Making a WordPress Category Private

My thanks to Jason Jackson for encouraging me to use WordPress.com for the platform for the digital humanities seminar. Yesterday’s seminar was a hit when students found themselves registering for and then creating their very own blog. [I am maintaining a blog on WordPress.com alongside them][wpblog] (more on this in a moment), and I am trying to do as much as I can in the blog itself. And that means writing my teaching notes in there. I am happy to release my teaching notes to the participants *after* a seminar is over, but in the weeks and days leading up to the date, I would rather keep it private. Thankfully WordPress has a “private” option within its publishing system — in the *Publish* box, look for “Visibility” and click on the “Edit” link next to “Public.”

But that got me wondering: what if I didn’t want to make my teaching notes public? What if I wanted them to remain private? Do I have to click on that link every time? Is there a way to create a category called something like “notes” and make every post within it private?

That functionality is not built into WordPress itself, but it is available as a plug-in — so, no, it won’t work for my WordPress.com blog because I don’t have the ability to load my own plug-ins (at least not in the free version I am using), but yes I could use it here. The two plug-ins that I have come across are:

* the quite clearly names [Privacy Suite](http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/private-suite/)
* and the more cryptically named [CaPa Protect](http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/capa/).

Why am I keeping a separate blog for the seminar? First, because, as the slogan for the blog itself notes, it’s important for me to eat my own dog food. If I don’t participate in the infrastructure with them, I won’t know what difficulties they encounter. I also thought it would make it easier for us to subscribe to each other. And, most importantly, when I am done over there, I always have the option of exporting all those posts and importing them into this blog.

That’s the coolness that is WordPress.

Oh, and why would I be interested in making a category of posts private on this website? Because an increasing number of the readers here are coming for professional reasons, and I don’t really want to bore you with what might seem like an endless stream of stories about my daughter. And so, if I could make those posts private, it would save your valuable time. (For a time, I simply edited the infamous WordPress loop to leave all posts in the *life* category off the first page, but it strikes me that there might be a reason, with a child, to have some things not be discoverable at all.)

[wpblog]: http://johnlaudun.wordpress.com