How To Have Paragraph Commenting Just Like Medium

Paragraph commenting, or annotations is not exactly new. Readers have been scribbling in the margins of books, magazines and uni assignments for years.

The online world has been slow to adopt this approach which is perhaps why Medium caused a stir and no shortage of admiring looks when it went the annotation route.

Well, admire forlornly no more because I’m going to show you how to add paragraph commenting to your WordPress site.

Photo of a manuscript with a note in the margin

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How to Make New Comments Appear First in WordPress

On this the first day of a new year, it only seems appropriate that we talk about things that are new and first, and not only that, but new things that are first.

What we’re talking about, of course, is making new comments first on your WordPress site.

By default, the oldest comments on a post are placed at the top (i.e. first).

If you would like to reverse that, it’s easy to do (even though you might not know that by searching in Google – which seems to mostly return old, difficult, and messy solutions).
Now Built In!

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How To Add Flexibility To WordPress Comments Options

When it comes to managing comments in WordPress, the only option at a site level is a big on/off switch which, of course, only works for new posts and pages.

More likely you want more granular control than that. Perhaps you want to switch off comments for pages or but leave them on for standard posts. Or maybe, you’ve spent a great deal of time and effort seeding your site with content only to discover that you forgot to turn off comments and now you’re faced with going through each page and switching them off manually.

In this week’s Weekend Project, we’ll look at how, with minimal effort, you can take control over comments not just for future content but also for existing content.

The built-in WordPress comment settings are little more than a global on off switch

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How To Put House Rule Breaking Commenters In The Naughty Corner

Comments are a double-edged sword. They allow for engagement with and between readers but can also quickly disintegrate into public slanging matches, which does little to enhance a site’s reputation.

Out of the box, WordPress only offers two options for offending comments: leave them up or trash them. Wouldn’t it better to follow sites like the BBC and the Guardian and be able to tag comments as having broken the house rules and just replace the text with a suitable message?

Photo of Lego soccer scene with player receiving a red card from the referee

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When You Need WordPress Comments to Really, Completely, Totally Stop

WordPress comments make me think of Rasputin, the 19th century Russian mystic.

The story goes that when his enemies wanted to kill Rasputin, they stabbed him, but he survived it. So they poisoned him with a large amount of cyanide – and he survived that too. Shooting him in the back with a revolver slowed him down temporarily, but then suddenly he rose up and lunged at his attackers. They shot him again, and then clubbed him repeatedly, and somehow he still lived. Throwing him into an icy river finally put an end to poor Rasputin.

Photo of Rasputin

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How To Remove The URL Field From WordPress Comments

Cut the URL field out of the WordPress comment form

There are some WordPress sites where you may not want to include the URL field in the comment form. It’s not always necessary and spammers tend to use it to link to their spammy websites, which will be posted in your comments if you have auto approval turned on. Just to be safe, you may want to remove that URL field altogether.

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WordPress Comments: Picking the Right System for You

In a way, comments define blogging and the whole web 2.0 “movement”. From a personal perspective they represented my first victories in blogging. As a beginner blogger, each new comment I received was like a little thumbs up for my amateurish efforts.

So it’s fair to say that I have a soft spot for comments — although my blog tends to get quite a few these days, I still appreciate the input of my readers as much as I ever did and reply to the vast majority of them.

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