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I've been asked to rescue an authors' blog following a sketchy plugin explosion. Following their debacle, one of the things that occurred is that all of the comments made by members are being held for moderation & I can't figure out how to fix this. The settings are properly configured to allow a user with a previously approved comment to post without going into moderation, there are no URL's in the comments held (all comments are being held), but the issue still persists. Is there a common error with relation to this?

  • there's no such thing as posts being held for moderation in standard WordPress, what plugin implements this? Or do you mean comments? – Tom J Nowell Sep 18 '15 at 16:04
  • Aye, let me wipe the egg from my face- I do mean comments. That's what I get for starting work before my brain does. – Jeff W Sep 18 '15 at 16:21
  • In the admin area, click on Settings and then Discussion. Then, make sure "Comment author must have a previously approved comment" and "Comment must be manually approved" is unticked. – Christine Cooper Sep 18 '15 at 16:29
  • Yes, I did get that right - that's all been done but the comments are still being held for moderation. This is why I've posted this here because it should be working fine but it isn't. – Jeff W Sep 18 '15 at 17:26
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There are essentially two scenarios here:

  1. The behavior is technically correct, you interpret configuration incorrectly
  2. The behavior is technically incorrect, as caused by something

Unfortunately there are a lot of moving part in processing the comment submissions.

The part most relevant to moderation is in check_comment() function.

It checks:

  • if moderation is enabled
  • if comment contains excessive number of links
  • if comment contains blacklisted words
  • if moderation is loosened for known commenters

This involves multiple options and some filters, any of which could be going wrong. Beyond this it's impossible to make a better guess, it will need hands on debug.

  • There is another scenario - I was brought into the picture after some bad blood & some of the things I fixed in their theme seemed deliberate. Still, it leaves us essentially with scene 2. – Jeff W Sep 18 '15 at 19:12
  • I believe I've found the cause - the comments.php was from an entirely separate theme (2012). Looks like another deliberate action to me, sorry for the confusion. – Jeff W Sep 18 '15 at 20:18

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