3 WordPress Tools to Help You Manage Your Threaded/Nested Comments

3 WordPress Tools to Help You Manage Your Threaded/Nested Comments

Comments are the lifeblood of interactivity on a blog. And truly valuable comments are ones that are part of a conversation. Conversations, by definition, are back and forth. In other words, they aren’t simply one-off comments that go un-responded to.

WordPress handles these back and forth conversations by allowing for threaded (or nested) comments. Threaded/nested comments are when you reply to a comment and your comment gets indented underneath that comment.

The following three tools can help you manage you threaded comments and take more control over them, thereby improving the way conversations are presented on your site.

1. Control Number of Levels for Your Threaded Comments

The first tool is actually a built in function of WordPress that many forget about. On your Discussion Settings page (Settings > Discussion), you have the ability to increase or decrease the number of levels for your threaded comments. In other words, the number of levels is how deep the comments will continue to be threaded/indented.

The default setting in WordPress is five. So this means that WordPress will indent the next four levels of comments (the original comment counts as Level 1 + the next four levels = 5).

Once the fifth level has been reached, the “Reply” link disappears from the bottom of the comments in that level. So if you want to reply directly to a comment in Level 5, your comment will not be recognized as a direct comment. It is placed in the comments section as if it were a comment on Level 1.

WordPress lets you easily increase the number of levels up to ten. (Settings > Discussion > Other comments settings > Enable threaded (nested) comments X levels deep).

You can increase the levels all the way to ten.

2. Move WordPress Comments Plugin (DOWNLOAD HERE)

Changing the number of levels for your threaded comments can help your blog going forward, but unfortunately it will do nothing for your already existing comments.

To fix that, you could use the Move WordPress Comments plugin. This plugin lets you easily move comments within the comments section for a post. So you can easily make a non-threaded comment threaded. The plugin also lets you move a comment to a completely different post.


View of the comments before moving them. (Administrator’s view.)

View of the comments after moving them. (Administrator’s view.)

And here’s how it looks to a normal user, i.e. for someone who isn’t an administrator.

3. Greg’s Threaded Comment Numbering Plugin (DOWNLOAD HERE)

The Greg’s Threaded Comment Numbering plugin is not as functionally necessary as the two tools above, but it can be a nice addition to your comment system nonetheless.

As  you might expect, its job is to number your comments.

This plugin also lets you control how deep to number threaded/nested comments. You may want to limit the levels here. When you begin to get into deeper levels, the number may start to look a little strange.

Comments Numbered 2 Levels Deep

Comments Numbered 10 Levels Deep

After you install and activate this plugin, you will need to change one line of code in your comments.php file. (Appearance > Editor > Comments – comments.php).

Replace wp_list_comments() in your  comments.php file with wp_list_comments('callback=gtcn_basic_callback').


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