Semantic Comments for WordPress

As regular readers will know, I love adding Semantic things to my blog.

The standard WordPress comments HTML isn't very semantic - so I thought I'd change that. Here's some code which you can add to your blog's theme - an an explanation of how it works.

The aim is to end up with some HTML which looks like this (edited for brevity):

<li itemscope itemtype="" itemid="#246827">
        <time datetime="2022-04-12T10:22:32+01:00" itemprop="dateCreated">
            <a href='#comment-246827' itemprop='url'>22-04-12 10:22</a>
        <div itemprop="" itemscope itemtype="">
            <img itemprop="image" alt='' src='logo.jpg' height='64' width='64'/>
            <span itemprop="name">
                <a itemprop="url" href="">Commenter's Name</a></span> says:
        <div itemprop="text">This is the text of my comment</code></div>

Which will be interpreted as:
A schema tree showing all the properties.

This adds <time> elements as well as microdata.


In comments.php you'll see something like this:

<ol class="comment-list">
        wp_list_comments( array(
            'style'       => 'ol',
            'short_ping'  => true,
            'avatar_size' => 64,
        ) );

You need to add a new callback. In this case, I've called it my_comments_walker:

<ol class="comment-list">
        wp_list_comments( array(
            'style'       => 'ol',
            'short_ping'  => true,
            'avatar_size' => 64,
            'callback' => 'my_comments_walker',
        ) );

You can read more about WordPress Walkers on their documentation page.

Now that's done, you need to create a function in your functions.php file. I added this to the end of my file:

function my_comments_walker() {

    //  Basic comment data
    $comment_id          = get_comment_id();
    $comment             = get_comment( $comment_id );

    //  Date the comment was submitted
    $comment_date        = get_comment_date( "c" );
    //  In slightly more human-readable format
    $comment_date_human  = get_comment_date( "y-m-d H:i" );

    //  Author Details
    $comment_author      = get_comment_author();

    //  Author's URl if they've added one
    $comment_author_url  = get_comment_author_url();

    //  If there's an Author URl, link it
    if ($comment_author_url != null) {
        $comment_author_name = "<a itemprop='url' href='{$comment_author_url}' rel='external nofollow ugc' class='url'>{$comment_author}</a>";
    } else {
        $comment_author_name = "{$comment_author}";

    //  Provide a link to the comment anchor
    $comment_url_link = "<a href='#comment-{$comment_id}' itemprop='url'>{$comment_date_human}</a>";

    //  Author's Avatar based on ID
    //  As per both alt & default must be set
    $gravatar            = get_avatar( $comment, 64, "", "", array('extra_attr' => 'itemprop="image"') );

    //  Comment needs newlines and links added
    $comment_text        = apply_filters( 'comment_text', get_comment_text(), $comment);

    //  The comment may have various classes. They are stored as an array
    $comment_classes     = get_comment_class();
    $comment_classes_text = "";
    foreach( $comment_classes as $class ) {
        $comment_classes_text .= $class . " ";
    $comment_classes_text = trim($comment_classes_text);

    //  Link to open the reply box
    $comment_reply_link = get_comment_reply_link( [
                    'depth'     => 20,
                    'max_depth' => 100,
                    'before'    => '<div class="reply">',
                    'after'     => '</div>'
            ] );

    //  Write the comment HTML. No need for a closing </li> as WP handles that.
    echo <<<EOT
    <li id="comment-$comment_id" itemscope itemtype="" itemid="#comment-$comment_id" class="$comment_classes_text">
        <article class="comment-body" id="div-comment-$comment_id">
            <time datetime="$comment_date" class="comment-meta commentmetadata" itemprop="dateCreated">
            <div class="comment-author vcard" itemprop="" itemscope itemtype="">
                <span class="fn" itemprop="name">$comment_author_name</span> <span class="says">says:</span>
            <div itemprop="text" class="comment-text">$comment_text</div>

There are a few extra classes and spans which I use. You can remove them if you like.

And that's it. All your comments will have individual semantic metadata. If you think anything else should be included, please let me know.

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2 thoughts on “Semantic Comments for WordPress”

  1. Neat. So this is my first ever semantically marked-up blog post comment?

    Could these changes be packaged as a WordPress plugin? Or even submitted as a change to the WordPress core (or whatever it's called)?

    Also, you could include an option for the commenter to enter their ORCID iD.

    1. @edent says:

      It is! I can't be bothered doing WordPress plugins any more - too much hassle. Similarly, getting changes in can be tricky. Your ORCiD will show up if you add it as your website in the comment.


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