Blogging Tips / Blogging Tutorials / Comments and commenting / Discussion settings / Tips Comments and Discussion Settings

2 people water coolerNot every blog requires comments but most are created  by bloggers who are eager to enter discussion  and are aimed at community building.   The ease or difficulty readers experience when commenting  on a blog will influence whether or not they will return to comment again.

In previous posts I’ve focused on  the choices of  Blog, Website or BothA Comment policy for your blog and Encouraging blog readers to comment. This post addresses several minor points regarding Comments Discussion Page settings arising in support forum discussions.

Discussion Settings are used to control how visitors and other blogs interact with a  blog. The default setting on blogs is open comments on all posts and pages. Dashboard > Settings > Discussion is the main page for setting up commenting preferences and there are many choices you can make explained in support documentation and in this WordPressTV video.

Comments on the Front Page

From time to time new bloggers ask if there is a way  to set the blog so that comments below posts will expand and display in a column below each post on the front page (or Posts page).   The answer is “no”. Just imagine how long the front page of your blog would be if the answer was “yes” and you had lots of comments on all posts on your front page.

The front page is meant to showcase the number of posts you choose to enter here >  Settings > Reading.  There  will be a comments link above, below, or next to each post for your visitors to click.  Once clicked the form will open and the  commenters’ identification data can be entered and submitted. When the title of the post is clicked  it will  display the post on a separate page of it’s own along with all the approved comments.

Auto-completion of Comment and Contact Forms

There is  comment form available at the end of each post your WordPress blog and some blogs also have a contact form. After the form is completed and submitted, the name and e-mail address of the person making the comment will appear and remain visible to them.  Why is that and who else can see it?  If another person makes a comment  are the details of  person leaving a comment before them visible to them?

comment uses cookies to keep track of commenters so if someone makes a comment on your blog, the next time they come to your blog, unless they have cleared their cookies, will recognize them and complete the details for them.  No one else will be able to view those details in comment boxes or in contact forms. The next person who comments will see blank fields.  Commenters will not see each other’s details.

Overriding default comment settings on individual pages and posts

Dashboard > Settings > Discussion
This is the main page for setting up commenting preferences and there are many choices you can make.  Scroll to >

Default article settings
___Allow people to post comments on new articles
(These settings may be overridden for individual articles.)

We can over-ride the reader’s ability to leave comments on individual posts or pages when we create them or edit them. Open a new post > Dashboard > Add New Post and scroll down to take a very close look at the module found under the editor box labeled > “Discussion”
discussion module

<—- This is where you can over-ride the default setting for comments on any given post or page. Remove the tick marks and click “Update” in the Publish module.

Automatic Comment Closure

Go back to the main Discussion page Dashboard > Settings > Discussion

Scroll down just below the Default article settings and take note of >
Other comment settings
Automatically close comments on articles older than ___ days

If you have supplied a number there ^ then the software will comply and close the comments on all posts and pages older than the number of days that you specified, regardless of the settings on the individual posts and pages.  If you wish to exclude a few posts you can use the Bulk Edit feature to do so:

Turn that setting off  go to Posts, select all old posts, select “Edit” from the Bulk Actions dropdown, click Apply, select “Do not Allow” from the Comments dropdown, click Update; repeat for those “two or three” old posts, selecting “Allow”. —  panaghiotisadam

Using HTML in Comments

As shown in this detailed article Html allowed in comments (1)
some themes display the HTML you are confined to using when commenting. What these HTML tags mean and how to use them is found in Html allowed in comments (2)

comment html

Images in Comments

As the Admin of your blog,  you can insert images into comments. Your readers can post links to images when they submit their comments and you can edit  comments and  insert the image/images. If a reader submits a link to an an inappropriate image  you are free to remove the link or delete the entire comment, just as you are with other comments.

Comment Embeds allows you and your readers to embed YouTube videos, tweets from Twitter, and PollDaddy polls directly into blog comments by simply adding a single URL into the comment text.  If a reader embeds an inappropriate video, tweet or poll on your blog, you are free to remove the link or delete the entire comment, just as you are with other comments.

Moving Comments

There may be a time when you publish a static page and then decide it ought to have been a post or visa versa. There is no automatic way of making such a data transfer either of the text or of the comments. In both cases it will be a copy and paste move.  After you have moved the text from the static page into a new draft post or visa versa and saved the draft, you can use this walk through to move the comments one at a time:

  1. While logged into WordPress > Dashboard sidebar menu  > “Comments”
  2. Copy comments and commenters’ identification data (username, email address, URL), and paste into a simple text editor.
  3. Log out of WordPress, enter the text and submit the new comment as if it was your own.
  4. Log back into WordPress   > Dashboard sidebar menu  > “Comments”
  5. Edit the newly submitted comment to remove your identification data  and replace them with the original commenters’ identification data (username, email address, URL)
  6. Delete the original comment.
  7. Repeat until you finish moving all comments.
  8. Delete the original static page or post, as the case maybe.

N.B. You can also use the same walk through to move comments that have been posted to the wrong post or page.


Do you have any questions about comments and discussion settings?

Related posts found in this blog:
Six free comment tracking services for bloggers
Anonymous commenting on a blog
Why blog comment moderation is a good thing
Crazymaking Blogger Comment Settings
Blogging: Comment Baiting
Encouraging blog readers to comment
A Comment Policy for your Blog
Crafting Quality Blog Comments

20 thoughts on “ Comments and Discussion Settings

  1. Hi Timethief,

    Lovely tips you have here and it is very helpful! I just have a tip to share with you. The method you are using to move the comments seems a bit tedious to me. I know that moving comments can be a bit of a hassle and a lot of people have been requesting for WordPress to add a moving comments functionality in the ‘ideas’ section. For this reason, I created a plugin to make this easier. You can check it out here:

    I hope it works for you and I am looking for many ways to improve it. If you have any suggestions to improve the plugin, I would love to hear from you. Thank you.

  2. Keep up the great work. It’s always great to see people helping to spread the word about how to create and maintain an awesome WordPress blog. I’m definitely looking forward to see what other tips you come up with.

    • Hello there and thank you for the kind words. I’m so glad you found my advice to be helpful on the forum. I’m likewise glad that you clicked into my blog. Happy New Year!

  3. Important thing about allowing comments, is that it helps that the blogger/author responds to useful comments.

    I haven’t had to undertake moving comments…. yet.

  4. Some very helpful info here, TT, thanks. Particularly moving comments from page to post or vice versa, whch is something I may have to do if I decide to open up comments for my art blog… there are so many things I’ve got planned and haven’t yet done! Oh well, there’s a new year fast approaching. Thanks for all you’ve done this past year, and I look forward to reading your words of wisdom next year too. :)

  5. Some very helpful info here, TT, thanks. Particularly moving comments from page to post or vice versa, whch is something I may have to do if I decide to open up comments for my art blog… there are so many things I’ve got planned and haven’t yet done! Oh well, there’s a new year fast approaching.

    Thanks for all you’ve done this past year, and I look forward to reading your words of wisdom next year too.

    • Hi Val,
      Eventually some of us are faced with moving comments. It’s tedious but it can be done. :)

      Thank you for being a regular reader and commenter. I appreciate your contributions to my blog very much. Have a great 2011. :)

  6. Hello Timethief – Just wanted to drop by and say Happy Christmas! I ‘ve enjoyed reading your blog enormously and have learnt many useful things in the process. In fact, you were the first person to reply to me when I posted on the support forum the first day I started blogging, so thanks again for everything!

    • @Joanna,
      Thanks so much for your well wishes. I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful and at times thought provoking comments. Without commenters a blog is nothing more than a noticeboard, so I value every comment I receive and every person who submits it very highly. May your holiday season be merry and bright and may your new year be a healthy and happy one. :)

  7. I stopped by just to take a look at what you were writing this time and was quite impressed with the layout on the landing page. Very nice. I don’t know if this is new or whether I just didn’t see it before as I usually come here by following one of your links.

    Regardless. I like the layout. :)

    • Hello there,
      I switched back to this theme called Inuit Types which I have previously used. I don’t have a static “landing page” and never will as they are traffic killers that aren’t the best fro SEO. Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

  8. Kathleen, there isn’t any way to remove the comments box or turn off comments on the attachment pages. If the image is a single image (not part of a gallery), then when you insert it, if you want it to enlarge when someone clicks on it, make sure and select “file URL” before inserting it. For previously inserted images you can open the post in the editor, click on the image and then click on the “edit image” icon, and then in the “advanced settings” tab (at the top of the window) select “file URL.”

    • Thank you for replying, Richard. I’m afraid your explanation has exceeded my knowledge and vocabulary so that I don’t understand what you are telling me.

      Are you giving me this advice so that all photos can be enlarged? As it is now, every photo I have used can be enlarged. When is a single image not part of a gallery? I guess I don’t know the difference between the two.

      Thank you.

      • @Kathleen,
        I.m wondering if this will work for you or not. After you upload the image go into the HTML editor and remove all the code from the beginning right up to <img and leave the rest alone. I believe that you may achieve what you want. Please try that and let me know if it worked for you.

        • When I followed your suggestion, the ability to enlarge the photo is removed — no enlargement, therefore, no comment field.

          While this does away with the undesirable comment field, it also does not allow a reader to enlarge a photo. I would prefer to leave this feature, as I notice is it commonly used by readers — they like to get up close to check out details in food photos.

          For the time being, I will leave things the way they are, rather than remove this feature, as a comment has been left only one time in 13 months on an enlarged photo. If this happens again, I know now how to relocate a comment.

          Perhaps someday, WordPress will give us the option to remove photo enlargement comment fields, as the comment properly belongs with the photo’s text. Thank you for helping me with this issue.


  9. timethief,

    One day after reading this post, I had occasion to use the information when a reader left a comment in an inappropriate location. I did just as you advised — copied the comment, logged out, and left the comment as though I was the commenter. It worked perfectly. This is a good thing to know. Thank you.

    One question: someone left a comment on my blog under an enlarged photo. I didn’t even know this was possible. Apparently, when one clicks a photo to enlarge it, there is a comment field beneath. I would like to remove the comment field from enlarged photos, but cannot find where to do this. There is nothing under Discussion (Dashboard) about this. Is it possible to remove this field?

    Thank you for all the blogging “gifts” you have given us all year.

    A very merry Christmas to you and yours.


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