The solution turned out to be simple: uncheck two boxes on the Settings/ Discussion page. That’s it. No problem—if you know where the page is and that Discussion means Comments. (I didn’t.)
The real obstacle, though, was internal. I’d heard that WordPress wouldn’t let you do that; subscribers had to “register.” It didn’t sound right, but it was easier to do nothing and besides, an inner voice was shouting, “You can’t do it! It’s too hard! You’ll screw it up!” and so on.
Fortunately, Lynda reminded me of the problem yesterday, and I finally dug in and figured out how to fix it.
“Aren’t you proud of yourself?” Margaret has often asked me, and I’ve always said no. Until now.