase their Google rankings. (.edu sites are especially enticing to them!)  How can bloggers avoid “legitimizing” this activity?

Site settings
On your WordPress dashboard, find “Settings” on the left-hand menu, and choose “Discussion Settings.” You will find many ways to regulate those who comment on your blog. You may want to require manual approval for first-time commentors – or for commentors who include a lot of URLS (spam often contains many external links). You can set up the rules here.

Suspicious URLs
Spam comment almost always includes urls. Take a look at them to determine if they look funny.

Suspicious e-Mail addresses
Spam comment may also include e-mail addresses, and these can also tip you off that you are being spammed. Look for odd addresses…

Context-free “Praise”
Watch for comments that offer little specific context (i.e. “I love your post!”). Or comments that string together keywords from your post in incoherent phrases.

Other examples:

“I am not any authority, but I presume you just crafted a particularly high-quality point. You plainly understand what you’re speaking about, and I can see the issue being made here.”
“I am not a specialist, nevertheless I suppose you just produced an especially high-quality point. You clearly understand what youre speaking about, and I can quite get behind that.”
“Thank you a great deal of for so worthwhile article. Outstanding job!”

When in Doubt
Remember, you can always approve a comment, but get rid of its links, rendering it inconsequential.

When Not in Doubt
Mark the comment as “Spam.” Don’t just click “Trash.” This will help the various filters identify future spam.

Akismet is a WordPress plug-in that is by default installed on Commons blogs, but you’ll need to configure it with an activation key. It is a filter that acts as our first line of defense against spam. Check out Akismet’s FAQ page for more information. The Commons now has a free activation key for Akismet – check out this post for more information.

WordPress uses plugins to extend the core functionality of sites. There are over ten thousand plugins which have been developed by the WordPress Community.

The Commons provides access to a curated subset of this these plugins. These plugins are installed and ready to be activated. The Commons Plugin Director lets you do a keyword search to find plugin descriptions and urls pointing to more information.

If you know of a plugin which you would like to use, but which is not installed on the Commons, send an email to

How to Activate a Plug-in on a Commons Site

Activating a plugin is a one time operation – on the WordPress Dashboard, click on “Plugins.” Then scroll down until you find a plugin you’d like to try out. Click the checkbox and the “Activate” hyperlink. If you don’t like the plugin or find that it doesn’t do what you want, you can follow the same procedure, by clicking on the “Deactivate” hyperlink.

To find out more about what a plugin does and how to use it, click on “View Plugin Site.”