I was browsing through the WordPress Plugins this afternoon and found one that made me chuckle. My first reaction was to think it was morbid, my second reaction was to Twitter about it and my third was to hit install!
What’s the name of the plugin that amused me in the afternoon? It’s called Next of Kin by Tzafrir Rehan and it takes care of your blog when you are no more! Have ceased to be! Expired and gone to meet your maker!
Basically Next of Kin sends out a series of warning e-mails to your ‘next of kin’ should you not log into your blog for a certain length of time then after the third it sends out a ‘digital will’ of passwords etc to enable someone to access your blog. The timeframe is set by you so there’s no danger of a post-death email being sent out to your Mum when you’re just off on a two week holiday 🙂
You choose the message that will be mailed out and you choose who it will be sent to (might be an idea to warn them you have nominated them!). In my case my Fiance will be given the job of maintaining this so if you suddenly see this blog full of Apple products and Java Programming tips you’ll know what’s happened.
So if you have WordPress then why not give ‘Next of Kin‘ a shot and don’t let all your hard blogging go to waste.
Tzafrir where on earth did you get the idea of the Next of Kin plugin?
The idea came to me as I was thinking what will happen to my online presence, in case something will happen to me. I don’t like to think about it any more than anyone else, but eventually everybody dies, and I would like my blog to out live me, and not just expire along with the domain name.
Once the idea settled in my head, the actual programming took a very small effort, and was a great exercise in writing a WordPress plugin.
It seems like such a morbid thing to do but the more I thought about it the more I realised it was very practical! Has the reaction generally been positive or have you had any negative press?
I never received any negative response – the range of the responses goes between mild humour to great seriousness and appreciation.
The best response I received was from Lorelle VanFossen at Wordcamp Israel 2007, as it turns out she uses it as a reminder service for one of her blogs, and it was the first time I heard that my plugin actually works. I gave it some testing before releasing, but I naturally get very little feedback for a plugin that you’re not around to see do its work.
On the WordPress site there was a suggestion that after the last warning email you can set the blog to automatically post on your behalf from ‘beyone the grave’. Do you have any plans to develop the plugin with anything like that?
Sadly as my life moved on from WordPress developement, I also never found enough time to finish work on the plugin’s next version.
My plans include adding support for the “blog reminder” use case, and the post humous blog post that was suggested.
You’ve also had a few comments regarding the storing of the emails with some people being concerned over the security of the storing of the emails/passwords. Are you aware of these comments and do you think they have any grounds for worrying?
I do agree that there are security concerns.
Anything you write in a plugin is only as secure as your blog is.
There are technological constraints regarding the storage of the information, since unlike the WordPress password, which is encrypted in the blog’s database, your next of kin emails need to be sent as plain text in the future, and if the plugin can read it, so can a hacker.
The only solution for those that wish to put in sensitive information, is to have their own method, such as giving a friend a locked box, and telling them where the key is in the next of kin emails, or encrypting the messages in a way that can be decrypted by the recipients.
Finally, other than your own, what’s your top plugin that you couldn’t be without?
Definitely FireStats. Even when weeks go by without me writing a new post, I still keep track of visits to my blog religiously.