Intermediate WordPress User

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Managing Settings: Discussion

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Are you tired of moderating spam comments on your website? Let’s explore the discussion settings so that you can personalize your site and make comment moderation even easier. I’ll be navigating around my food blog, but feel free to pull up your own site and make changes there as we go. To start, we’ll hover over the settings on the left navigation bar and click Discussion.

Default post settings

The first thing you see here is the default post settings. I will check that first option, which allows WordPress to notify linked sites if I mention them in my posts. I also want to be notified if another blog links to my post, so I’m going to check the second box down, also. That allows for notifications of trackbacks or pingbacks. The third box is pretty important, in my opinion. This is where I can enable or disable comments as a whole. But in my case, or for my food blog, I love a good conversation, so I will allow comments by checking this box. Now, in my food blog, if I enable comments, you’ll see them right below the post. And if I disable comments, you’ll see there’s no place to leave one. You can also make these changes on a post-by-post basis. Just scroll down to the discussion meta box and enable or disable comments.

Other comment settings

Other comment settings determine how WordPress will handle comments when they’re posted. The first option requires each commenter to leave a name and email address with each comment. The second option requires that the commenter be logged in. The benefit of checking these boxes is adding some extra friction when someone leaves a comment. But the limitation is that you might turn away some visitors from commenting. For my food blog, I will check the first box and let unregistered visitors comment. If I don’t receive an unmanageable number of comments on my blog, I won’t check that third box, which would turn comments off after a certain number of days.

The fourth option allows the comment author to opt in for cookies. I’m a big fan of transparency so that I will check that fourth box. The next option allows other commenters to respond to a visitor. I love this idea because it allows your visitors to have a conversation with each other. The default is a nest of five comments deep. When I activate this feature on my food blog, different visitors can continue the conversation and reply to each other. You can change that number to be less or more, depending on if you think it’ll help with moderation or add to the conversation. If you have many comments on a post, you can use these options to moderate how many show up at a time and the order.

Email me whenever

If we move on to email me whenever, you’ll see you have two options: to get an email notification if someone posts a comment and to get an email notification if a comment is held for moderation. Feel free to check either one of those if you would like to be notified via email.

Before a comment appears

Next, you’ll see before a comment appears. This allows you to moderate or approve comments before they appear on your website. You can also choose to automatically approve comments from authors you’ve already approved. To help reduce spam comments, and since I don’t receive a ton to begin with, I’m going to choose to manually approve my comments. I can always change this if it becomes too time-consuming or delays the conversation in the comments.

Comment moderation and blacklist

Comment moderation and comment blacklist allow you to target specific words, terms, and links in comments. When these targeted items are found in a comment, you can set that to be forced moderation or to be blacklisted. This can help identify and control spam. For instance, I can block certain words that often appear, like “sale” or even “try this” or certain IP addresses. I can later check my spam comments to ensure a real comment wasn’t filtered out.


And onto the last part of the discussion settings are avatars. You can select whether or not to show a commenter’s avatar when they comment on a post. If you choose to display avatars, you can also control what type of avatar is displayed. That includes the rating to make sure that it could be suitable for all audiences or even more mature. And then also what the avatar looks like. I will go ahead and pick that retro option because that’s my favorite. Now, you can see what that retro avatar looks like when visitors leave a comment on my blog. Okay, that looks great, so I will make sure I go back and hit save changes.


You’ve now gone through and personalized all of your discussion settings.