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The Discussion Settings are used to control readers comments on your blog and how other blogs interact with your blog.

You can change these settings at any time by going to Settings > Discussion, make your desired changes and then click Save Changes.

Go to Discussion page

Your Discussion Settings screen has quite a few options, so lets explain them one at a time.

Default article settings

The default article settings control the defaults for new post or pages.

There are three default article settings options.

Default Article Settings

The first two options deal with pingbacks and trackbacks.  A pingback happens when another blogger writes a post and includes a link to your post in their post.

  • ‘Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article’ – means if you link to another blogger’s post it automatically sends a pingback to notify the blogger you’ve published a post about them.
  • ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)’ – means that if someone else publishes a post that links to one of your posts you’ll receive email notification of their post.

Normally you would leave both these options selected unless you wanted to disable comments on pages or posts.

“Allow people to comment on new articles’ controls if readers can submit comments on new posts and pages.   When “Allow people to comment on new articles’ is unchecked the comment form is disabled on future posts and pages; readers can’t submit comments on them.

Other Comment Settings

Other comments settings has quite a few options, as shown below.

Other Comment settings

Comment author must fill out name and email address

By default, any one leaving a comment must leave a valid name and email address.

If not checked, any visitor can leave a comment and isn’t required to enter an email address.  Please note readers will still see the name and email address option on the comment form;  but it is no longer required to submit a comment.

This option is often used when teachers don’t want students to use their email address.

Below is what the comment form looks like when ‘Comment author must fill out name and email address’ is left unchecked.

Comment form

Users must be registered and logged in to comment

By default, any one can leave a comment and isn’t required to log into their account.  You can restrict comments to logged in users by selecting “Users must be registered and logged in to comment”.

We don’t recommend you use this setting as it restricts who can comment; making it harder for readers to leave comments.

Below is what logged out users see if you use this option:

Logged out user

Automatically close comments on articles older than _ days

This setting is used to close comments automatically on posts and pages when they are X days old.

For example, if you only want articles to accept comments for 20 days you would select this option and type 20 into the text field.  After 20 days readers would see a ‘Comments are closed” message displayed at the bottom of the post.

Enable threaded (nested) comments

Threaded comments allow readers to reply to other comments inline/nested which encourages better discussion and responses.  This means you can reply to a comment directly regardless of when the original comment was posted, and your comment will appear just below the original comment.

By default, threaded comments are set to 5 levels deep.  You can control the number of levels deep you allow in your comment threads, from 1 to 10.

Here is an example of a two deep threaded comment on the post:

Threaded comment

Break comments into pages with _ top level comments per page and the _ page displayed by default 

If you have a lot of comments you can break your comments into pages using this option.  This helps reduce the amount of scrolling.

‘Break comments into pages with 50 top level comments per page and the last page displayed by default’ means the last comment page is displayed first and each page has 50 top level comments.

Comments should be displayed with the _  comments at the top of each page

By default, comments are displayed in order with the older comments at the top of each page.   This is the most common comment order used by bloggers as it makes it easier to see the history of a conversation in comments.

However, if you want your readers to see the most recent comment first you can change it to display the newest comments at the top by selecting “Comments should be displayed with the newest  comments at the top of each page”.

Email Me Whenever

Email settings

The email me whenever option controls whether you receive emails any time anyone leaves a comment on your blog and any time a comment is held for moderation.

The email for:

  1. Anyone posts a comment: is sent to email address of the person who wrote the post (i.e.  the post author)
  2. A comment is held for moderation: is sent to blog’s admin email address (Setting > General)

Normally you would keep both these settings enabled so you’re notified of all comments.

Learn more about email notifications and changing notification options here.

Before a Comment Appears

First comment moderated

Before a comment appears has two different settings.

Comment author must have a previously approved comment

The default comment setting on all newly created blogs is ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment before a comment appears’.

This means any visitors that have had a comment approved on the blog in the past will have their comment immediately posted and only comments from new visitors are placed in the moderation queue.

An administrator must always approve the comment

If ‘An administrator must always approve the comment’ before a comment appears is selected this means all comments will go into moderation and they need to be approved by an administrator before appearing on your blog.

This option is commonly used on class and student blogs to ensure no inappropriate comments are published.

Comments submitted by the post author are always published immediately and aren’t sent to moderation.  For example, if your student publishes a post on your class blog and then submits a comment on their own post their comment is published immediately.

Learn more about moderating comment options here.

Comment moderation 

The comment moderation options are used to control spam comments.

Comment moderation

Normally spam comments include a large number of hyperlinks. The default setting is 2; you can adjust this to your needs.

For example, educators who require their students to include hyperlinks in comments may choose to make this higher.

Another option for controlling spam comments is to add specific words, name , URL, email address or IP into the comment moderation box. If it matches something anywhere in the comment’s content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, the comment will be held in the moderation queue.

You use this comment moderation option where you have repeat spam comment offenders.

Comment Blacklist

The comment blacklist works the same as comment moderation except the comment is marked as spam instead of held for moderation.

Comment blacklist

Avatars

The avatar settings control how avatars are displayed on your blog.

The avatar display option lets you control whether avatars are or aren’t displayed next to comments.

Avatar display

The default avatar controls the look of the avatar for users that don’t have their own custom avatar.

Default avatar