WordPress Discussion Settings

Video Tutorial

Script & Screenshots

In this video I’m going to go through the Discussion Settings.

On the left menu, click on Settings.

Then click on Discussion.

At the top we have the Default article settings.  It starts with Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article.  And Allow link notification from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles.  Both of these used to be important awhile back but now hackers have figured out how to exploit this feature.  So I recommend turning both of these off by unchecking them.  They’re not valuable in terms of SEO anymore so there is no reason to have them turned on.

For the Allow people to post comments on new articles is the closest you can come to turning off comments on your website.  If you check it, all articles you create in the future will not have the comments feature on them.  It will not remove it from older posts.  If you want to remove it from the old posts you’ll need to go into the post section and you can do a bulk edit and set to Do Not Allow.  I’ll show you how to do this in another video.

I’m going to uncheck this option.

Under Other Comment Settings, I highly recommend you keep the Comment author must fill out name and email.  Users must be registered and logged in to comment.  If you’re hoping to get a lot of comments on your blog I would not recommend checking this box as I might discourage visitors to comment since it would take them an extra step to comment.  Now that there are plugins to prevent spam, you can keep this unchecked and not receive too much spam with the others enabled.

Automatically close comments on articles older than 14 days allows you to have comments close after a certain amount of days after it is posted.  it is more common for spammers to target older articles that have established traffic and a good search engine ranking. These articles can sometimes be years old, so you may not even notice that they have been attacked.  A couple of months (e.g. 100 days) is normally a good balance between keeping comments enabled on new articles and stopping spammers.

Enable threaded (nested) comments 5   levels deep.  If you have this checked it will indent responses to comments.  You can change the number of levels or turn this off.  If you do enable it, make sure it looks good with your theme on the desktop and mobile versions.

Break comments into pages with 50 top level comments per page and the last page displayed by default.   Comments should be displayed with the older comments at the top of each page.  If you receive a lot of comments on your blog, I recommend enabling this feature.  This will keep your pages from getting too long and taking forever to scroll through.  If you do enable this, once they reach the top level number of posts you set here, it will then display a link that visitors can click to read more of the comments.  You also have the option to display older or newer comments at the top of each page.  It’s best to leave this at Older.

I’ll change my setting to 100 days.

Under Email me whenever you have two options.  Anyone posts a comment and A comment is held for moderation.  If you receive a lot of comments if you have the top option checked it may become quite annoying and fill up your inbox.  I like to uncheck this one.  You may want to keep the 2nd option check in case WordPress has stopped a comment.

Before a comment appears you can set some conditions.  Comment must be manually approved.  This means that every single comment must be manually approved. I use this setting because it gives me full control over what comments are published. This essentially means that no spam comments will ever be published on your website.  But it can also annoy those who are commenting on your site if you don’t approve comments quickly and it can also slow down the discussion on that topic.  If you decide you want to uncheck this, you can always un-approve a comment after its been published, but I’d rather prevent it from showing up at all.

Comment author must have a previous approved comment.  If you decide to enable the first option, this setting can help keep frequent commenters less annoyed so they’re not waiting for you to approve since they have already had a comment approved.  But you also have the chance that someone will post a good comment the first time and the next time submit scam.  Whatever you choose, just know you can always approve or un-approve comments at any time.  For my site I’m going to go ahead and check both of them.

Under Comment Moderation you can set comments with a certain amount of links to spam.  It defaults at two.  I like to set this at 1 since a lot of spammers only have one link.  So anything with one link will be sent to moderation where you can manually approve or un-approve.

Below that you can add words or IP’s that if they contain any of those words or IP’s, that comment will be sent to moderation.  Add one item per line.  Note if you add something like press, any comment with WordPress will be sent to moderation.  If you’d like to keep profanity off of your website add all the curse words here and then you can moderate their comments editing those words out.  Adding words in here can help, but I’d recommend adding a plugin for stopping spam which will provide much better protection against spam on your blog.  You can find out more about these plugins under the Spam Control Plugins tutorials.

I’m going to change this setting to 1.

Under Comment Blacklist you can list and words or people who you never want to comment on your site.  You can list a name, IP, or email.  It will then be marked as spam.  Once again add one item per line.  It will match inside words so once again WordPress would be marked as spam if you blacklist press.  You may want to use this as a last resort, as genuine comments can end up deleted.

Lastly at the bottom you can choose if you’d like to display avatars.  You can also choose the default avatar that users will get if they don’t have a custom avatar.  I always leave it at the default.

Click the Save Changes button once you’re done making changes.

Note that you can keep changing these settings until you find the right balance for your site.  And most likely you’ll be adding to the comment moderation and blacklist boxes quite often.

That’s it for this video.  I’ll see you in the next one.

WordPress Basics
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Buy a Domain   (5:20)
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Introduction To WordPress
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Changing WordPress Settings
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Discussion Settings   (6:46)
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Updating WordPress   (1:50)
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