One of my favorite WordPress plugins is Ozh’ Absolute Comments. Why? Because it turns this:
That’s it. See that little highlighted bit? Absolute Comments pre-populates the Reply form with that bit, so I don’t have to type it myself. The upshot is that each reply I make is addressed to the person to whom I am replying, and their name is a link to their original comment, followed by a space, an em-dash and another space (e.g., “@Kingfish — “). When I reply to a comment, I don’t have to create a link or track down the em-dash (Alt-0150 on the numeric keypad in Windows, but no keyboard shortcut that I’ve found on my MacBook.); I just start typing my reply. I could make it fancier if I wanted to, but I don’t, and Absolute Comments is integrated into the WordPress dashboard’s commenting system, so it doesn’t have to load special pages; everything is in-line, right on the dashboard.
It may not seem like much, but not having to manually link to the comment I’m replying to makes engaging in a dialogue much simpler. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated this plugin until a WordPress update created an unwanted “feature” and I had to disable it. Ozh recently released a fix for the problem and the plugin is back, which makes me one happy blogger.