For WordPress “Discussion” settings, I mostly take the defaults. This screen allows you to control various aspects of the native WordPress comments system. You can control whether or not site visitors can comment on blog posts. Most experts agree that engaging your site visitors with a comment system is a positive way to connect with your followers and customers. You can specify that commentors must use a name and email, notify you when new comments are posted, and moderation of comments. You can also specify what icon or gravatar is used when a comment is posted. If a user has a Gravatar account, their picture will be displayed next to their comments when they enter their email address in the comments section. By setting the “rating” you can control what level of gravatars are allowed. For most business use cases, PG or G is probably best.
There are many schools of thought on comments. It seems that most believe comments are valuable and important to building your website following and visitor engagement. The tricky part of the debate is how to control comments and what commenting system to use. Some believe you should open up comments to everyone and to not require an account. Others require commenters to sign up for an account. This possibly reduces spam but may inhibit some from engaging with the community. This is a personal choice that should be made after much research. Each business will have different requirements and goals for their website.
The next part of the debate centers around which commenting system to use. WordPress has a native system which is the topic of this post. But, there are also plug-ins for using Disqus or Facebook. The social aspect of using a non-WordPress commenting system may allow for faster sharing of your site. However, this isn’t always true as Techcrunch has just switched from Facebook comments to another comment system. One issue with using Facebook comments is a visitor’s comments may show up on their Facebook timeline. This may prevent them from engaging if they don’t want their friends to see their comments on your site.
For the purpose of this site we will stick with using the WordPress built-in comment system and allow commenters to remain anonymous. We’ll address this later if open commenting leads to issues.
Additional information on WordPress Discussion Settings can be found in the WordPress Codex.