Pingback/Trackback questions from a novice blogger

I have finally caved in and created a blog. As is my wont, I read extensively on how things work before setting one up, so I understand the theory of operation. Despite a bunch of searching, I’m still missing some details on the actual implementation.

In case this affects your answers, I’m using wordpress.

I grok the theory of pingback and trackback. What I don’t get is the level of automation. If I make a regular blog post and include a link to an article on another blog, is the generation of the pingback automatic, or do I need to take some action?

Is the process different for comments than it is for blog posts?

Does the pingback appear only to the owner of the blog in the dashboard, or is it visible to visitors as a comment?

Is there a particular etiquette or protocol to follow when someone links to one of my posts?

Thanks much!

If you wish to take a look at the blog, it’s here. The subject is principally writing and books. I welcome any feedback on how I’ve set it up.

In WordPress it’s automatic. There are settings to enable/disable sending pingbacks, but other than ensuring you haven’t turned them off there’s nothing you need to do.

It’s visible to visitors as a comment. Pingbacks and trackbacks you receive will appear in the Comments section of wp-admin. WordPress unfortunately isn’t too clear about distinguishing one from the other in there - they’re just treated as a kind of comment.

Not really. These days most pingbacks, and virtually all trackbacks, are spam. Especially on a new blog.

Thank you!

Oh, I should have mentioned: you can easily send a pingback to yourself to see what it looks like and check that everything works. Just publish a post containing a link to one of your own posts.

A word on Wordpress spam –

You’ll have Akismet set to automatically stop spam. For my small blog for work (college library), it has stopped about 1,200 spam comments since January 2010. I think of those I have only pulled one from it and said it wasn’t spam (and even that was iffy - it probably was, but it seemed useful).