Removing Emoji & Emoticon Support from WordPress ;-)

Apparently, since its 4.2 update WordPress automatically converts text based smilies like “;-)” into emoji images like 😉

Besides being problematic regarding loading times (the script is loaded wether you use emojis or not) – the images might not fit the overall asthetics and design of the site while a text-only smiley might be preferred.

I started out by using WordPress hooks as described here:

remove_action('wp_head', 'print_emoji_detection_script', 7);
remove_action('wp_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles');

…and amending this as described here:

function disable_wp_emojicons() {

  // all actions related to emojis
  remove_action( 'admin_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles' );
  remove_action( 'wp_head', 'print_emoji_detection_script', 7 );
  remove_action( 'admin_print_scripts', 'print_emoji_detection_script' );
  remove_action( 'wp_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles' );
  remove_filter( 'wp_mail', 'wp_staticize_emoji_for_email' );
  remove_filter( 'the_content_feed', 'wp_staticize_emoji' );
  remove_filter( 'comment_text_rss', 'wp_staticize_emoji' );

  // filter to remove TinyMCE emojis
  add_filter( 'tiny_mce_plugins', 'disable_emojicons_tinymce' );
add_action( 'init', 'disable_wp_emojicons' );

  // disable TinyMCE emojicons
function disable_emojicons_tinymce( $plugins ) {
  if ( is_array( $plugins ) ) {
    return array_diff( $plugins, array( 'wpemoji' ) );
  } else {
    return array();

  // remove the DNS prefetch 	
add_filter( 'emoji_svg_url', '__return_false' );

But this did not turn my text smiley back into plain text.

Then I discovered the plugin “Keep Emoticons as Text” which does the trick with a single line of code:

add_filter( 'option_use_smilies', '__return_false' );

You can easily put all above and this last line in the functions.php of your child theme – or, even better, in your own functional plugin. And you’re done 😉


User Avatars: Adding an Author’s Photo with a Plugin

I guess it’s due to the major role that Automattic plays for the WordPress community that WordPress out of the box still doesn’t support local user avatars. Instead, users have to register with Automattic’s Gravatar to have a profile image displayed on their website (as long as the theme in use supports this). This is weird and a hassle.

While this is most probably solved with a little coding of your own, it’s also a niche for plugins – especially if you want your users to upload their pictures themselves.

The plugin with the most active installations, WP User Avatar, seems to do the job pretty good. Not acceptable in my opinion though is the fact that the plugin adds a new top level menu item in the WordPress admin bar – instead nesting into “Settings”, where settings like these should go.

The settings page of the plugin WP User Avatar (picture by

This is really intrusive and displays a sense of entitlement by the developers that I can’t really understand. Of course, there are ways to clean up the WordPress dashboard – but why clutter it up in the first place? I really don’t get why this plugin is so widely recommended.

Enter the competition: The very similar named WP User Avatars has 10.000+ active installs and is actively maintained – by widely known WordPress core contributer John James Jacoby. This plugin may has less settings than the afore-mentioned one but it’s light-weight, fast and does the trick.