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WordPress includes a new function for comment classes, which will help theme authors perform simpler styling. The function is, appropriately enough, called comment_class().
See also post_class() for more details.
<li <?php comment_class(); ?> id="li-comment-<?php comment_ID() ?>">
The comment_class() outputs the class="whatever" piece for that div. This includes several different classes of value: comment, even (or odd), thread-even, depth-1, etc.. These make it easy to style different parts of the theme in different ways.
Specifically, it will apply the following classes, based on the following conditions:
For special cases where you want to add your own classes, comment_class supports that too:
<?php comment_class('special'); ?>
This will add "special" to the class list.
Also note that comment_class() uses the following global variables. So these variables can be set prior to calling comment_class() to effect the output: global $comment_alt, $comment_depth, $comment_thread_alt;
For example, you can force $comment_alt=FALSE if you always want to start with the first comment being even. The comment_class() function will then alternate this variable for you.
comment_class() is located in