Monday, May 13, 2013

Why You Need Comment Moderation

If you read this blog regularly, chances are good you author a blog of your own. One of the decisions before you is whether or not to allow comments. If you choose to allow them, something I prefer, "comment moderation" is a must.

You never want to put yourself in a situation where someone else can leave inappropriate material on your blog. Even though you could delete the comment, you canot afford for others to see it in the mean time.

The biggest source of unwelcome comments will come from "web bots," robots which roam the web looking for blogs and leaving their comments. The comments will always be very generic and complimentary. When you read the comment, you feel good that someone has appreciated what you write. But when you read the comment more closely, you see that it would be equally applicable to any post on any blog. The comment will always include a link, taking readers to their website.

Here is one example of a comment (complete with its grammatical problem) submitted on my blog:

Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply nice and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work. My webpage [I am omitting the link].

Here is another:

I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days. Here is my homepage : [I am omitting the link].

And it looks like this person wants me to be his mentor:

Heу! I know thiѕ is somewhat οff toρіc but I wаs ωondeгing which blοg platfοrm are уou using for this ѕite? I'm getting sick and tired of Wordpress because I've had iѕsues with hackerѕ and I'm looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform. Feel free to surf my web blog [I am omitting the link].

You get the idea. The comments, together with the links they include, take my readers to their websites. "Comment moderation" is a way to combat the "web bots." With comment moderation turned on in my blog's settings, comments go to my email. I read them in my email and either approve or disapprove them. If I approve one, it appears instantly on the blog.

Another option for battling the web bots is to use a "CAPTCHA." It is an acronymn for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." We have all seen them. You are presented with a series of characters which you must correctly re-type in a little box. The CAPTCHA will stop the bots, but I do not recommend them for two reasons.

First, the CAPTCHA gives legitimate readers a hoop through which they must jump in order to leave their thoughts. The last thing I want to do is discourage thoughtful comments. I personally find when I am confronted with a CAPTCHA, most of the time, I mistype it initially. Some of them are so difficult to read, I frankly can't figure out what the characters are supposed to be.

Secondly, the CAPTCHA does not stop real people who want to leave something inappropriate. Any teacher who has taught secondary school knows that providing a way for someone to write whatever they like, and do so anonymously, is a recipe for disaster.

With comment moderation turned on, you take care of both problems with a single solution. You can't control the comments others leave, but you can control whether or not those comments appear on your blog. If you are a blogger and do not already have comment moderation turned on, I encourage you go to your settings and take care of that task today.
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