WordPress 2.7 News Update: For information on the new structure of comments and trackbacks in WordPress 2.7, please see Migrating Plugins and Themes to 2.7 – Enhanced Comment Display in the WordPress Codex, Justin Tadlock – Making your theme’s comments compatible with WordPress 2.7 and earlier versions and Sivel – Separating Pings from Comments in WordPress 2.7.
This Tip Applies Only to Full Version WordPress Blogs. BACKUP FIRST.
WordPress blogs feature two types of comments: comments and trackbacks. The presentation of these “comments” are typically designed on WordPress Themes and many blogs in two ways.
The most common and easy method of displaying comments and trackbacks is to mix them all together, listing them in chronological order, as they come into the blog.
Another method is to separate the trackbacks (or pingbacks) from the comments.
What’s the difference?
What is the Difference Between a Comment and a Trackback?
A comment is an interaction between a reader and the blogger about the blog post. A trackback is a link to this post published on another blog post.
In general, a trackback link is a recommendation – or at least a notification – that someone has published something about your blog post.
In the earliest days of the web and search engines which led to development of modern SEO techniques, the developers used the citation method of lending credibility and value to a published document on the web. The more people who linked to it, the more valid it and trustworthy it must be. To make these citations visible, the Trackback was developed, displaying the links which track from one site to another on your blog post.
When websites became interactive, the need to separate the conversation from these mini letters of recommendation became important. Many like having the flow of the conversation move through the page with no interruptions from trackbacks. However, separation of the trackbacks from the comments was not as easy as many designers desired.
The problem with trackbacks is that they are often not related content which adds to the blog post or the conversation, but link or code or irrelevant content that can confuse or distract the reader. Many want to separate the trackbacks from the comments accordingly.
How to Separate Comments and Trackbacks in WordPress
In the early days of WordPress, many struggled to separate the trackbacks from the comments on their WordPress Themes. Finally, Noscope’s article on Separating Trackbacks & Pingbacks in WordPress (Pastebin copy of original file) brought us a clear and easy to understand technique for separating those trackbacks and comments.
- Copy from the text file Noscope provided on their site (you may have to hunt on the page for it because it can be hard to find against the overly dark web page design).
- Backup your
- Create a new text file and paste in the code from the downloaded
- If you have not customized your comments template file before, then save this file as
comments.phpand upload it to your site.
- Test it to see if the look matches your design and presentation. You should see any post that features comments and trackbacks will now show them separated instead of mixed together.
Noscope’s layout was to list trackbacks first and comments second. A lot of requests are made to list the comments first, comment box, then list the trackbacks last. This puts the most relevant information up near the blog post, and the least relevant at the bottom.
Switch the order to your preference.
Carefully select all the code between
<? // Begin Trackbacks ?> and
<? // End Trackbacks ?> and move it below
<? // End Comments ?>.
Go through the code between the original comments template and the new one you downloaded from Noscope to make sure that all of customization is changed correctly in the new one file. This can mean changing the headings from
h4 or whatever to match your site’s heading structure and design. Check that all the style references match to accommodate your customization of the comments section.
After making modifications to restore the customized look combined with the new separated sections, upload it and test it on your WordPress blog’s Theme. Also, run the site through some validation tests to make sure there are no errors in the code.
Think of this as comment laundry. Go separate your comments from your trackbacks.
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