Thoughtful Comments Plugin Adds Comment Moderation Links to the Frontend of WordPress

Thoughful Comments Featured Image
photo credit: GirlOnRail_BKGs_BartaIV 1024×768(license)

The backend of WordPress has a set of tools to help administrators moderate comments, but what if you could bring some of those tools to the frontend? Developed by Foliovision, Thoughtful Comments is compatible with Jetpack Comments and adds the following links to comments on the frontend of WordPress:

  • Approve
  • Delete
  • Delete Thread
  • Delete and Ban IP
  • Delete Thread and Ban IP

Usernames highlighted in red indicate a comment that’s in the moderation queue. You can either approve, delete, or delete and ban the IP address of moderated comments. It’s important to note that deleted comments are sent to the trash instead of being removed completely from WordPress. For this reason, I think the Delete link should be renamed to Trash so its function makes more sense.

Comment in Moderation Status
Comment in Moderation Status

You can also delete entire threads.

Various Administration Links
Various Administration Links

Editing posts, administering comments, and managing a site from the frontend is a huge time saver. With certain aspects of WordPress making their way to the frontend, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, the features within Thoughtful Comments end up in core. In the future, I think users will expect to be able to accomplish specific tasks like these without having to browse through clunky administration screens.

Thoughtful Comments is compatible with WordPress 4.1 and available from the WordPress plugin directory.

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18 Comments


  1. Thank you for sharing this useful plugin! A time saver indeed.

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  2. Looks interesting Jeff – might give it a run out but I’m getting less and less comments and more and more social shares.
    The Tavern is one of the few blogs that I comment on… must be the nice folks around here.

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  3. How does it know you are the admin? What prevents the features from being accessible to users? Thanks

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  4. Its a nice development but i still prefer having the moderation at the backend. And just like my namesake above asked, How does it know you are the admin?

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    1. Hi James. You need to be logged in in order to see the moderation tools. Unless you are an Admin or an Editor you won’t see any of the moderation tools. Here’s a few points which might set you more at ease:

      1. The back end moderation tools continue to work as before when Thoughtful Comments is enabled.
      2. Thoughtful Comments is full compatible with Akismet and other comment plugins (subscription plugins for instance).
      3. You can enable and disable Thoughtful Comments freely with no damage or change to your comments database. We support the core WordPress commenting structure throughout the plugin.

      Still, if your site is a low comment zone, there’s no need for Thoughtful Comments. We created Thoughtful Comments for one of the most heavily commented political sites on the net. Moderation pre-Thoughtful Comments was a nightmare (sock puppets, banned trolls reregistering). Moderation post-Thoughtful Comments was much faster and more effective. Moreover via the front end moderation duties could be easily shared with non-technical editors.

      So many sites have been forced into using Disqus due to the weak moderation tools inside WordPress. Installing Disqus means losing control of your comment database, suffering slow page loads and taking a big SEO penalty (all those comments appear in javascript only unless you really know what you are doing). Thoughtful Comments lets even the most voluble sites enjoy native commenting with its attendant privacy, performance and SEO benefits.

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  5. I tried to install it and then I noticed “Untested with your version of WordPress”, so I stopped. I hope the developer can do something about it.

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      1. Thank you Justin. I am going to check out the Pro WordPress Plugin Development book you co-authored and hopefully I can contribute something to the community someday.

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  6. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for taking the time to review our Thoughtful Comments. That’s a great tip about changing “Delete” to “Trash”. Our settings options originally allowed the user to choose to send comments to trash or directly delete (now it’s Trash only: the less preferences the better): we should reflect that distinction in the front end language though.

    A feature which many administrators might appreciate is the automated URL shortening. The way this works is that if someone include a really long naked URL in a comment that link becomes “link to domain.com“. This is especially useful on sites where people like to talk but are not especially technical (think politics, celebrity, cooking, sports).

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Thanks for the reminder about the WordPress compatibility check. We are fully compatible with WordPress 4.1 and are updating the message now. With the number of updates which WordPress.org pushes (we’d prefer twice a year with database level updates only annually), most plugins are nominally out of date as Justin kindly pointed out (love your Hybrid framework btw, your new forum plugin looks exciting, for the moment we’re still using customised bbPress v1 for our support forums like WordPress.org).

    Hi Everyone,

    Comment caching is coming to Thoughtful Comments very soon, which will allow fast loading with low processor overhead of pages with extreme numbers of comments. We’ve been using front end caching to get the job done up until now which works fine for page load times. Bulk caching of older comments (we already handle Gravatar caching with our FV Gravatar Cache) will help reduce server load for very busy posts (think front page NY Times or Huffington Post). We have bulk comment caching working on some client sites and just need to drop the code into the core Thoughtful Comments.

    On the topic of caching, we’re also finishing a free mobile and retina image caching solution: FV Mobile Retina for WordPress. Without adding extra (slow) javascript, you’ll be able to serve a cached version of desktop with and without retina, as well cached versions of mobile both with and without retina images. The image processing will all be automated. If you’d like to be on the beta test list, drop me a line.

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    1. Hi Alec, thank you for updating the compatibility message. I am sold now. The plugin looks good.

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    2. Comment caching is here inside Thoughtful Comments, along with a new and improved interface, in line with WP Admin improvements. Cute little icons instead of just text links (Jeff has the old interface above).

      We welcome any feedback and any improvements. We’d also love to see Thoughtful Comments integrated into core to:

      1. improve moderation for busy sites.
      2. improve performance on sites with lots of comments.

      What we would really like to see is more robust built-in commenting in WordPress itself. Thoughtful Comments is very simple, clear code with years of field testing. Anyone who knows anyone in core with an interest in comments, please let us know how we could help move the process forward of integrating this functionality into WordPress core.

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  7. This is how the Facebook comments moderation tool works too, which is really nice. Sometimes I read through comments and see one that needs some “attention” and try to remember it whilst i’m reading the rest of them but I tend to forget. A quick click of the delete and sorted.

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    1. Exactly, Rob. I too find it much easier to moderate intelligently when the discussion is in context.

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  8. What I would really wish is a configuration of or an option in the recent comments widget to choose between showing all sorts of comments including track/pingbacks, or only comments without track/pingbacks!

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