The ability to view and add comments when viewing a workbook are both permissions that can be edited (by a project leader or above). So, it's not a switch you can flip for an entire server or site, but it's pretty simple to implement at the group/project level. This KB article references setting the permissions at the workbook level, but it can be done at the project level as well.
I like adding global settings like this at the All Users level on each project to avoid turning the standard Viewer, Interactor, Publisher etc. roles (you might have assigned to users/groups for the project) into Custom roles. Custom roles are tricky to tell apart so this isolates your tweaks into a single place per project. Be aware that Guest is a member of All Users (assuming you have it enabled). Explicitly denying everything to Guest on each project also gives you peace of mind if you don't want Guest access for a site. I find it really useful to spot-check the effective permissions for a few users, as it shows where the permission/capability comes from.
I'm on V9.1.
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For each Site adjust your "default" Project permissions for the "All Users" Group to Deny on the specific comment abilities:
...set the permissions to Deny:
This way every Project that is added will have the comment abilities pre-set to Deny, thus one less step for you to adjust.
** UPDATE **
Thank you very much. I was trying to figure out how this could be done without having to select every work book.
Be even better if it worked - was told it was a bug in 9.2 - but despite making these setting changes all users can see comments in 10.1.4 as well.
Zach Leber wrote:
Before upgrading from Server 10.3 to 10.4 we used Toby's technique to hide comments for all users for all projects, works fine. But then we discovered that Server 10.4 adds a server admin option to do the same thing, that would have been much easier.
At the time of the writing the latest version was 9.3 and that option wasn't available. Thanks for pointing out the newer functionality, it will save people a lot of time!