Pingbacks Track Backs and Comments

The first setting on the Discussion Options page, "Attempt to notify any Weblogs linked to from the article (slows down posting)," specifies that when you post a story that contains links, WordPress will attempt to send a Pingback message to each of those links. It uses a little discrimination in that it pings only links it thinks are permalinks. Links that are only to domains (such as http://www.google.com or http://amazon.co.uk) are not pinged. The reasoning is that it only makes sense to Pingback a specific story, and a link to a web site homepage is not likely to be a specific story. This setting, along with WordPress's ability to automatically Pingback links you mention in your post, is a great feature and a good way to start to build your community. You should have this enabled.

A word of caution, though: if you mention a lot of links in your post, and if the network around your server is busy or slow, it can appear to take a very long time to post your story. In fact, the story is posted quite quickly, but the Pingback process involving a conversation with several other servers that might be equally busy can take over a minute. It might appear as though your server has stopped, but a lot is going on in the background.

The next setting, "Allow link notifications from other Weblogs (Pingbacks and TrackBacks)," is about allowing Pingbacks and TrackBacks to your posts. You should probably leave this enabled, too. Another word of caution: there have been attempts to exploit the concept of TrackBacks for spamming purposes. WordPress comes configured to handle this, but you should be aware of the issue. I'll elaborate when I cover the subject of comment spam in the next section.

The next setting turns on user comments (it is off by default). Without this setting, no one can leave a comment on your posts. If you want to build a community, you'll need to enable this option. Comments are the lifeblood of a community blog, or even one that just wishes to interact with its readers. Note that this setting governs the default setting for all new posts. It doesn't affect posts you've already created, and an individual post can override this setting. WordPress is very flexible!

E-Mail

The next two settings on the Discussion Options page govern when you receive e-mail from your WordPress blog. You can have WordPress send you an e-mail message whenever anyone posts a comment or sends a TrackBack or Pingback. And you can have WordPress send you an e-mail message whenever a comment is held for moderation. Comment moderation is covered in the next section.

Figure 14-12 shows a sample e-mail message sent when a comment has been left on your blog. In it, you can see the blog name and posting title included in the subject. The message also includes details of the comment author's name, e-mail, and URI, if supplied, and, of course, the visitor's comment.

For checking and tracing purposes, the e-mail also includes the IP address of the visitor as reported by the web server, a reverse DNS lookup, and a link to a WHOIS lookup of that IP address. These three items should give you useful information if you are the victim of comment spam or some other comment nastiness. Unfortunately, some of the spammers post remotely from innocent machines or through third-party proxies, or else spoof the IP address, rendering those pieces of information less useful.

For convenience, the e-mail also includes a link to the posting on which the comment was made. This allows you to read the comment in context of the post and other comments. It also includes a direct link to automatically delete the comment. If the e-mail is about a comment that is waiting for moderation, there will also be a link to automatically approve the comment and one to take you to the comment moderation page.

Get Mail Write Address Book Decrypt Reply Reply All Forward Delete Junk Print Stop

B Subject: [Building Online Communites] Comment: "Hello World"

From: Administrator<[email protected]>building-online-com munities.com>

Reply-To: building (tSbulldlng-onllne-cornmunrtles.com

Date: 12:35

To: building(tSbuilding-online-communitles.com

New comment on your post #1 "Hello Word" Author : Mr WordPress (IP: 127.0.0.1) E-mail :

URI : http://wordpres s■org

Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cqi-bin/whoi s.piTquervinput=12 7.0.0.1 Comment:

Hi, this is a comment.

To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts' comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

You can see all comments on this post here:

http://buildinq-online-communities■com/wordpress/?p=l#comments To delete this comment, visit:

http://buildinq-online-communities■com/wordpress/wp-admin/post■php?action=c

Figure 14-12. Sample notification e-mail

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