Argument ~ Newer or Older Comments! Which should be displayed first?

Last week, I came up with this post in which we discussed about the position of the comment form – Above or Below comments.

NB: I show you belowΒ exactly how to display newer comments first

I had interesting arguments from readers but a majority augured in favor of placing the form above comments. Whatever the result is, I recommend doing test on your blog in order to make an informed decision.

Today, I have another interesting argument and I’m so excited to hear your point.

We all know know blog commenting is a serious traffic and engagement factor. As a matter of fact, I have had businesses because of comment counts on my blog.

We want real comments right? But does the comment listing order have anything to do with the number of comments you get?

Newer or Older Comments! Which should be on top of the list?

Think of it this way…

You are reading an interesting ‘older comments first’ post that has 50+ comments. Traditionally, dropping a comment on such a post means yours is pushed down the page.

What if you are the first to drop a comment on a blog with this traditional listing order (older comments first)?

That means yours will remain on top of the list for as long as that article is online.

This ordering type will encourage ‘early birds’ to drop their comments knowing they will be on top ‘forever’.

But with this traditional listing order, once you have a long list of comments, do you think that will have a negative effect on the number of comments you get with time?

Now, if you are on a blog that puts newer comments on top of the list, does it excite you to drop yours knowing that once approved, you’ll be on top of the list?

Personally, I love being the first to drop comments on blogs with older comments first simply because I’ll be on top of the list.

For blogs with reverse listing order, definitely, I like to be the last reader to comment before comments are closed. The reason is simple – I’ll be on top!

SomeΒ of my favorite blogs that display newer comments first;

But I want really to hear from you…

Does listing order really matter?

For the past 2 weeks, I changed my order, putting newer comments first. This definitely has a positive impact on the comments I get on old posts.Β Late comers are actively commenting now as this keeps them on top πŸ˜‰

How to display newer comments first!

Before you jump to the comment box to share your opinion, here is how to change the display order of your comments in WordPress…

In Β your WordPress Dashboard, Β go to Settings > Discussion and under “Other comment settings“, change the settings from older to newer and click to save changes

how to display newer comments first

If you are blogging on WordPress, that’s quite simple to do. You may want to change that right now to see what effect it has on your blog.

Time to discuss…

Drop a comment below and let us know what you think about which display order. You can drop a comment now, come back again to reply to comment from other readers.

Let’s make it hot and meaningful

57 thoughts on “Argument ~ Newer or Older Comments! Which should be displayed first?”

  1. Hi Enstine,

    Thanks for the shout out in this post — although I feel like a fraud. I use the Facebook comments plugin, and I currently have it set to sort comments by relevance.

    A lot of the time this puts newest comments first — but not always.

    Some food for thought, though… I agree — newest comments should be first. So perhaps I’ll go change that setting. πŸ™‚

    Have a good one,

    Brent

  2. I think if there is an option in wordpress for rating comments that would be great and users rate top comments and that get on top of the page.

  3. Hi Enstine,

    Honestly, I never thought about this. This is an interesting topic of discussion. πŸ™‚

    Since I had never thought about it, I was not too concerned with the order of the comments on my blog. I myself don’t think too much about the order when commenting on other blogs.

    I agree with Donna. I often read feedback from other commentators, and it does not matter whether it is new or old comments. It was still a comment to a certain article after all. πŸ™‚

    Well, that’s just my opinion. I also don’t know whether I will change that setting someday. Who knows, right? πŸ˜€

    Thanks for sharing, Enstine.
    Keep up the good work and have a nice weekend!

    ~Nanda

  4. Hi Enstine,

    I’ve seen some activities by way of comments on my old posts since I switched and started showing recent comments on top.

    Just thought I should share this with the house.

    Cheers.

    Dan

  5. This is really an interesting argument Entine and i will see what feedback you’re readers gave on this.

    As for me, it does not really matter much, anyone can do so long as the post itself is not outdated.

  6. Hi Enstine,

    Hmmm. Never thought of this one. I will give this thought. But from my own experience, I see that putting comments the way they come in does have an effect of others commenting on other comments.

    I seen a lot of engagement on my comment section. And know that people read comments others put in. When they do they might say I do agree with (name) and what she said here, then elaborate.

    I like it when people have conversations on my blog. As you know I do reply to everyone. So for now, I’ll keep things in place, but watch your blog and see how it’s responding. Who knows maybe I’ll make the switch lol.

    Thanks for sharing what you are doing and how it’s working for you.

    -Donna

    • Hey Donna,
      I love the point on conversation. Reversing definitely makes that area difficult as the flow is distorted. I’m definitely just taking an experiment and may create a post on a later date to share result.

      One thing I have noticed however is that old posts have had more comments recently due to the switch.

      In any case, testing is the best way to know what works so let’s see what it brings πŸ˜‰

  7. Hey Enstine,

    Well I can only speak from experience of course and to the success of the comments I still get on my posts.

    I know that people love to try and be first because they will remain at the top. I don’t have a lot of evergreen posts so I don’t mind dating things and if people want to continue leaving comments they’re welcome but I would hope they would understand that over time some things just aren’t as relevant as they use to be.

    I’ve never really tested this out but in all honesty I don’t think it would matter for my blog. I respond to all comments and treat everyone the same so they’ll never be ignored at my place and I’ll continue to always welcome comments.

    I also scan through most comments and will read quite a few so I personally prefer the comment box being below the comments but that’s just me. πŸ˜‰

    Interesting conversation though.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hey Adrienne,
      Good to see you here and thanks for reading and dropping a comment.

      You what’s important is knowing yourself, what you share and what your readers want. I think you’ve got it to your finger tips and it’s important to go with what already works.

      As I’m experimenting, I’m seeing a remarkable change, with old blog posts getting a lot of great comments.

      I’m still going to keep it going for a longer period to be able to make the right decision.

      So thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion. Have a wonderful week with Brent πŸ˜‰

  8. Hi Enstine

    This post is as interesting as the last one. I agree that having new comments stay on top has so many benefits.

    I like to see my comments on top because it shows that I am making a difference.

    However I know that as comments come, my comment will go rock bottom. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi Enstine,
    This is a great discussion! Thanks so much for citing my blog as an example.

    The reason that I display the newest comments on top is that I strive to create evergreen content on my blog. Keeping the discussions current helps to keep older posts alive.

    Unlike some bloggers, I never close my comments. If one of my posts is no longer current, I either update it, exclude it from being automatically shared or redirect the permalink to a newer post.

    I often revive old posts and I especially like to do this for my guest bloggers. I’ve been fortunate to have guest bloggers like Adrienne Smith and Don Purdum. Both Don and Adrienne wrote about topics that remain current. So, (even though they both blogged for me months ago), I still share their (older) posts.

    Doing this practically guarantees attracting readers who missed their posts the first time around. It keeps the conversation alive and it does wonders for my comment counts. Since, I have a CommentLuv blog, I’m sure it drives traffic back to some of their most recent posts too. It’s a win-win-win.

    Imagine if I shared an older post and my readers arrived at a 1 (or 2) year old post and saw the first comment that was posted months/years ago That would really date my article and give the impression that it wasn’t relative.

    Instead, imagine arriving there and seeing that the conversation is still current. Wouldn’t you be much more apt to participate?

    This is definitely a strategy that is up for discussion. Good job getting us talking about it!

    • Hi Sherryl,
      This is impressive I must say and thanks for taking the time to explain the reason behind your change of listing order.

      This makes perfect sense to me and, one of the reasons I changed my order was your blog.

      I do old post re-posting frequently these days because I’m quite busy offline. My new order gives the re-posted articles a fresh feel ;). Though I’m still in the testing phase, I think the ‘newer first’ order is making some sense.

      I’m also thinking of creating a plugin that will switch the order on posts after x number of days.

      What are your thoughts on that?

      • Honestly Enstine, I avoid installing plugins if I can. Currently, my theme handles the sort order but if it didn’t, I would be more apt to hunt down some code and then follow the instructions to apply it. Of course, if I couldn’t quickly find and implement code, then I’d look for a plugin.

        Actually, I want to clarify that statement. If I’m looking for a plugin to do something specific (for example batch move posts from one category to another), I don’t hesitate installing them. The thing is that if I can install a plugin, run it and uninstall it, I will. Whereas, I’m always reluctant to install a plugin that I need to keep running because it could possiibly conflict with another plugin or add additional overhead.

        Having said that, don’t go by me. There could be a real need/demand for a plugin that does what you’re planning. A lot of people don’t like messing with code and I don’t blame them!

        • Hey Sherryl,
          Thanks for coming back to continue the discussion πŸ˜‰

          Do you mean your theme can allow you sort order only on specific posts based on some conditions? That would be great πŸ˜‰

          I perfectly understand your point on plugins. Each I want to develop a plugin or install a new one on my blog, I consider compatibility, load speed and security.

          So many plugins with frontpage heavy css or js files to load and/or many database requests will unavoidably make your blog a bit slower. My plugin MyCommentAuthors, for instance only runs once at the backend to generate the html source code. Once this is done, the user copies the code and pastes on the post so it absolutely has to impact on page load. These are some of the things I seriously take into consideration while developing a plugin.

          I’m still not available to start a new plugin now but I will be analyzing and looking more closely into this once I’m free to work on the comment sorting plugin πŸ˜‰

          Thanks for making the conversation warm. Do have a wonderful week ahead πŸ˜‰

  10. Howdy Enstine,

    I’m really loving these arguments you are bringing forth; however, just like the last one on the placement of the comment form, this is one I have not really bothered with too. However, unlike the other one, I may make a change with my style if I see superior reasons below indicating why I should.

    I’m curious to see where this comment will land…first or last πŸ™‚

    Always,
    Akaahan Terungwa

    P.S.

    I can’t wait for the next post in your argument series…what are you gonna bring up ? πŸ™‚

    • Hey Akaahan,
      Good to see you here bro and thanks for adding your voice πŸ˜‰

      You know I’m doing this experiment and my understanding is there is no best fit. So what I’m thinking of doing is create a plugin that will allow bloggers set a when the order should be changed on posts.

      I’m thinking of something where I can ask WP to change the order after x number of days from post publication.

      How about that?

  11. Hey Enstine,
    It’s magical question that what kinds of comment to show at first, but I think ‘first come first serve’.. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing a great niche to a discussion and it’s more terrific to get this tricky question!

  12. Hey Enstine,

    I’m usually the one that gets there to comment really late. I still leave a comment, but I do wonder if the author would even recognize or reply to it. I also wonder if anyone else would even acknowledge it.

    This is why I like to be the first, if not one of the first, people to comment on a blog. I get a response from both the author and sometimes other commenters. As a matter of fact, I like it when people make reference to a comment I said. So in this sense, being the first makes a good difference

    • Hey Sherman,
      I get your point. Everyone wants to be first especially if the comment ordering is traditional. That keeps you on top forever.

      But if it’s reversed, once you are first, it takes you down with time.

      I’m thinking of creating a plugin that allows bloggers to reverse the order after a certain number of days of publication. That may be a solution to balance up πŸ˜‰

      • That sounds like a good plan. Have you ever thought the more comments someone puts on a blog post, the higher the comment will be? This will benefit everyone out. The commenter has a chance for their comment to be first in line, and the blog will be more engaging which will attract more people as well as it will be a social signal for search engines

        • Yeah once your comments are growing, everyone else will drop a comment to be on top. As the top spot is always available, there will always be comments till they are closed πŸ˜‰

  13. Its easier to comment when the comment box ix on top. One may not go through all the comments but once you’ve made yours, that’s it; you are satisfied. Its a bit clumsy to scroll all the way to the bottom to leave a comment. one can give up half way. Its for all of us to think of our customers who want to leave comments to make it easy for them to do so.

  14. I think it doesn’t matter whether the comment in newer or older. Only comments that that give some answer value etc. should be displayed first.

  15. Hi Enstine!

    I’m glad to see you bring up this discussion. Quite frankly, I prefer to see the newer ones up top. Why? I don’t know, really. I think it’s like one of those things with the roll of toilet paper, Over or Under? All according to what someone prefers. So on a serious note, I like to be the first to comment and if the newer ones are at time for a brief period of time, I will be on top!

    Happy Monday, Enstine! Glad to see you back in action!

    B

    • Hey Brenda,
      Thanks for sharing your voice πŸ˜‰
      What I recommend is bloggers should try out both orderings on their blogs to know which one works better πŸ˜‰ That’s exactly what I’m doing now. will be making a final decision in the weeks ahead

      I hope you are having a wonderful week πŸ˜‰

  16. Hi Enstine,
    I’ve always read that being the first to comment was the best position to be but I never really thought about what happens to that comment later on.

    Monday morning and already a very important topic to think about. Thank you.

    • Hey Monna,
      If you are first on a blog that puts older comments first, that will keep you on to. But if you are first on blogs that puts newer comments first, you get to be pushed down.

      It’s double edged, sort of πŸ˜‰

  17. Hi Enstine,

    You do a great job with bringing up debatable topics that generates engagement.

    Before now, I’ve had older comments on top but as I read this post and gave it some deep thought, I decided to switch to newer posts on top.

    Mohinder, made a valid argument, that the comments could be distorted if the comment has a reply and the blogger has set newer comments first; well, I think WordPress is smarter than that, If a comment has a reply, the reply would just come below the comment, so it would still be readable.

    Also, Shamsudeen said it’s not good to place newer comments first because it’s not a good reward for bloggers who commented first on your blog; well, it’s not a good reward either if bloggers will not comment on my blog because their comment will be placed on the 70th position on my blog.

    I believe if you set your blog to newer comments first, everybody wins. The commenter wins because he gets a few moments of exposure, the new commenter wins because his late comment can still get a few moment of exposure too and the Blogger wins because he can still get comments even on posts that are 10 days old.

    That’s my thought and I’ll be glad to read more thoughts on this discuss.

    I see this post to be very engaging, you did well bro, good thinking.

    Cheers.

    Dan

    • Hi Dan,

      Definitely i agree with you all off these points, Dan. Really a very good discussion Enstine brings here in this article. Now, looking forward to see what Enstine say!

    • Brilliant comment man, balancing everything up.
      Both orders have their advantages and disadvantages but I think one should test out to see which is best fitted for his blog.

      Now you changed so I’ll be excited to read your results on your blog after a while πŸ˜‰

      Do have a wonderful week bro and thanks for being part of the argument

  18. Hi Enstine,

    Another interesting discussion!

    I think I’m most in agreement with Mohinder who makes the point that with older comments at the bottom a “conversation” can develop as people comment on earlier comments, so I prefer older comments at the bottom.

    However, I’m open to try it the other way so I’ve changed my settings and will see how I feel about it in a few weeks time.

    Yet again you’ve pointed out a setting in WordPress that I’d completely missed!

    Thanks, Joy

    • That’s correct Joy! The only way to know what works is to try it out.
      Now, let’s see what works on your blog. I’ll be around your blog certainly to see how it goes πŸ˜‰

      Do have a wonderful week ahead

  19. Hi Enstine, I really like this idea and will send if it works with CommentLuv. It gives everyone a chance to be at the top after the post. Love that! I can see how you would get more comments from it too.
    Thanks for sharing this with us Enstine and have a happy Monday!

    • Hey Lisa,
      Good to see you around and thanks for dropping a comment.

      Yes, I’m getting more comments on old post. I think the reason is that readers strive to drop comments in order to remain on top.

      Well, I’ll be running the blog like this for a longer period to generally see what my readers prefer πŸ˜‰

      Hope you are having a great week Lisa

  20. Hey Enstine,
    In my personal view, newer comments should display first. Thanks for the guide to show new comments on top.

  21. Hi Enstine,

    I miss the last updates on where should the comment box be placed, Above or below?

    I have my opinion on that which I will answer with a post on my blog in days coming, hopefully before weekend.

    And I will get you notify of it.

    Back to this one…….Older comments should be on top. Why?

    Think about it, you take the efforts of being the early bird to leave comment on a post maybe by getting notify through email alert or whatever and just within seconds or minutes……your efforts was pushed down the drain because someone came second to comment on same post and beat you to it.

    Why should I be anxious anyway to hurriedly click on your email newsletter to read your latest post and leave comment on it if my comment get pushed down within seconds.

    Talking from marketers point of view which I believe most bloggers who comments on posts are.

    It could lead to readers coming back later to engage with the blog after their intial reading time.

    I hope you get it?

    Thanks.

    • Will be excited to read your point expounded on your blog in more details bro πŸ˜‰

      Yes, reversing the traditional order may keep some people less motivated to drop comments first. However, some may like to drop more than one comment πŸ˜‰

      BTW, I’m waiting the post on your blog πŸ˜‰

  22. I think the latest comment should be posted in last because its easier for the reader to read out the whole point of discussion.

  23. Hi Enstine,

    As per my opinion, the newer comments should be below the old comments because sometimes anyone can reply on the old comment and if you make changes to appear the newer comments on tops then, it will not be a readable conversation.

    I know I am unable to write proper technical wording in my comment but I hope you will understand what I am trying to write here.

    Correct me if I am wrong on this.

    Mohinder Paul Verma
    BloggingFunda – A Community of Bloggers

  24. Sure, the newest comment must come first.
    First, newer comments have a juice of comments.
    Second, Many times I see new comments add value to older comments by providing the solutions asked by users in older comments.

  25. Hello Sir,

    This is a very argumentative post, this will surely get people to share how they feel about putting new comments at the top.

    I really don’t like the idea of putting new comments at the top, i love it when i am the first to comment and my comment stays at the first position, i don’t know how others feel but it makes me feel very good seeing my comment at the top and i don’t like commenting late on a post, i see that you’ve moved the comment box to the top of the comment…KUDOS with that!

    Have a nice week!

  26. I would go with newer comment because users can read latest comments & ideas on your sites, instead of scroll down for a while. And if you have a lot of comments, I take a lot of times.

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