The DISCUSSION SETTINGS sub-panel sets options that deal with comments (or discussions).
These are default settings and can be overwritten on individual articles.
The three DEFAULT ARTICLE SETTINGS tells WordPress how to handle the post notifications.
The first box, if checked, will notify (or ping) any other sites that you linked to in your post. This is commonly referred to as a TRACKBACK.
This happens during the publishing of your post and can slow down posting since a notification attempt is made to all the links in the post before the post is published.
The next line, when checked, allows YOUR site to be notified (or pinged) from another site that has linked to your site. Any INCOMING LINKS from another site is logged and recorded in the INCOMING LINKS section on the DASHBOARD. This is automatically handled by queries from the GOOGLE BLOG SEARCH.
The last line, if checked, will allow someone to leave comments. Remember these settings can be overwritten on individual posts and you can also make a post PRIVATE to have even more control over a post.
The next 5 check boxes under OTHER COMMENT SETTINGS, tells WordPress how you want the comments handled.
The first box “Comment author must fill out name and e-mail”, if checked, requires all commentators to fill out the NAME and EMAIL field before leaving a comment. Although the names and emails are not verified it helps combat spam.
The next box, “Users must be registered and logged in to comment “, if checked, requires all commentators to be a LOGGED IN REGISTERED USER before a comment can be made.
If they see “You Must Be Logged In In Order To Make a Comment” then this box has been checked.
The next box, if checked, will allow the comments on a post to automatically be flagged and closed for comment after a certain number of days.
The next box, if checked, allows users to comment inside the comment itself (called threaded comments or nesting) instead of all the comments appearing simply in chronically order.
You tell WordPress how many levels deep of nesting you are allowing up to 10.
The next box, if checked, allows sites with a large number of comments to break them into pages.
The first box allows you to enter the number of comments you allow for each post. These are TOP LEVEL comments and it does count the NESTED comments below the initial TOP LEVEL comments. These nested comments are display but are just not use for this total comment count.
Remember that a lower number can help speed the load time for your site since not as many comments have to be downloaded at once.
The drop down box lets you select whether you want the last page of comments (Newer) or the first page of comments (Older) displayed.
And this last line lets you control the comments that are actually displayed.
Selecting OLDER will allow display comments from oldest to newest and selecting NEWER will display comments from newer to older.
The E-MAIL ME WHENEVER line has two options and will send an email to the address set in the GENERAL SETTINGS sub-panel.
The first box, if checked, will send an email when any comment is posted.
The second will send an e-mail when a comments is waiting for approval.
The BEFORE A COMMENT APPEARS has two options.
The first box, if checked, will not allow comments to be posted without the approval by the ADMINISTRATOR. The comment is placed in the comment queue found on the ADMIN SUB-PANEL and someone with administrator privileges must login and approve the comment for posting.
The next box, if checked, will not allow first time commentors to post without ADMINSTARATOR approval on their first comments. Once they have this first approval, then they have comment approval thereafter.
WordPress uses their email address for approval verification for these commentors. If the email does not match or they are on the comment blacklist below then the comments are held for approval.
All Comments can be approved in the COMMENTS SUB-PANEL or in the RECENT COMMENTS section on the DASHBOARD.
The next two sections deals with COMMENT MODERATION AND COMMENT BLACKLISTS
COMMENT MODERATION helps prevent spammers with too many links from using your site. You control the number of links allowed in a comment by entering a number in this box. The default is 2, but you can adjust this to fit your particular site.
In the TEXT BOX below you can enter any WORDS, CONTENT, NAME, URL, E-MAIL or IP ADDRESS (one per line). If these appear in the comment then that comment will be placed in the MODERATION QUEUE (COMMENTS on the ADMIN SUB-PANEL) for ADMINISTRATION approval.
The COMMENT BLACKLIST works like the COMMENT MODERATION with WORDS, CONTENT, NAME, URL, E-MAIL and IP ADDRESS entered one per line.
The difference here is that comments from this list will be DELETED WITHOUT WARNING.
And last are the AVATARS
This sections tells WordPress how to handle the AVATARS on your site. Avatars are those little images that appear by a person name use when making comments on avatar enabled sites. These images follow a person from site to site. WordPress uses “GRAVATAR” (GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED AVATARS) by default but certain plug-ins can override this default.
The first selection is to chose to show the avatars or not.
If you allow avatars then you can also chose the rating that are allowed. These are similar to the TV or movie ratings so chose what is appropriate for your site.
The last selection is for those who do not have a custom avatar. You can chose to have your site display a generic avatar or one that will be generated.
The top three are generic avatars and the last three are generated based on e-mail addresses.
Make sure you save any changes before moving on.