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5.5 – Comments

Comments are a feature which generate discussion as visitors share their thoughts, resource links and opinions in response to your post and page content. The rules which define who can write comments and how comments are moderated are managed via the dashboard in Settings > Discussion. To manage the comments themselves go to the Comments screen via the dashboard and > Comments.

comments panel

From this screen filters can be set for the language and content of comments in order to control what appears on your site. The number of comments awaiting moderation appears at the top of the screen, while a search box allows you to find specific comments. The comments can be singly and plurally: edited, deleted and marked as spam; queued for approval and approved before they are publicly visible, unapproved, binned and replied to. The screen itself is divided into the following sections:

Table of Comments

The Table of Comments displays all the comments, with the most recent comment displayed first. In the instructions that follow, reference is made to using a mouse to click on fields and links, but the Keyboard Shortcuts article describes the various keyboard combinations that will allow navigation and management of comments without using the mouse.

  • [ ] – This checkbox, when clicked (checked), ‘selects’ that particular comment to be processed by a Bulk Action.
  • Gravatar – This is a picture or gravatar of the comment author.
  • Author – This is the name of the comment author. Below the comment author name is the comment author’s email address that can be clicked to begin an email to that address. Below the email address is the commenter’s web-site in the form of a URL that can be click to visit that commenter’s web-site. Below the email address is commenter’s IP address in the form of a link. Clicking that IP address link causes all the comments originated by that IP address to be displayed thus allowing a Bulk Action to be applied to all comments from that address.
  • Comment – The first item in this column is the comment date and time presented as a link. Click the date and time will take you to that comment on your live site. Below the date and time is the actual comment that was submitted. Hovering over any comment gives you Immediate Actions that can be performed on that comment.
  • In Response To – There are three elements. The text is the name of the post that inspired the comment, and links to the post editor for that entry. The View Post link leads to that post on your live site. The small bubble with the number in it shows the number of approved comments that post has received. If the bubble is gray, you have moderated all comments for that post. If it is blue, there are pending comments. Clicking the bubble will filter the comments screen to show only comments on that post.
Sortable Columns

Some column headings, such as the Author, and In Response To, can be clicked to sort the Table of Comments in ascending or descending order. Hover over the column title, for example Author, to see the up-arrow or down-arrow. Click the heading to change the sort order.

Page Navigation

Under the Screen Options, the number of Comments displayed per page is determined. If more then one page of Comments is available, two double-arrow boxes to move to the first and last page are provided. Also two single-arrow boxes are displayed to move one page backward or forward. Finally, a box showing the current page number can be used to enter a page to directly display.

Screen Options comments screen options

The Screen Options allow you to choose which columns are displayed, or not displayed, in the underlying Table. Clicking on the Screen Options tab shows a list of the columns with a check-box next to each column. Check the box for each column you want displayed in the Table, or uncheck the box to not display that column. In addition, the number of items you want displayed in the table can be set. Choose 1 to 999. Click the Screen Options tab again to close the Screen Options.


Above the Table, to the right, is a search box where you can enter a word, or series of words, and click the “Search Comments” button to search and display all the comments meeting your search words.

Filtering Options

The default filter ‘Show all comment types’ displays all comments and allows you to select, by type, which Posts are displayed in the Table of Comments. The filters All, Pending, Approved, Spam, and Trash will cause just the comments of that type to be displayed in the underlying Table when selected. The filter just comments or just pings can also be applied.

Selecting Comments and Applying Actions


To perform Bulk Actions on multiple comments at once, those comments must be first selected via one of these methods:

  • Select one comment at a time – To select a comment, the checkbox to the left of the comment entry must be checked. It is possible to keep selecting more comments by checking their respective checkbox.
  • Select all comments in given Table – All comments in a given table can be selected by checking the checkbox in the Table’s title, or footer bar. Of course, unchecking the header or footer title bar checkbox will cause all entries in that Table to be unchecked.
  • Reverse Selection – A Reverse Selection means checked items become unchecked, and unchecked items become checked. A Reverse Selection is accomplished by holding the Shift key on the keyboard and clicking the header or footer title bar checkbox.

Actions are performed on selected comments. The two types of Actions are Bulk Actions and Immediate Actions:

  • Bulk Actions – These are performed on selected comments, and are available, when appropriate from the pulldown box above the Comments Table. The Bulk Actions allowed are Unapprove, Approve, Mark as Spam, and Move to Bin.
  • Immediate Actions – These are performed immediately to an individual comment. When hovering over a comment in the Comment column the Immediate Actions of Unapprove, Reply, Quick Edit, Edit, Spam, and Trash will appear as links under the comment.

The Actions are listed as follows:

  • Approve/Unapprove – Clicking the Approve or Unapprove link changes the comment to the opposite status. Both Approve and Unapprove are available as Bulk Actions.
  • Reply – Causes the Reply to Comment edit window to display where a reply to that comment can be made and sent when the Reply button is clicked.
  • Quick Edit – Allows a quick in-line edit of the comment.
  • Edit – Causes the Comments Edit Screen to display.
  • Spam – Marks the comment as spam.
  • Bin – Sends the comment to the bin.
Quick Edit

A Quick Edit is an Immediate Action performed on one comment by clicking the Quick Edit link under the comment in the Table of Comments. It allows allows you to change the following items: Name of commenter, Email of commenter, URL of commenter, and the comment. Once changes have been made click Update Comment to save the edits. Clicking Cancel will cancel and abort the Edit of this comment. Unsaved changed will not be applied.


The Spam Filtering link above the Table of Comments brings up comments held in SpamBin. Once those Spam comments are accessed via that Filter link, then each Spam comment can be Unspammed or can be Deleted Permanently. In addition an Empty Spam button can be clicked and all comments that are marked as Spam are deleted permanently. The Empty Spam button deletes all Spam comments even if the comments are not selected. spam panel Bin

The Bin Filtering link above the Table of Comments brings up comments held in the Bin. Each of the Binned comments can be Restored to the previous state before that comment was sent to the Bin. In addition, an Empty Bin button can be clicked and all comments in the Bin are deleted permanently. The Empty Bin button deletes all Binned comments even if the comments are not selected.


After one or more comments are selected, and after a Bulk Action has been chosen, click the Apply button to execute the Bulk Action on the selected comments.

Edit Comment

This screen appears When a comment is edited. Changes can be made to the comment and its status.
  • Name – The name given by the author of the comment.
  • E-mail – The e-mail address given by the author of the comment.
  • URL – The web-site URL given by the author of the comment.
  • Comment
  • Edit Comment box – The edit box containing the content where changes can be made to said text.
  • Status
  • Approved – Radio button to mark this comment as approved.
  • Pending – Radio button to mark this comment as pending (unapproved).
  • Spam – Radio button to mark this comment as spam.
  • Submitted on – Click the Edit button to edit the date and time this comment was submitted.
  • Actions
  • View Comment – Views the entire comment and post as displayed on the blog.
  • Move to Trash – Click this link to send this comment to the Trash where it later can be restored or deleted permanently.
  • Update – Allows you to save the changes to the comment and return to the Table of Comments.

For more information see the WordPress Codex entry which served as the source for this article.

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