WordPress Matrix Follow The White Rabbit Easter Egg

Apparently this jolly joke by the developers has been a hidden feature of WordPress for years but I only encountered it for the first time today – and it came as a nasty surprise.

Knowledge is forewarned so I thought I’d share it to avoid others facing the same unwelcome shock. Easter Eggs are intentional hidden messages or in-jokes in programs, web browsers etc.

The problem with this one is that it is exactly what you might expect if your WordPress site had been hacked or infected by malware…

Matrix Easter Egg – appears when you accidentally try to compare a post revision to itself…

If you edit a post you may see a pink message at the top saying “There is an autosave of this post that is more recent than the version below. View the autosave’. Click the ‘View the Autosave’ link and scroll down to the Compare Revisions section – here you can compare revisions to see what has changed.

The Easter egg appears if you make a mistake and select the Old and New radio buttons for the same revision instead of for two different revisions – an example is shown below:

wordpress easter egg

Clicking ‘Compare Revisions’ does not just display an error message (you can’t compare a revision to itself) – WordPress developers obviously decided to have some fun and display the White Rabbit Easter egg instead…

WordPress Matrix Easter Egg

The Easter egg in WordPress now takes over the screen and displays a message “Self-comparison detected. Initiating infinite loop eschewal protocol. Self destruct in 3…2…1… Wake up. The Matrix has you. Follow the white rabbit. Don’t let this happen again. Go back.

You can see this sequence in the video below:

How To Disable The Easter Egg

If you develop your own WordPress site it is probably enough that you have now seen the sequence and know what it is/when it happens. However, if you develop sites for others or have multiple authors/admins you may wish to install a plugin to stop this Easter egg from being displayed and avoid unnecessary worry.

There is a simple WordPress plugin here which replaces the irritating Easter egg with a no-fuss error message.

Conclusion

Now that you have seen it you can perhaps enjoy the joke – but it’s not so funny if you are maintaining/troubleshooting your site and haven’t seen it before.

This WordPress Easter egg could make people think their site had been hacked – if they didn’t investigate further they might even pull the plug and start restoring from backups…

WordPress developers – too clever for their own good?

6 Responses to: "WordPress Matrix Follow The White Rabbit Easter Egg"

  1. tasha says:

    so thankful for this information!!! I just got this alert and it scared me to DEATH!!! lol
    thanks for posting this…I can breath now :))

  2. Cathy says:

    Phew! Thanks loads – this has just happened to me and I really thought the site had been hacked. I love your comment “WordPress developers – too clever for their own good?” – my answer is a definite YES!!

    Thanks loads for sharing this with everyone, you’ve totally put my mind at rest! :-)

  3. Maciej says:

    Just had the same too! MIlion thoughts at once! Gosh

  4. Adi Muhadist says:

    I just found out this easter egg just a while ago. Scare the sh*t out of me.

  5. Rob P says:

    NOT IN THE LEAST BIT FUNNY.

    Now I have to add another plugin (more things to break!), what possesed the developers to do this?