I have a custom taxonomy "q_client" - each time a new term is added to this tax the ID of the user is stored in user_meta.

So each user has an array of id of the terms they have added - a quick hack to get around the lack of a taxonomy_meta table.

So - I'd like to use pre_get_posts to only include the terms that this user has added on ALL views - admin and front-end.

Here is what I've got so far:

Add the action:

add_action( 'pre_get_posts', array ( $this, 'tax_query' ), 2 );

The method

public function tax_query( $query ) 

        // get our existing user meta - or an empty array ##
        $q_client_terms = $this->get_q_client_terms();


        if ( $query->is_tax( 'q_client' ) ) {


            $taxquery = array(
                    'taxonomy'  => 'q_client',
                    'field'     => 'id',
                    'terms'     => $q_client_terms,
                    'operator'  => 'IN'

            $query->set( 'tax_query', $taxquery );
            return $query;



The main problem is I can't get is_tax or any other query variable to catch correctly - var_dump($query) gives a boolean false on is_tax() - it does not even know which post type this is on when editing the taxonomy via the admin.

Any help would be much appreciated - thanks!


Thanks to @Milo - here is the code I now use:

   function get_terms_args( $args, $taxonomies ) {

        global $pagenow; // required if you want to only filter on certain pages ##

            //&& 'edit-tags.php' == $pagenow
            'q_client' == $taxonomies[0] 
        ) {

            // get our existing user meta - or array ( -1 ) to exclude all terms ##
            $q_client_terms = $this->get_q_client_terms();

            // add array of terms to the include key ##
            $args['include'] = $q_client_terms; 


        // kick back args Array ##
        return $args;


One thing to note is that if each user has not added any terms and your return an empty array or an array( 0 ) - they will be shown all the terms - so use array( -1 ) to ensure they are all hidden

I've used this filter on all requests to this taxonomy as I want to filter everywhere - not just the admin

  • To add some context - I'm trying to get this to work on the taxonomy edit screen for now - domain.com/wp-admin/edit-tags.php?taxonomy=q_client&post_type=q_post_type
    – Q Studio
    Dec 27, 2013 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


The issue with a taxonomy screen on the admin side is that it isn't a taxonomy archive. An archive is a collection of posts, a taxonomy admin screen is a collection of terms. The terms on those screens are loaded via get_terms, and the filter to modify those arguments is get_terms_args. Something like this should be able to catch those queries, where you can set the include argument:

function wpa_filter_term_args( $args, $taxonomies ) {
    global $pagenow;
    if( is_admin()
        && 'edit-tags.php' == $pagenow
        && 'q_client' == $taxonomies[0] ){
            // assuming $q_client_terms is an array
            $args['include'] = $q_client_terms; 
    return $args;
add_filter( 'get_terms_args', 'wpa_filter_term_args', 10, 2 );
  • Excellent suggestion - I've added the code I'm using to clarify - thanks!
    – Q Studio
    Dec 27, 2013 at 9:11
  • I have one strange issue now - if User A has a term "New Client" and User B add the same term "New Client" - they are saved correctly into the DB - with slug new-client-2 and the same name - but the filtering breaks.. but surely this is all done by the ID.. hmmm? I'll look further into this.
    – Q Studio
    Dec 27, 2013 at 9:14

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