WordPress Discussion Settings

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If you have a blog on WordPress, you'll want control over A) whether or not people can comment, B) who can comment, and C) what comments appear live on your site. Learn how to use Discussion Settings to moderate comments.

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Moderator Decisions

In order to moderate comments, go to the Sidebar Menu, hover over Settings, then Discussion.

If you want to disable comments, go to Default Article Settings and turn off Allow people to post comments on new articles. Now, be aware: it says “new articles," which means if you’ve been posting prior to making this change, then those posts will still allow comments. Disabling comments only works for posts moving forward, so make sure you decide on how you want to moderate comments before starting your blog.

You’ll also notice that you have the ability to let other blogs know when you’ve linked to them, as well as find out if other blogs have linked to you. One of the things about blogs is they're community-oriented, so people are often looking to share audiences in order to grow socially.

Now, let’s look at Other Comment Settings. First of all, you’re going to get a lot of spam if you’re just open for anyone to comment. One of the default settings is that the author must fill out their name and email, but this won’t stop people—that’s not enough. It’s a good start, but it's easy to falsify a name and email.

One way that you can actually stop spam is by forcing people to be registered and logged in. They have to create an account in order to comment on your particular site.

You also have the ability to close comments. I’m sure you’ve seen where it says, “comment section now closed." This is especially important if you have a time-sensitive post.

Something to consider when allowing comments is whether or not you want to enable threaded or nested comments (meaning users can directly respond to each other rather than just the main post). If you decide to enable threaded/nested comments, consider how many levels deep you'll allow a line of conversation to go before it begins to stray from the original topic.

You’re also going to have one long blog roll unless you break the comments up. Consider: How many top-level comments do you want? How many levels deep are you willing to let comments go? Do you want the last page or first page? Do you want the comments to be the older comments at the top, or the newer comments at the top? This all depends on the post. Obviously, if your post is soliciting solutions, you'll want the latest comment on top, where posters will more likely have found an answer. As opposed to if you’re having a conversation, you want to probably trace it from the beginning to its current point.

How to Moderate

So you notice Email Me Whenever when anyone posts a comment or a comment is held for moderation. And this is why: you can moderate from your email. You don’t need to log into your WordPress site. You might want to get user comments sent to you in email so that you can decide on the go whether or not it's appropriate.

Before a comment appears, notice Comment must be manually approved is off—that’s because it's very labor-intensive to go through each individual comment. So the default here is that the author must have a previously approved comment. What that means is that you put your first comment forward, the person who moderates the site looks at it and says: okay, this person is valid. Then that comment posts. Then every post onwards is automatically approved.

However, most people don’t work that way. People use moderation.

Follow along with me in the video for this part. We’ve got this moderation text area here. Usually if you see links in a comment, it's spam. Pay close attention to whether or not the post has two or more links. You might want to lessen the links to just one, because posting multiple links is unusual in comments. People who include links in their comments either want to draw people away from your site, or they’re trying to spam and sell something.

You could also block individual content as well, specifically words. However, you have to be aware of the fact that there is something called inside words. So, for example, what they give here is that if you block “press” that’s going to also block “WordPress.”

In addition to content, a lot of people do this—especially if you’ve got educational sites—you want to remove curse words. You can put specific content to block. But, sometimes you have people who come and they abuse the comment section. So you can moderate based on username, URL, email address, and, most importantly, IP address. I say most importantly because repeat offenders can create as many different fake email addresses as they want to, but they’ll all be coming from the same IP address, so you can block that off.

The moderation queue contains all the posts awaiting your approval. But if you know for a fact that you want to get rid of these comments completely, you’ve got the exact same thing but in a Comment Blacklist. And you won’t ever see these. These are just thrown into a dark hole someplace – but it’s the same choices, one per line, where you’re putting content, name, URL, email, or IP address for anything that you just don’t want to have shown up.

If you have a blog, and you are built into a community called Gravatar, you can allow for people’s Gravatar logo and information to show up, which is a nice way for users to recognize each other while browsing your blog and other Gravatar-connected blogs.

Remember to click the giant “Save Changes” button to save all your hard work!

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