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From within a WordPress plugin, is there any way to get the name and email of the current user, when s/he is not logged in, but has recently submitted a comment, and specified name and email in the comment reply form?

Or is the name & email only available during the HTTP request in which [the comment posted by the user] is being processed?

(When the the user is not logged in, the WP_User returned by wp_get_current_user() contains no info on the user's email or name, I've noticed when debugging.)

(Background: I'm writing a comment rating plugin, and I'd like to highlight the user's ratings, even if s/he isn't a registered user. As mentioned in the comments below, perhaps some cookie will be needed in any case. I'm still interested in knowing the answer to this question however, perhaps I could reuse some existing functionality or something)

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I think you could probably set some kind of cookie, however users might not like still being half logged in to your site after they log out. – fdsa Jul 15 '12 at 2:18
How are they authenticated to comment? – fdsa Jul 15 '12 at 2:36
@fdsa re: authentication: they probably specify name + email (or log in, if they are registered users). – KajMagnus Jul 15 '12 at 2:38
@fdsa Yes a cookie would probably be needed regardless, in case [someone who has not commented before (so name+email is unknown)] submits a comment rating. Then I'd still like that user to have his/her rating highlighted – KajMagnus Jul 15 '12 at 2:40
@fdsa "however users might not like still being half logged in" — that's a good point. What if they don't realize that the system highlights their ratings, because of a cookie, and then they leaves the computer. What if it's in a public library — then someone else could find out how they've rated other's comments. – KajMagnus Jul 15 '12 at 2:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

An unregistered user's name and email are available in cookies, once s/he has left a comment. The cookies are named like:


You can retrieve them like so:

wp_get_current_commenter(); // returns comment_author,
                            //   comment_author_email, comment_author_url

They're created here in comment.php:

 * Sets the cookies used to store an unauthenticated commentator's identity. Typically used
 * to recall previous comments by this commentator that are still held in moderation.
 * @param object $comment Comment object.
 * @param object $user Comment author's object.
 * @since 3.4.0
function wp_set_comment_cookies($comment, $user) {
    if ( $user->exists() )

    $comment_cookie_lifetime = apply_filters('comment_cookie_lifetime', 30000000);
    setcookie('comment_author_' . COOKIEHASH, $comment->comment_author, ...);
    setcookie('comment_author_email_' . COOKIEHASH, $comment->comment_author_email, ...);
    setcookie('comment_author_url_' . COOKIEHASH, ...);

(I found out by stepping through wp-comments-post.php with a debugger.)

((As mentioned in the comments below the original question above, couldn't this sometimes be a privacy issue, if someone posts a comment in a public library — then the one who uses the computer afterwards might find those comments that are "waiting for authentication", and know who wrote them, hmm))

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