How to Set Discussion Options for Your WordPress Blog - dummies

How to Set Discussion Options for Your WordPress Blog

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

Click the Discussion link on the Settings submenu of WordPress. On the Discussion Settings page, you can set the options 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 10 settings that you can configure for your blog.

When you’re done setting up your options, click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page to put the changes into effect.

Default Article Settings

The Default Article Settings section is where you tell how to handle post notifications. Three options are available to you:

  • Attempt to Notify Any Blogs Linked to from the Article: Enabled by default, this option makes your blog send a notification, via a ping, to any site you’ve linked to in your blog post.

  • Allow Link Notifications from Other Blogs (Pingbacks and Trackbacks): Enabled by default, this option tells WordPress that you want your blog to be notified via pings and trackbacks that other people have linked to you. WordPress lists any ping and trackback notifications in the Comments section.

  • Allow People to Post Comments on the Article: Enabled by default, this option lets people leave comments on your blog.

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 ThanXDays

  • Enable Threaded (Nested) CommentsXLevels Deep

  • Break Comments into Pages withXComments Per Page

  • Comments Should Be Displayed with the Older/Newer Comments at the Top of Each Page

Email Me Whenever

There are five options in the Email Me Whenever section:

  • 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 settings tell WordPress that you want to receive an e-mail anytime anyone leaves a comment on your blog, when a comment awaits your moderation, or when someone Likes or subscribes to your blog. All five options in this section are enabled by default.

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:

  • Comment Must Be Manually Approved: Selecting this option holds every new comment on your blog in the moderation queue until you log in and approve it.

  • Comment Author Must Have a Previously Approved Comment: When this box is selected, the only comments approved and published on your blog are those left by commenters who are already approved by you.

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. 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.

Comment Blacklist

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.

Follow Comments

Select the Show a ‘Follow Comments’ Option in the Comment Form check box 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 way to keep lively discussions going!

Follow Blog

Select the Show a ‘Follow Blog’ Option in the Comment Form check box 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.


Use markdown for comments. Markdown is a way for you to use text to create HTML formatting.


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 we’re all used to.

You can select a G, PG, R, or X rating for the avatars that display on your blog; if your site is family-friendly, you probably don’t want to display R- or X-rated avatars. 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.

Comment Form

The text field here displays 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.