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Disabling Comments and Talkbacks

It seems that disabling Comments and Talkbacks for posts and static pages is one of the more difficult tasks that people want to do, but have trouble getting to work. I don’t think the WordPress interface makes it very clear what is going on, because the topic has come up several times in the forum. So, here’s a bit of a discussion on that.

  1. This is really not a theme issue – the control is entirely done using regular WordPress options.
  2. Comments are controlled in the Dashboard Settings->Discussion page. There are quite a few options available, but if you want to disable comments by default for posts and pages, select the appropriate options on that page. Don’t forget about trackbacks and pingbacks because they can generate “comments” as well.
  3. If you’ve turned off comments by default (and you will probably end up doing that because even with Akismet and a Captcha plugin, you’re likely to end up with plenty of spam), then you can re-enable comments for specific pages and posts from the Page and Post editor screens. Note that there is an option box on the Page/Post editor pages called “Discussion” to do that. That box used to display by default, but apparently with WP 3.1, that box is hidden by default (thanks so much WordPress!). You can display it by opening the Screen Options tab in the upper right, and then check the Discussion show option.
  4. Now, if you created any posts or pages before you disabled comments, you’ll have to go to each page and post and disable comments explicitly. Setting from the Settings->Discussion screen doesn’t retroactively change the option. You’ll have to delete any old comments you’ve accumulated as well.
  5. After you’ve done all this, by default, you will see a “Comments Off” message in the Post bottom info line, and nothing for regular pages. There is a Weaver Main Options in the Post Page Specifics section to “Hide Comments Off” that will hide the message if you don’t want any references to comments anywhere.

Finally, if you do allow comments, you may want to investigate one of the many Comment plugins instead of using the default comment forms provided by Weaver by default. While the default format is fully functional, some of the Comment plugins provide extra features, as well as a snazzier look.

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