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wordpress and comments

Filed under: friction,General — Thomas @ 3:57 pm

3:57 pm

Every time I want to reply to a comment on my blog I am stupefied at how badly commenting works in WordPress.

Here’s what I can’t figure out:

  • Why can’t I comment on a specific comment and start a thread of discussion ?
  • Why can’t I easily quote some other comment ?
  • Why can’t I comment from the admin interface ?

But these probably are relatively minor. The number one thing that annoys me is how this comment system does not help at all in creating a discussion. It would be so much better if, assuming there was a way to comment on a specific comment:

  • your comment to someone else’s comment would get automatically mailed to that person (if he left his email)
  • that mail contained a link that would take him to “create a new comment on this comment”

This way, you can keep a discussion going without too much mental friction. Imagine how I would have to do it now – I would have to comment in general (using the @ symbol to indicate at which commenter I’m directing my comment), send them a mail (hey, I saw your comment, and replied), cut and paste my comment or send them a link to it, and ask them their opinion. Then if they still cared enough, they would give it to me, I’d have to ask them if they’re ok with posting their comment again, and then manually post it again. And so on.

Right now often I don’t reply because I’m pretty much sure these people aren’t spending their free time going back to comments they’ve written to see if they got a response. So much possibility for goodness wasted…

My hope is that one of you knows of a plug-in that just Does The Right Thing here. Care to share ?


  1. Thomas, you lazy bastard, please search on google before ranting. I suspect there are plugins for every feature you mention. I know for sure there are (official) plugins for the mail problem. I post on 100.000 WordPress blogs that have this feature.

    Comment by fons — 2008-6-26 @ 4:23 pm

  2. Not being spammed every time I leave my email somewhere is a feature, not a bug. If I want to stay up to date on a discussion, I’ll follow the relevant RSS feed or check back when I feel like it.

    Threaded comments might actually be useful though, I’ll agree with you on that one :)

    Comment by Bram — 2008-6-26 @ 4:33 pm

  3. There’s Disqus (http://disqus.com/) which claims to solve the problem, but I haven’t seen it in action.

    Comment by David — 2008-6-26 @ 4:42 pm

  4. 2.

    Comment by rollsappletree — 2008-6-26 @ 5:13 pm

  5. Check out the Disqus commenting system – http://disqus.com/tour/ . It’s probably the best you can get, has the features you want and also integrates nicely via a plugin for WP. The only downside is that the comments are stored on their servers and not in the WP DB, but I guess you can write a tool to sync via their API or something if you feel like doing that.


    Comment by Ivan — 2008-6-26 @ 6:57 pm

  6. I’m using this plugin for the emailing thing. I don’t remember even doing any setup for it other than installing it and activating it.

    Comment by Murray Cumming — 2008-6-26 @ 8:09 pm

  7. I use “WordPress Thread Comment” (http://blog.2i2j.com/plugins/wordpress-thread-comment), which works quite nicely, although it doesn’t integrate perfectly with the default comments system.

    Comment by Philip Withnall — 2008-6-26 @ 8:59 pm

  8. @Bram: you’d still be able to not get a mail, you just don’t leave an email address. It indicates that you don’t want to discuss it further, which is fine by me.

    Comment by Thomas — 2008-6-26 @ 9:00 pm

  9. Maybe this plugins is what you looking for: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-thread-comment/ although I’m not try yet ;-)

    Comment by hansen — 2008-6-27 @ 1:04 pm

  10. I’ll agree with you on that one … ;)

    Comment by türk rap — 2008-7-9 @ 9:13 pm

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