Getting Started with Comments in WordPress

An essential part of a successful blog is commenting. Comments are expressions of opinions or reactions to content on a page. These expressions allow a community to be fostered by allowing users to interact with others. They allow for additional questions to be asked and answered.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to manage comments in WordPress.

WordPress has a few settings to configure for comment sections across the website and two settings per post. There are also two recommended plugins for disabling or deleting comments and providing a subscription system for comments.

Getting Started

By default, WordPress will add a comment form at the bottom of a post. This form will require users to enter the comment, name, and email before it is posted.

Comments form

Adding Comments

Comments can be added directly from the post comment form, as seen in the previous section. To add a comment, the required fields must contain information before clicking the button.

Once “Post Comment” is clicked, it will appear above the comment form and inform the user that their comment is awaiting moderation.    

Moderating Comments

All comments made on the site will be stored in moderation. Navigate to Comments on the left sidebar to view all Comments.

Link to comments page

Within the Comments section, there will be categories for comment types: All, Mine, Pending, Approved, Spam, and Trash.

Based on what category is clicked, all comments of that category will be displayed.

When hovering over a comment, there will be options at the bottom for what to do with the comment.
The following actions include:

  • Approve: posts the comment on the Post
  • Unapprove: moves the comment into Pending
  • Reply: Quick reply from this window
  • Quick Edit: Edit the comment and commenter details
  • Edit: Full edit mode with details about status, permalink, author
  • Spam/Trash: mark as Spam or send to Trash

Comment Configuration

To configure comments, navigate to Settings > Discussion from the left sidebar.

There are plenty of settings for the discussion. Some of the key settings are located in the following sections:

  • Default post settings: Changes will be applied to new posts; allow submission of comments on new posts
  • Other comment settings: Users must be registered and logged in to comment (reduces spam comments); break comments into pages (control max comments shown at once)
  • Email me whenever: Notification of every comment and when it is held for moderation
  • Before a comment appears: Must be manually approved – but you approve comments anyway
  • Comment Moderation: Controls how many links can be commented before it stays in queue; control keywords and commenter details that will be put into moderation queue
  • Disallowed Comment Keys: Controls keywords and commenter details to be marked as Trash
  • Avatars: Allow avatar and create a default for users without custom avatars; maximum rating (audience type)

Control Comments from Post Page

To configure comments per post, navigate to Post from the left sidebar.

Choose a Post to edit. Open up the Post Settings (gear icon on the top right), and choose Post > Discussions.

The following two settings can be changed for this particular post:

  • Allow/Disable comments
  • Allow Trackbacks & Pingback: link notification about other sites using your content or content being referenced within your site. Trackbacks are manual while Pingbacks are automatic. Both can usually be displayed as comments.

Disable Comments (Plugin)

The Disable Comments plugin is recommended for additional comment configuration. It’s designed to remove comments and stop spam as the name suggests.

Once installed, you may find the configuration page under Settings> Disable Comments.

From the Disable Comments section, you will see the following Settings:

  • Everywhere: Disable comments globally on your entire website
  • On Specific Post Types – disabled comments on posts, pages, or media while also disabling trackbacks and pingbacks.
  • Disable Avatar
  • Disable Comments with API – via XML-RPC or REST API

To view the Delete Comments section, click over to Delete Comments or navigate to Tools > Delete Comments.

This section will include the following settings:

  • Everywhere: Permanently delete all comments – cannot retrieve comments
  • On Certain Post Types: removes existing entries in the database
  • Delete Certain Comment Types: only option is currently Comment
  • Spam: deletes all comments marked as spam

Note: The delete comments section will remove existing entries and cannot be reverted without a database backup.

Subscribe to Comments Reloaded (Plugin)

The Subscribe to Comments Reloaded plugin allows users to subscribe for email notification of comments.

Once installed, the plugin offers a subscription manager to allow subscription to certain posts or all notifications. Custom messages can be added for each type of request (e.g. request link, request submitted, subscribe without commenting).

Summary

Comments can be an essential part in fostering a community through your WordPress site. Through an increase of interaction, it can also bring more traffic and retain a target audience. By default, WordPress enables comments across the site which are automatically put into a moderation queue. Through the queue, moderators can decide whether to approve, edit, reply, or mark comments as spam/trash.

Configure comments to force users to be logged in, display a certain amount per page, notify of comments and changes in the queue and mark keywords for moderation or spam. These are just a few key settings but there are plenty more to customize. Two additional plugins that are recommended for configuring comments are Disable Comments and Subscribe to Comments Reloaded. One controls disabling and deleting comments from the database, while the other allows users to subscribe to email notifications of comments on the site.

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