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What WordPress Plugins and Features Do You Want on the Comments Panel?

is working on seriously improving the WordPress Comments Panel in the Administration Panels interface. They are including the ability for the Administrator to reply directly from the Comments Panel, adding keyboard shortcuts for improved accessibility and efficiency, restoring the Edit Comment link, and more features to make handling comments easier.

The WordPress email comments feature also needs a serious rework. Right now, you are given the options to delete, respond, moderate, and mark as spam, but these open links that require switching to your browser or browser tab to deal with later. I’d love to see the emails have the ability to interact directly with the database to speed things up for the blogger. So I keep a browser tab open for just monitoring blog comments and have email turned off, so I can increase my reaction times.

Mark Jaquith brought up a lot of issues about the WordPress Comment “inbox” which might also make its way into WordPress 2.7 or a future version, and there are a lot of great WordPress Plugins which help improve how WordPress handles comments such as those found in:

I’m a huge fan of the indespensible WordPress Comment Ninja Greasemonkey Script works for any WordPress blog including WordPress.com blogs, and I’d love to see those features added to the WordPress Comment Panel.

I’ve long said that the number one flaw in WordPress is the poor comments handling features, so I’m looking forward to what the development team is working on.

But what about you? There are a ton of WordPress Plugins out there that handle comments, comment spam, moderation, and response. If you were designing the perfect WordPress Comment Panel, which Plugins and features would you love to see included? What can’t you live without?



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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

43 Comments

  1. Posted September 8, 2008 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The comments code in WordPress has gone neglected for quite a while, and it’s good to see it getting attention. One of the hot new things I want to see in trunk is the nested comments patch. It’s slick as heck.

  2. Jillann
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to brag up The Furminator!! Anyone with a dog that sheds should have one!! After A&I’s visit, I broke down and bought one for Aaron and Carrie. Cool Tool!

  3. Posted September 8, 2008 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Brian’s Threaded Comments, Better Comments Manager, Comment Timeout, and *maybe* CommentLuv.

    Because I’m in the process of re-evaluating my comment spam-filtering plugins, I don’t really know what I would recommend to be integrated into the system. I have 45 comments (that are obviously spam) sitting in my moderation queue – this is not acceptable to me.

  4. gomezp
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Something I would absolutely love is the ability to create an RSS feed of comments held for moderation (I think there was some old plugin that tried to do this, but is no longer maintained).

  5. Posted September 8, 2008 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Well Better Comments Manager should be integrated into WP. Its such a lifesaver, and I absolutely love it. Or there should be a way to replace the WP comments page with better comments manager plugin page

  6. Posted September 8, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I definitely want to see threaded comments: I believe that is the most effective way to have a “conversation” because it looks like one! Thus, when I go to the comments page, I also want to see the comments in their respective threads.

    As for editing, Ozh’ Absoloute Comments fills the bill perfectly for me, and that is the sort of functionality (I love the icons at the top right of each comment!) I am looking forward to.

  7. Posted September 8, 2008 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    For the admin side I tend to visit the ‘Akismet Spam’ page regularly to keep an eye on it, but I don’t moderate comments that much.

    So for the admin side I’d like to see a ‘new comments since last visit’ count, similar to the aksimet spam counter.

    I’d also like to see a change comment status from open – to moderated, or closed, after x time without comments.

    Even if this functionality is available currently via a plugin, adding it into the core would be a good idea in my opinion.

    One of my more popular posts still gets comments even after 4 years! So this sort of functionality would be a benefit for me.

  8. F.D.
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see threaded comments and the option to allow the most recent comments to display first built into WordPress.

  9. Posted September 8, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I’d like easier interaction form email as well. Having to go and login and click and log out. Too many actions.

    I also like idea of being able to quickly move some details of comment spam (like email) to blacklist. I saw plugin that does that but it is very outdated. :(

  10. Posted September 8, 2008 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    How about a “View Post” link within the Comments manager?

  11. Posted September 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I would be more than happy even if the Comment Ninja functionality alone is incorporated in the core. Responding to comments is my highest priority and need.

  12. Posted September 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another vote for threaded comments, and the ability to respond to comments directly from the admin. A built-in most recent comments function would be great, too.

    Also, my readers tend to post comments for one article on another one (most of them are not too tech savvy). I would love a simple way to move a comment that’s been misplaced to its correct location.

  13. Posted September 8, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Two comment oriented plugins I find indispensable are Filosofo’s Comments Preview and Comment Email Responder. Previewing a comment before submitting it seems to be part of practically all other blogging systems, so why not WordPress as well? As for responding to comments, the other plugin allows me to send a comment to a commenter in both email and in the relevant entry, all in one step, rather than copying and pasting in two tasks.

  14. Posted September 8, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    @ Steve:

    There is a “View Post” link, but it doesn’t automatically open in a new tab or window. You have to Right Click > Open in New Tab or whatever shortcut you use to open a link in a new tab in your browser. That’s why I use Comment Ninja. It does it for me automatically. :D

    Great suggestions all, keep them coming!

  15. gestroud
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    A paged comments option might be handy.

  16. Posted September 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle:
    I’m not seeing it, though I may have a plug-in conflict somewhere. I’m using Ozh Absolute Comments.

  17. Posted September 8, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    @ Steve:

    It’s a browser thing, not a WordPress thing. Under the comments is the From Name of Post Title link. Right click and choose OPEN IN NEW TAB or whatever the equivalent is for your browser and that opens the blog post and takes you to the comment.

    Comment Ninja Greasemonkey Script is a browser script that adds a “Respond” link next to “Unapprove | Spam | Delete” links. Click on that and it adds a comment form for you to reply to the comment right from the Comments Panel. I adore this, though some of the comment WordPress Plugins also add this feature. For WordPress.com blogs and blogs where adding Plugins isn’t easy or possible, this script adds the feature without a WordPress Plugin. I love it.

  18. Posted September 8, 2008 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Spam Karma is open source now. i think that the SK framework, or something like it, should be integrated into WP core.

    Then the various anti-spam solutions could work in tandem, which can be far more powerful than each running separately. (For example, I think Akismet works better as a part of Spam Karma.)

  19. Posted September 8, 2008 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Personally I like to see the development team concentrate on making WP updates easier. I’m several x. versions behind because updating is such a nightmare and I always end up trashing it and spending hours fixing it. I refuse to do any more updates until it gets easier.

    The one click plugin updates are an awesome feature and I’d really like to see WP go in that direction. Developers, please — function before change for the sake of change. Let’s see WP made easier to update! Help out us brain dead users!

  20. Posted September 8, 2008 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Tom Mahoney,

    You should use the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin, especially if you find updating a hassle. It’s just too darned risky to let your blog get out of date. Much of what’s happening in a core upgrade is for security purposes. Good thing you’re not an anti-jihadist, like me, or some savvy dudes in Turkey would have already had you belly up LOL!

    I used the WAU plugin for the last two upgrades and it went flawlessly.

    Just follow the directions and voila!–you’re running the current version. Try it.

    Regards,

    HAID

  21. Posted September 8, 2008 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Absolute Comments WordPress Plugin is a must! Great plugin which cuts down a lot of time wasting in the default comments section.

  22. Posted September 8, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to see an option so the email addresses for the comments in the back panel will spawn gmail/compose when I click them, and not bring up Mac mail. I bet there’s something I can do at the OS level for that, but having it in WordPress would make me happy.

  23. Posted September 8, 2008 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Tom. While we were talking WP 2.6.2 came out. I upgraded via the WAU plugin, and it took like three minutes. Turns out it’s almost essential if you allow open registration.

    Point is, even if you can’t replace core files without screwing things up (the Codex makes it painless, if not easy) there’s no longer any reason not to upgrade.

    The WAU plugin is virtually idiot-proof. You mentioned that you’d like to see upgrading WP to be more like the automatic plugin upgrades. Well, this is as close as we’re likely to get. WAU is just a few more clicks, is all.

    Good luck.

    HAID

  24. Posted September 9, 2008 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    All the bells and whistles about comments management and panels are nice, but the real issue is the comments functionality. Comments should be interactive, allowing threaded replies. Live Journal is the best model for this…

  25. shisymbolinternational
    Posted September 9, 2008 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to have a button for ‘tell a friend’ the post (and the comments). Presumably you could tell a few friends at the one time? I don’t know if this constitutes a plug in but it would make it easier to let people know what is on a blog.

  26. Posted September 9, 2008 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    @ shisymbolinternational:

    Yes. There are a variety of Plugins and scripts that will allow you to “email” the post link to a friend. However, this is really an old technique and most people blog about the article they want to recommend or use a bookmarking service or site submission service to “tell the world” about a site, as with Digg, delicious, stumbleupon, and other similar sites.

    The best technique is to blog about that which you want to recommend and ask your friends to check out your blog. :D

  27. Posted September 9, 2008 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    @ Duane Storey:

    That’s an OS issue. To force it upon WordPress would mean they would have to add code for EVERY email service to check and change whatever you want – but if you haven’t set your OS default to what you really use, then how would WordPress know if they put all that checking code in there?

    It is a browser and OS issue. Just change the default, my lazy friend!

  28. Posted September 9, 2008 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    @ Tom Mahoney:

    As Haid mentioned, WordPress is indeed working on integrating automatic upgrading into the program, but it is a huge undertaking – taking years to figure out how to do it around ALL the different server systems, setups, installations, versions, and…a lot of work, especially around security issues. The WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin is great, but it also has problems and doesn’t work on every installation or server setup.

    For me, the process of upgrading is really easy. Delete, upload, fix a few Theme/Plugin issues, upgrade Plugins for serious upgrades (usually once a year), and it’s done. I have a couple of blogs that are VERY customized at every level, and if it is fairly painfree for me, it is simple for the average user.

    While all this work has gone into stabilizing WordPress’s core, security improvements, improving the Write Post panel for multimedia and ease of use…nothing has been happening on the comment front. For the user, not the tweaker, we want to see improvements on the surface we enjoy the most is the comments. Personally, I wish more effort went into that than into the other, but I totally understand why it is otherwise.

    Now it is time to fix the broken comments and I’m really looking forward to what they are doing and to hearing what you think needs to be improved so we can work together to let the WordPress development team know what we need and give it to us.

    They are so good at that…generally. :D But we have to tell them.

  29. Posted September 9, 2008 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    @ Stephen R:

    Spam Karma has always been open source and much of that Plugin has been integrated into the core of WordPress over the years as the Plugin author of that and Bad Behavior were a part of the volunteer suport and code development for a long time.

    You can add Spam Karma and have a backup. That works great. I highly recommend it.

    What other features would you like to see WordPress add or fix in the comments?

  30. neyellen
    Posted September 9, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    I would like a little questionaire box (widget) that RSS subscribers could fill out indicating why they subscribed to my blog. This would help me understand the RSS numbers better and help with marketing. Thanks.

    Ellen

  31. Posted September 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    “I’d love to see the emails have the ability to interact directly with the database to speed things up for the blogger.”

    This would open up a CSRF security vulnerability. The links from the comment email must open onto a landing page that contains a CSRF thwarting “nonce”.

  32. Posted September 9, 2008 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    As someone who has her own blog and comments on other blogs, I think the ability to reply by email as you reply to an email on your blog is a great feature. As a blogger, I have a plugin to handle this right now. As a blog reader, I generally do not go back to read the blogger’s reply to comments I leave on their blogs so I do not know if they reply or not.

    Also, as several others have already said nested comments do make for easier reading of comments and the flow of conversation.

    It would be awesome if these two features were built into WordPress.

  33. Posted September 9, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    I usually “bulk answer” comments, instead of answering each one in a new comment box. What I do is use a split browser and have my blog open in each one. It saves me time and I’m not having to scroll up and down. The plugins work great for individual comments, but I would like to have a way I could bulk answer behind the scenes.

  34. Posted September 10, 2008 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    WP Comment Remix is a pretty neat plugin, reminding you on how many comments are in need of your response, and if you wish to ignore them, there’s a button for that so it won’t popup on your admin pages again.

    Also neat way of communicating within the comments, via threads or @ signs.

  35. Posted September 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I’d also like to see changes to some of the processes in wp-comments-post.php to make it easier to customize it without resorting to amending the core code.

    For example if the user’s comment doesn’t validate then currently they get an error message – I might want to rephrase that as it’s not really an error, put in some different validation (e.g. if extra fields have been added to the comment form), display a page more in keeping with the blog’s theme or even take the user back to the form with their data.

  36. Posted September 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    If we could only have threaded comments on wordpress.com, I would be happy.

  37. Posted September 11, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I would like to have a new delicious plugin, which archives my delicious comments, like my blog entries. Also, people could comment on my delicious comments. It’s like micro-blogging integrated with delicious.

  38. Posted September 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    @ Mehmet Subasi:

    That sounds like a Delicious request and not a WordPress request, though it is nice to have WordPress set the standard as an example. :D

  39. mattotoole
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    How about a to-do list for site maintainers and editors? Maybe there’s a plugin that does this, but I haven’t found it.

  40. Posted September 11, 2008 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    @ mattotoole:

    The Pre-Publish Reminders WordPress Plugin provides a list of “things to do” before you hit the Publish button so you won’t forget before your blog post goes public.

  41. mattotoole
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Lorelle,

    Pre-Publish Reminders is interesting but not what I’m looking for, which is a plugin that shows a sitewide work plan or to-do list for editors and administrators. For example, blog these news items, change that picture to so and so, finish the article about so and so, etc. Programmers’ editors (IDEs) have this feature, as do fully-featured CMSes.

  42. Posted January 20, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    The ability to reply directly from the Comments Panel would really be helpful.


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