My issue is that I've recently noticed comments are not displaying anywhere on my site. However, the comments are clearly visible on the admin dashboard.
For example this post here is currently showing six comments from the admin dashboard, which we can read and interact with, but from the actual page there's nothing. I've noticed that this is a site-wide problem and that all comments seem to be conspicuously missing, even though they all remain present and approved for from view of the admin dashboard.
I don't know my php coding, so I've had a look at things and tried to do some rough comparisons, but I'm not sure where to start. I've got a bit of speculation, but I think my primary suspect is a plugin I downloaded to help get rid of trackback spam.
Here's a link to that plugin:
I've sent them a message about it, but I need to explore more in case they aren't responsible. The thing that concerns me is that I can't see comments even if I disable their plugin. Can plugins potentially alter my site permanently? I assume yes, but that does seem to defeat the benefit of not permanently altering the code of my site manually.
Our big issue is that our site attracts bots and we get bombarded with everything under the sun. Captcha works for comments, but pingbacks and trackbacks remain an issue. It seems that none of my visitors use pingbacks or trackbacks for legitimate purposes, but disabling pingbacks from the dashboard doesn't seem to stop spam bots from abusing them for some reason.
What are some possibilities? What have I likely done to cause comments to vanish from the site, and how can I get them back without enabling trackbacks and pingbacks?