How to Set Discussion Options for Your WordPress Blog
On the WordPress Discussion Settings page, you can set the options (such as notification settings) for your posts, determine how comments and comment spam are handled, and specify whether you want to use avatars on your blog. The Discussion Settings page has six settings that you can configure for your blog, each of which I discuss in the following sections.
Default Article Settings
The Default Article Settings section is where you tell WordPress.com how to handle post notifications. Three options are available to you:
Attempt to Notify Any Blogs Linked to from the Article
Allow Link Notifications from Other Blogs (Pingbacks and Trackbacks)
Allow People to Post Comments on the Article
Other Comment Settings
The Other Comment Settings tell WordPress how to handle comments:
Comment Author Must Fill Out Their Name and Email
Users Must Be Registered and Logged in to Comment
Automatically Close Comments on Articles Older Than X Days
Enable Threaded (Nested) Comments X Levels Deep
Break Comments into Pages with X Comments Per Page
Comments Should Be Displayed with the Older/Newer Comments at the Top of Each Page
Email Me Whenever
The four options in the Email Me Whenever section include
Anyone posts a comment
A comment is held for moderation
Someone Likes one of my posts
Someone reblogs one of my posts
Someone follows my blog
The e-mail feature can be very helpful, particularly if you don’t visit your blog daily.
Everyone likes to get comments on their blog posts, and it’s good to be notified when it happens so that you can revisit that post, respond to your readers, and keep the conversation active. All four options in this section are enabled by default; you can easily disable any, or all, of them by deselecting the check box to the left of each option.
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
Comment Author Must Have a Previously Approved Comment
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. Frequently, comment spammers try to spam your blog with a ton of links in the hope of promoting their own sites through your comment form.
You can set the number of links allowed in a comment before it’s tossed into the moderation queue to await approval. The default is 2. Give that a try, and if you’re getting lots of spam comments with multiple links, you may want to revisit this page and increase that number.
You can set keywords, URLs, e-mail addresses, or IP addresses to be flagged for moderation in the text box below the link setting.
In contrast to the Comment Moderation list, the Comment Blacklist is a list of words, URLs, e-mail addresses, and IP addresses that you want to flat-out ban from ever making it to your blog. Items placed here don’t even make it into your Comment Moderation queue; they’re filtered as spam by the system and completely disregarded.
Are you getting the feeling that comment spam is a real issue for bloggers? It’s huge — probably bigger than you imagine it to be. Much of the comment-spam prevention is done behind the scenes, so you don’t even see half of what’s going on. All the options on the Discussion Settings page are geared toward decreasing or eliminating comment or trackback spam from your blog.
If, during the course of your blogging experience on WordPress.com, you find that you’re having an issue with spam, you may want to revisit these options and make adjustments.
Comment Reply via Email
Select the box labeled Enable Sending Comment Replies via Email, and WordPress.com not only publishes your comment replies to your readers on your blog, but also sends your reply via e-mail to the reader you’re replying to. That e-mail contains the body of your reply and a link back to your blog.
Select the box labeled Show a ‘Follow Comments’ Option in the Comment Form if you want to allow the readers of your blog to subscribe to individual comment threads on your blog. When you enable this option, a check box appears in your comments section allowing your readers to opt to receive e-mails every time a new comment is posted to a specific post on your blog.
This option also puts a comment subscription management page on your blog that allows readers to view and manage their comment subscriptions. This is a really great tool to keep readers coming back to your blog over and over again, and a great way to keep lively discussions going!
Select the box labeled Show a ‘Follow Blog’ Option in the Comment Form if you want to give your readers an easy way to subscribe to your blog via e-mail. With this option enabled, readers who select this option receive an update in their e-mail box every time you publish a new post to your blog.
This is a fantastic way to keep your readers informed and coming back to your blog time and time again for more of your great published content.
Avatars are photos or images that represent your commenters (and you) on your blog. You can choose to display avatars on your blog by selecting the Show Avatars option. You can also set the maximum rating for the avatars; it’s much like the movie rating system you're used to.
If your site is family-friendly, you probably don’t want to display R- or X-rated avatars on your blog. You can select G, PG, R, or X ratings for the avatars that display on your blog. You can also select an image to use as the default avatar for those users who do not yet have avatars assigned to their e-mail.
The text field here displays Leave a Reply by default, and it’s the prompt your readers see on your blog that encourages them to leave a comment. You can leave this as is, or you can type your own prompt in this box to change the wording that displays in your comment area.