Other Comment Settings

The first three settings in this section are designed to help you eliminate unwanted comments. First, you'll have to decide how much information a commenter must provide. By default, they have to leave a name and an e-mail address. If you uncheck this option, only the commenter's IP address will be recorded.

If you are planning a community site, you might choose to allow comments only from registered users. This option is not on by default, and it overrides the previous one.

You can have WordPress automatically close the comment threads on older posts. This is a useful anti-spam feature, since spambots are indiscriminate about which posts they target, but most of the real discussion on a blog post generally takes place in the first few days after it's published. You can adjust the number of days to suit your readership; if you notice that comments are lively for two months before dropping off, turn this setting on and change the number of days to 60. Note, however, that the word article appears again here: this setting applies to pages as well as posts. If you want to allow comments on your pages indefinitely, you'll want to leave this setting off.

The next three settings determine how comments are displayed on your site: threaded or linear, nested or flat, and chronological or reversed. Not all themes take advantage of these features; only themes that have been updated to use the wp_list_comments() feature introduced in version 2.7 support these options.

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Figure3-10. Threaded comments

If comments are threaded, your visitors have the option of responding to individual comments as well as your post. Each comment will have its own Reply link, as shown in Figure 3-10.

In a nested comment list, replies to individual comments are shown indented underneath, as shown in Figure 3-10. In a flat list (and in all versions of WordPress prior to 2.7), comments are simply listed chronologically, no matter whether they are responding to the post or another comment.

WordPress also supports paging for very long lists of comments. If your post or page contains many comments, you can choose how many you'd like to display at one time. Once the number of comments exceeds your per-page setting, visitors will see navigation links allowing them to browse through the additional pages of comments.

Most sites show comments in their original chronological order. However, if you have a post or page with many comments, you might want the newest comments to appear first. Choose Older or Newer from the dropdown box in this last setting as needed, and if you have chosen to split your long comment lists into pages, decide whether the first page will show the newest or oldest comments.

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