Configuring WordPress Discussion Settings – WordPress Beginners Guide

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Today in this tutorial, we are going to talk about WordPress Discussion Settings. Here you would learn what configuration options are available in the Settings Discussion screen and how to configure the “Discussion” Settings of WordPress.

In general, the Discussion Settings control how you manage user comments, filter spam comments, how you display the user’s avatars on your site, and how you handle incoming pingback/traceback from other blogs.

These Settings (Discussion) control all the features related to user comments, blocked words, pingback, traceback, and the design for the comments section of your blog...

How to Open WordPress Discussion Settings: 

You can access the writing settings by going to your WordPress Dashboard and click on Settings ⇒ Discussion option. (As shown in the below image)

WordPress Settings Discussion Menu

That will take you to the WordPress Discussion Setting page.

As the discussion screen has lot of configurable options, I’m going to explain each of them with individual screenshots of that section.

Configuring WordPress Discussion Settings: 

While you can to the Settings ⇒ Discussion page, you got many options like Default Article settings, Other Comment Settings, Comment moderation Settings, Avatars Settings etc. All the options are explained below:

Default Article Settings: 

Within this settings, there are three checkboxes as shown below:

WordPress Discussion Default Article Settings

Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article - If you enable this checkbox, WordPress will send a ping to the site or article you have linked to in your post. If that site allows pingbacks, then your mention of their site or article will show up in that site's comment section. This option triggers the notification at the time of publishing your article to the internet. If your article contains many hyperlinks, then it will slow down the posting process as WordPress has to contact all of the sites before the post is published.

Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) - This option enables your blog to accept pings from other sites which makes a reference your site or an article on your site. If you check this box (enable), then any pingbacks and trackbacks that are received by your blog will appear in the comments section of your respective post.

See our guide on pingbacks and tracebacks to know more about them.

Allow people to post comments on new articles - By selecting the checkbox, you are telling your WordPress blog to allow comments on every new post. This option is also shown in the individual post editor screen, where the checkbox for allowing comments will be automatically selected. Remember, even though you choose to allow comments on each new post under this WordPress discussion settings, you can change that setting per post basis on the individual post page. Settings changed in the post page will override any settings done in this global discussion section.

Other Comment Settings: 

This section determines the rules of posting comments on your blog and showcases requirements that must be met while a visitor is drafting his comment. This section has six sub-options as shown in the below image.

WP Discussion Other Comment Settings

Comment author must fill out name and e-mail - This is a step towards restricting comment spammers. This option forces commenter to fill-up their name and email address while commenting. In reality, the name and e-mail address are never verified, but this is the step most spammers or automated software don't like. It is expected that legitimate commenter will have no problem in filling out this short form.

Users must be registered and logged in to comment - It is another level of spam protection, enabling this feature will force visitors to register and login to your site before posting comments. Standard WordPress registration only requires name and email address like the previous option, but this time the email address will be verified by sending a verification link. But remember, to make this setting work properly, you must set the membership option in WordPress General Settings page.

Automatically close comments on articles older than _ days - If you check this box and enter the number of days (e.g. 14 days), then WordPress will stop accepting comments in any post older than that amount of days.

Enable threaded (nested) comments _ levels deep - When a comment is posted on any article, you (or any other viewer) can reply to that comment instead of starting a new top-level comment. This reply is then nested under the original comment and displayed with an indent so that they can be distinguished. Thereafter, each successive reply will get posted beneath the comment to which it applies. For comments with longer threads, WordPress allows up to 10 levels of threading.

Break comments into pages with _ top level comments per page and the [last/first] page displayed by default - This option is useful if your blog gets thousands of comments per post. Through this option, you can spread those replies across several pages to maintain a decent page length and size. The default value for this option 50 top-level comments per page, but you are free to choose other value. Also, for the second field, the default value is "last page" which by default shows most recent comments on the first page, if the next option is not altered from its default value.

Comments should be displayed with the [older/newer] comments at the top of each page - This is an extension of the above option. Here you can set whether the newest or the oldest comments will be displayed first.

Email Me Whenever: 

This has two options under it, which give you the control to notify authors and administrators about a new comment. Base on the options chosen, you or other site admins would receive notification whenever comments have been made, or any comment held for moderation.

Please note that the word "me" not always refers to you, in case of multi-author blogs, it refers to the respective post authors or the administrators.

WordPress Discussion Settings email Me

Anyone posts a comment - If this option is chosen then you will receive email notification for every single comment posted on your site. If you have a large and dynamic site with lots of user engagement, then post authors may receive lots of emails in their inbox. This setting is typically useful if you want to micromanage comments.

A comment is held for moderation - This option enables notification for any comment that is being held for moderation. WordPress will send an email notification to the E-mail address listed in the Settings > General Screen. This is particularly useful if you want to set the blog to held comments for first-time users or you have set some comment moderation filters [discussed below].

Before a comment appears: 

These settings provide you with more granular control to decide when and how comments are posted.

WP Discussion Before Comment

An administrator must always approve the comment - If you enable this option, then every new comment on your blog will be held for moderation until approved by any administrator.

Comment author must have a previously approved comment - Selecting this option will ensure that comments are only posted if the comment author's email id matches with any email id of a previously approved comment. Otherwise, the comment will be held for moderation.

Comment Moderation: 

This setting defines filters for moderation rules. You can specify some common rules to restrict spammers and unwanted comments. This setting has two standard options to control the user behavior.

WordPress Discussion Settings Comment Moderation

Hold a comment in the queue if it contains _ or more links - It is a common characteristic of spammers to spammers to include more than one hyperlinks in their comments. This option enables bloggers to restrict any comment that has more number of hyperlinks than what is specified here. You can put a number into this box to tell WordPress how many hyperlinks you will allow in a comment before holding it for moderation.

When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be held in the moderation queue - This option matches the specified word with the comment, and if found then the comment is held for moderation. But remember that this option matches inside words and NOT case sensitive, so writing "press" will also match the word "WordPress". In this text box, you can add common spam words, or can add IP address of spammers or even URL's of any domain if you want to block them completely.

[See Also: Save time by moderating comments using keyboard shortcuts?]

Comment Blacklist: 

This is where you can filter messages to send them directly to the trash.

WP Discussion Comment Blacklist

When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be put in the trash -  Same as the above option, the list also matches the inside words and not case sensitive, so if you write "press"  then it will also match "WordPress". But this time, the comment will be directly deleted and sent to the comment trash instead of holding in moderation queue.

Configuring WordPress Avatars Settings: 

As described by WordPress itself "An avatar is an image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on avatar enabled sites".

This Avatar Settings Option is also a part of the WordPress Discussion Settings Page.

Here in these settings, you can enable to display avatars of people who comment on your blog. By default, WordPress uses Gravatars, which is the most popular avatar service. But there are plugins that may override these settings. There are few customization options available under the Avatar settings.

Avatar display: 


WP Discussion Avatar Display

Show Avatars - Selecting this will enable avatars of the commenter to be displayed along with the comments. Deselecting this option would hide those avatars.

Maximum Rating: 

This setting is used as a parental control and or limits the 'highest' level or rating of gravatar you allow to be displayed. Below is the description of those ratings:

WordPress Discussion Settings Avatar Rating
  • G - Suitable for all audiences
  • PG - Possibly offensive, usually for audiences 13 and above
  • R - Intended for adult audiences above 17
  • X - Even more mature than above

Default Avatar: 

Not all users on the internet use avatar service, for those users you can either choose to display a generic logo, or a generated logo based on their e-mail address, or even not displaying anything.

The Types you can choose from are as below:

WP Discussion Avatar Icon
  • Blank
  • Mystery Man
  • Gravatar Logo
  • Identicon (Randomly generated by System)
  • Wavatar (Randomly Generated by System)
  • MonsterID (Randomly Generated by System)
  • Retro (Randomly Generated by System)

Save Changes: 

The last option in this page is a save changes button. Clicking on the Save Changes button ensures that any changes you have made to the discussion settings page are saved to your database. Once you click this button, you can see a confirmation text box acknowledging you that your settings have been saved successfully.


We hope that you have enjoyed the above tutorial on how to Configure WordPress Discussion Settings. Be with us to explore free training on Leading Technologies and Certifications.

Leave us some comments if you have any question about the options you get at WordPress Settings ⇒ Discussion screen, we would be very happy to help you.

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Posted in WordPress Tutorial and tagged , .

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