Footsteps in the sand. Trackbacks are the messages displayed in the comments list whenever another blog links back to one of your posts. Many blogs disable trackbacks, but not all.

If you use trackbacks on your blog, it is best if they are not mixed with the comments. The comments are a conversation between between real people. Having machine-generated links in the middle of that will only serve to disrupt the conversations.

The method described here will lift out all of the trackbacks, and then display them as a numbered list after the list of comments is finished. Once you have this done, customizing the trackbacks to appear however you want them to is simple.

And thanks to Gary, the Trackbacks header will only appear if the post has a trackback to show.

NB – This method will only work for WordPress users. Sorry guys!

How To Separate the Trackbacks

Open comments.php, and search for the following line:

<?php foreach ($comments as $comment) : ?>

After it, paste the following:

<?php $comment_type = get_comment_type(); ?>
<?php if($comment_type == 'comment') { ?>

Now look for:

<?php endforeach; /* end for each comment */ ?>

And before it, paste:

<?php } else { $trackback = true; } /* End of is_comment statement */ ?>

That means that your list of comments will continue to display as normal, but without any trackbacks or pingbacks. Now we will add a second comments loop for the trackbacks.

Look for the following line:

<?php else : // this is displayed if there are no comments so far ?>

And before it, paste this: (The “Trackbacks” title line can be deleted if you don’t want a heading to be shown)

<?php if ($trackback == true) { ?>
<?php foreach ($comments as $comment) : ?>
<?php $comment_type = get_comment_type(); ?>
<?php if($comment_type != 'comment') { ?>
<li><?php comment_author_link() ?></li>
<?php } ?>
<?php endforeach; ?>
<?php } ?>

Of course, this is all only helpful if you actually use trackbacks, and there are some good reasons for either side of that debate. Do you use trackbacks on your blog? Why?

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