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How the comment settings affect the comment box

comment settings

Many people don't bother to look at the comment settings in WordPress when they first set up their blog.

But it is one of the most important settings to check over.

If it has been set wrong, it could even prevent your readers from commenting on your posts. Which is a missed opportunity for feedback and reader relationship building.

I want to show you how the different comment settings can affect how readers use the comment boxes.

What should an ordinary comment box look like?

This is important to note a fully functioning comment box. I use the Thrive Comments plugin, which makes my comment box look like this (after I have clicked inside it to open up the submission details):

Normal logged in comment box

As I am logged into my blog, it already recognises me and shows my gravatar. This is the little portrait of me that shows all over the blogosphere.

Also I don't need to enter in my details either. However, there is a link to logout or to change who I want to be commenting as.

If I was a visitor to the blog (and therefore not logged in), it would look like this:

Normal non-logged in comment box

And you can see the fields to enter in a name, email and website address.

Where can you find the comment settings?

In the Dashboard left sidebar, mouse over Settings and in its opening menu, click on Discussion:

Settings Discussion

It is interesting that WordPress view comments as discussion. Which of course it what it should be!

It opens into a full and varied page of settings.

Of the first group of settings, the third option allows commenting to happen:

allow commenting on new articles

This must be ticked if you want readers to be able to comment on your posts.

You can override this setting on individual posts through the Quick Edit option.

To find this, go to the Post Listings page and mouse over a post's title to bring up the editing links:

Showing the Quick Edit option

And when opened search for the check-box that allows comments:

Opened quick edit option

Who can comment on your posts?

The next section of the comment settings determines who can comment:

other comment settings

The first setting makes it compulsory for the reader to enter in their name and email before they submit their comment.

What data needs to be entered

This is important, as it's not good to have anonymous commenters on your blog. It also helps the spam moderators know who are the spammers, as they are forced to enter in their details.

I also think the email address is used to find your gravatar, should you already have one.

If the second option is ticked:

Commenters must be registered first

This option is only suitable for private blogs with a select readership who have been invited to comment.

It certainly will prevent ordinary readers from commenting, as they will not have registered themselves with your blog. They will see this:

Login to comment only

And this could be distressing to would-be commenters frantically looking for the submit button.

So I advise you NOT to select the second option above.

What about the rest of the comment settings?

The remaining comment settings are also extremely important to check, but they do not necessarily affect the comment box.

However, this post will give you suitable guidance on what they are for, and why you should taken note of them.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the content in the above post, please leave a comment and I will answer it. Any feedback will also help other readers, so don't hesitate to ask.

Please leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!


Important GDPR stuff: before you submit your comment, you will be asked to leave your name, email and web address, so we request your permission to display this data within our comments. Be reassured this information will not be collected onto lists or used for any other purpose.

  • Thanks for this Alice. It’s perfect to get people to go through the process. When I’m working with clients on issues with their websites, it’s often “it’s in the settings somewhere” which is the answer they’re looking for! 😉

    You’ve mentioned you use Thrive comments plugin. What does that give you/the reader that’s different/better than the ordinary wordpress comments which is standard to all wordpress sites? Thanks.

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