There’s one type of comment you haven’t seen yet: the linkback, a short, automatically
generated comment that lets you know when somebody is talking about
your post. Figure 8-13 shows what a linkback looks like—but be warned, it’s not
NOTE Linkbacks are comments. They appear in the comment list and need your approval before WordPress
publishes them, just as any other comment does.
The neat thing about linkback comments is that WordPress creates them automatically.
NOTE Linkbacks aren’t a WordPress-only feature. Many web publishing platforms support them, and virtually
all blogs can send linkback notifications and add linkback comments.
The purpose of linkbacks is twofold. First, they show your readers that people are
seeing and discussing your content, which makes it seem more popular and more
relevant. Second, it provides your readers with a link to the post that mentioned
your post. That means readers on your site (say, Canton School) can click a linkback
comment to head to the referring post on the other site (Time for Diane). In an ideal
world, this is a great way to network with like-minded sites.
In the not-so-distant past, a certain faction of bloggers cared dearly about linkbacks
and saw them as an important community-building tool. Nowadays, popular opinion
has shifted. Here are some reasons why you might not want to allow linkbacks:
• Why risk spam?
• Links are a good way to reward your commenters.
NOTE In short, most people find that linkbacks aren’t worth the trouble. To disable them, choose
Settings→Discussion and remove the checkmark next to the setting “Allow link notifications from other blogs
(pingbacks and trackbacks).” Technically, WordPress supports two linkback mechanisms: pingbacks and trackbacks.
The technical details about how pingbacks and trackbacks send their messages aren’t terribly interesting. The
important thing is that if you allow linkbacks (and, unless you change the factory settings, your site does), you
may start getting comments.
Optionally, you can clear the checkmark next to the setting “Attempt to notify any
blogs linked to from the article.” When this setting is on and you write a post that
links to another post on someone else’s site, WordPress automatically sends a notification
to that site, and its administrator can choose whether to display the linkback.
NOTE Oddly enough, if you have the “Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article” setting switched
on, WordPress notifies even your own site if you create a post that includes a link to one of your other posts. It
creates a linkback comment in the initial post that points to the referring post, just as though the posts were on
two different sites. (Of course, you’re free to delete this comment if it bothers you.)