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How to Manage Comments on Your WordPress Blog

What would your WordPress blog be if it didn’t include discussions and allow comments from your readers? But because what appears on your blog reflects on you, WordPress offers you options to control who can post comments and how those comments are displayed on your blog.

Discussion is the fourth item in the Settings menu list; click it to open the Discussion Settings page. The sections on this tab let you set options for handling comments and publishing posts to your blog.

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The following list covers the options available to you in the Discussion Settings page, which deals mainly with how comments and trackbacks are handled in your blog.

  • Default Article Settings: With the Default Article Settings options, you can tell WordPress how to handle post notifications. Here are your options:

    • Attempt to Notify Any Blogs Linked to from the Article: If you select this check box, your blog sends a notification (or ping) to any site you’ve linked to in your blog posts. This notification is also commonly referred to as a trackback. Deselect this check box if you don’t want these notifications sent.

    • Allow Link Notifications from Other Blogs (Pingbacks and Trackbacks): By default, this check box is selected, and your blog accepts notifications via pings or trackbacks from other blogs that have linked to yours. Any trackbacks or pings sent to your blog appear on your site in the Comments section of the blog post. If you deselect this check box, your blog doesn’t accept pingbacks or trackbacks from other blogs.

    • Allow People to Post Comments on New Articles: By default, this check box is selected, and people can leave comments on your blog posts. If you deselect this check box, no one can leave comments on your blog.

  • Other Comment Settings: The Other Comment Settings section tells WordPress how to handle comments:

    • Comment Author Must Fill Out Their Name and E-Mail: Enabled by default, this option requires all commenters on your blog to fill in the Name and E-Mail fields when leaving comments. This option can really help you combat comment spam.

    • Users Must Be Registered and Logged in to Comment: Not enabled by default, this option allows you to accept comments on your blog from only people who are registered and logged in as a user on your blog.

    • Automatically Close Comments on Articles Older Than X Days: Select the check box next to this option to tell WordPress you want comments on older articles to be automatically closed. Fill in the text box provided with the number of days you want to wait before WordPress closes comments on articles.

    • Enable Threaded (Nested) Comments X Levels Deep: From the drop-down list, you can select the level of threaded comments you want to have on your blog. The default is one; you can choose up to ten levels.

    • Break Comments into Pages with X Comments Per Page: Fill in the text box with the number of comments you want to appear on one page.

    • Comments Should Be Displayed with the Older/Newer Comments at the Top of Each Page: From the drop-down list, select Older or Newer. Selecting Older displays the comments on your blog in the order of oldest to newest.

  • E-Mail Me Whenever: The two options in the E-Mail Me Whenever section are enabled by default:

    • Anyone Posts a Comment: Enabling this option means that you receive an e-mail notification whenever anyone leaves a comment on your blog.

    • A Comment Is Held for Moderation: This option lets you receive an e-mail notification whenever a comment is awaiting your approval in the comment moderation queue.

  • Before a Comment Appears: The two options in the Before a Comment Appears section tell WordPress how you want WordPress to handle comments before they appear in your blog:

    • An Administrator Must Always Approve the Comment: Disabled by default, this option keeps every single comment left on your blog in the moderation queue until you, the administrator, log in and approve it.

    • Comment Author Must Have a Previously Approved Comment: Enabled by default, this option requires comments posted by all first-time commenters to be sent to the comment moderation queue for approval by the administrator of the blog.

  • Comment Moderation: In the Comment Moderation section, you can set options to specify what types of comments are held in the moderation queue to await your approval.

    To prevent spammers from spamming your blog with a ton of links, enter a number in the Hold a Comment in the Queue If It Contains X or More Links text box.

    The large text box in the Comment Moderation section lets you type keywords, URLs, e-mail addresses, and IP addresses.

  • Comment Blacklist: In this section, type a list of words, URLs, e-mail addresses, and/or IP addresses that you want to flat-out ban from your blog. Items placed here don’t even make it into your comment moderation queue; the WordPress system filters them as spam.

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