When I started this blog, I knew very little about blogging. Not just about being a blogger but about blogs in general. I had participated in some forums but when it came to blogs, I generally read the post and moved on. To be honest, it took me a while to notice that blogs even had comment sections. To be fair they were often hidden in the blogs I read.
So, when I first started my blog, I had no idea what to expect when it came to comments. To be honest, I mostly expected that I wouldn’t get any, so I didn’t think about it at all.
To my delight, I did get one! And then I got some more and continued to get more and even started to get to new people through the comments. It was great.
For years, I kept my comment section as open as I could figure out how to make it. Anyone could post in my comments and the only rule I had is to not go after other readers. You can insult me or the post or disagree with everything, as long as you don’t attack fellow readers, I was going to leave you be.
And that worked for me for a long time.
The first incident that made me rethink this policy was when I got a troll that left somewhat unpleasant comments but worse than that, they would add links to some very suspicious sites in those comments. I can’t say for sure those were virus-laden, but they did make me suspicious. And a lot of them redirected to some very hateful stuff that I wasn’t comfortable linking to, even if it was in the comment section.
That was the first time I actually took a comment down. I didn’t like doing it but I felt it was right. And then I added the first bit of restriction to my comments. I made it so that comments with links to other sites needed to get approved manually before they got posted. Basically, they just stay in a waiting for moderation folder until I get the chance to go through them. As long as they don’t link to anything seemingly dangerous, I approve them all but I notice that a lot of people get impatient and just repost the comment without the link. Which is fine.
If you ever wonder why one of your comments disappears, it might be because you had a link in it and now it’s waiting for moderation.
And for years after that, this was more than enough t keep me happy with my comment sections.
I did occasionally get commenters that really disliked me. And I can’t pretend that it doesn’t bother me at all. But it doesn’t bother me much. Certainly not enough for me to do anything about it. And I also have this very unhealthy notion that hate comments are a sort of sign of success. For the blog to get popular enough that someone who isn’t interested at all in what I write about can still find it and take the time to comment on it, that’s something I thought I would never achieve.
I know that I’m probably adding a pretty huge pinch of wishful thinking in there but let me have this one.
So the occasional trolls and even less frequent haters came and went. I post every day and mostly reviews, it’s tough for anyone to be motivated enough to insult me on every post for very long.
I want to take a minute here to say that I have been fortunate. I think I’m fairly good at accepting unpleasant comments. Not exactly thick-skinned but not thinned-skinned either. Somewhere in the middle. A nasty comment isn’t going to ruin my day. I’m also rather privileged so there isn’t that much to punch down on. I get some sexist remarks now and then but let’s face it, I’m more than used to those and no one is ever going to make me feel bad about being a lady.
However, there are some bloggers out there who get some absolutely vile comments. Hateful rhetoric that hits home and hits hard. Stuff that can be downright frightening, even to me and it’s not directed at me. I think bloggers are perfectly justified in getting rid of those types of comments on their blogs. It’s their blogs after all. I hope I never have that type of situation myself.
Lately, I have restricted my comment section once more. I had a troll which, to be honest, I thought was fairly entertaining as far as trolls go. They would drop random comments that had nothing to do with the post or conversation here and there. I didn’t mind. It was mostly non sequitur vague insults nothing to write home about really. And I was happy to just let them rant in their little corner.
The problem is that one of my readers told them off and they were obviously just waiting for that chance. After that what I can only describe as a minor incel meltdown all in caps took place. And like I said, my one rule is to not go after the readers. I had warned them about that previously.
I could have simply banned their IP but I found that WordPress is a bit unreliable when it comes to that. I did some tests and it still let a bunch of comments through. I didn’t want to put in too much effort to pick out and moderate each comment. I do have a full-time job already, I don’t need another one. And because my comment section was open to anyone, making it possible to comment anonymously, I couldn’t simply ban the user.
So, I tried something new again. I made it so that people have to give a name and email to comment. Of course, anyone with a Gravatar account can continue to comment through Gravatar so I figured most readers wouldn’t even notice the change. But people that just randomly want to hurl an insult will now have to at least give a made-up name and go to the trouble of giving me an e-mail account. I figure that anyone who is dedicated enough to do that earned at least one comment.
Disappointingly, this very minor hurdle seems to have been enough to dissuade this latest troll and despite getting several comments a day before the change, I haven’t heard a peep from them since.
All in all, I would say this change is a net positive. Yes, I would like to encourage comments as much as possible but there’s no point in creating a toxic environment out of my own blog. I kind of wish I had done it sooner to be honest.
Do you moderate or restrict your comments? Have you had any issues since I changed my comments settings? What are your thoughts on this?
38 thoughts on “Finally Learning to Moderate My Comments”
On our blog, we don’t get many comments to begin with, but we are still a very small anime and gaming related blog. Sometimes we do get the occasional troublemaker though.
I tend to reply to every single honest comment that I can… ultimately though, I have the same ethos you do as far as people being kind to others and not attacking readers. I ignore trolls aimed at me when I can, but it does happen sometimes. If it is too nasty of a comment, I simply just take it down. It would have to be pretty bad, though.
Either way, I do feel for you… and I agree with others here, sometimes it’s best to moderate comments based upon a post-by-post basis. It does help, sometimes.
I will keep that in mind. I have been very laisser faire so far
Personally I don’t impose strict moderation rules on my comments section (before or even now), because I would individually vet through comments if necessary (I don’t entirely trust automated moderation as sometimes it doesn’t correctly gauge the intention of the commenter, like the case of some platforms which I will not mention). Though it is understandable that having restrictions on still is much more helpful for productivity and blog management like in your case, and I think it is a nice policy to have, and doesn’t really affect usual commenters.
Separately, on the note of hate/troll comments which you’ve mentioned as a case study here, I agree with that rule you mentioned. Because it is “The Internet”, the unspoken rule is to simply ignore, block and report/delete such comments as they don’t add anything to the environment. While one might be tempted to roast and beat them down in return, it only seeds unnecessary negativity and loses the whole point of the blog comment column and proper discussion/sharing in the first place.
A very mature view. One I should adopt. Feeding trolls is not productive. It is tempting at times.
I get a ton of just random spam, which WordPress nearly always redirects into the spam folder for me. I’ve received the odd hateful and/or just plain weird comment over the years, but it’s not that common, especially since I made it so that people need to leave a name and email in order to comment a long time ago. Thankfully, I’ve very rarely needed to moderate my comments – most of my readers and commenters have been great, and any criticism directed towards my posts/other comments has been constructive and not personal.
That’s great, you’ve obviously cultivated a good readership which doesn’t surprise me considering the high caliber of your posts
Didn’t bother me at all, if anything annoying the user right back was fun 😂😂🤣. I was a bit concerned about you though. Normally, I don’t see comments like that on your blog, I’m assuming the usual filter you had was working, till then. That is a bit disappointing to read, the IP ban not working. So long the new method is working that’s pretty good, as Crow and Lynn said have Askimet on for spam links and what not.
I get occasional troll and misogynic comments but all things considered, not that much. I usually get comments saying stuff like this is the stupidest thing I ever read but when I ask for details they run away.
Oddly, I don’t seem to get very many comments in the first place. Shocker, I know, for someone with a grand total of, like, two dozen views per day and half a dozen likes for my really popular posts. 😉
But seriously, I have strict rules about respecting each other in the comments, because I always try to practice that myself, and I will not tolerate any spam, ever. Simple as that. 🙂
That’s really the best way to go in my opinion. Aggressive comment sections can ruin a post for me
I remember not being able to log in for a day or two, because I needed an account to log in (wordpress, twitter, or facebook). I’d eventually have registered with WordPress, probably, but to be honest, I’m grateful I don’t have to.
Generally, having to moderate a comments section is one of the most scary things about a prospective blog. I’m… not the moderator type. I mean, I doubt I’d attract enough traffic to have to worry, but still the possibility frightens me. I’d definitely have understood a registration wall (but I’m happy I didn’t need to).
****I made it so that people have to give a name and email to comment. ****
That’s something I don’t quite understand. I’ve always had to give a name and e-mail. During that stretch, what happened was that I could no longer do so and instead was asked to log into an existing account (WordPress, Twitter, Facebook). WordPress can sometimes work in funky ways, though. It happens on occasion, for example, that I simply don’t see the reply box. Clearing cookies takes care of this, though.
If you have a WordPress account you don’t have to give any additional information.
Well you know I actually wrote you at one point because I was having issues making comments. Still don’t know what that was about, and it still happens once in a while so I think this must have something to do with some weird setting on my computer or router or something. Microshit often believes I need to be protected from things I actually want to use and then we have a little discussion about how I’m over the legal age to make my own decisions in this country. LOL. Sometimes that IS the issue, as I’ve noticed lately that nice people on the phone tend to assume that because I am so OOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLDDDDDDDDDDDD I clearly can’t use a computer, mouse, Internet, or phone. They seem to forget what generation of people INVENTED the aforementioned electronics. Sorry, off topic rant.
No one reads my blog anymore, which is understandable since I don’t write on it either. Back in the dark ages when I had many and more commercial blogs SPAM comments were really a huge problem until AKISMET came along and shut most of that down. I find your comment policy perfectly reasonable, and if anything even a bit flexible to allow people who want actual serious debate or discussion. It is a fine line there sometimes to decide if they have a legit opinion or just want to spew online but if anything i think you’ve always come down on the side of flexibility and understanding.
There are just people who will take advantage of a comment section and being a blogger with any kind of audience carries with it the responsibility for your comment section as well. That sort of sucks as it makes you responsible for other peoples (and bots!) behaviour, but it just is what it is. The only way to avoid it is to block comments altogether and then we wouldn’t get to discuss stuff like we are now so…
You did and I changed it back as soon as I got that mail. No troll is gonna stop me from getting Foovay comments. Commercial blog moderation must be a nightmare. You probably spend as much time cleaning up comments section as you spend writing posts
It was insane – especially because half of my blogs WERE p0rn or related subjects. Towards the end I turned off comments altogether, and set up a forum for my birders because I loved their comments so much – and then the forum got spammed! Unreal.
At one point I actually had the #1 bird watching blog according to Google. Yep. Bird watching. LOL. Really, you know, like robins, blue jays, not like… girls.
That’s awwesome. I just never imagined those comments would get too toxic…
Toxic wasn’t the problem there, we really had a fun little community where people talked about bird sightings and what might this bird be and so on. But even there we had people trying to SPAM with p0rn sites. (eyeroll) Seems so stupid but there you go.
Oh boy – that’s quite the clash in demographics
I actually just went yesterday and deleted all my old blogger blogs from several years ago because someone started putting SPAM comments on them with links *eyeroll* It just never ends. Sigh. We’re talking inactive blogs that were more or less personal or my artwork. yeesh. I guess they thought maybe “this is great. Come some MILF at…link” wouldn’t stand out so much in my friends comments “this is great” LOL.
I don’t get any hate comments, mostly because my blog gets comments from a few select readers. That, and at a little over a year of weekly posting, it is rather young. (Who am I kidding? No one reads my blog, let alone leave comments.)
I do get spam though, with links to shady places. By default, I do not allow anyone to link in my comments, but in future, if someone gives me some link to an article in the spirit of academic debate, I’ll allow it.
Until then, no links.
I do think that IRINA’s job is probably harder than my own, given how she gets more comments than me.
Shady links ae downright scary. I would hate to accidentally fill my readers’ computer with viruses.
((reads it all and pretends to understand))
((appreciates the effort))
I’ve only had the one troll go after me for a while and it was pretty hateful, however, they assumed I was a lesbian so I got to have a bit of fun with that. It’s not often that I get to be truly sarcastic.
Like Crow, I use Akismet to filter out the majority of spam. I do have a laugh at the comments that clearly didn’t read the post and say something generic like “well said”. Of course, if they use Gravitar there is automatically a link back to their profile and most likely their site. I do agree about removing links to sites you don’t want to link to.
At the end of the day, you’re well within your rights to remove stuff from your site, regardless of what it is. Hopefully, the majority of comments are not like that.
They assumed you were a lesbian? Because of the name Lynn and the love of well endowed characters? That’s actually kind of fun.
Yeah, I was kind of flattered really. My name gets me into all sorts of trouble.
I like the approach you’ve taken, and not just because it’s similar to mine! Your rationale makes sense, and it promotes an openness I wish we could have more of.
I use Akismet to filter out known spam. Other than that, my comment journey is similar to yours. I didn’t care if folks want to insult me because, let’s face: I can insult me better than they can. So, their attempts kind of made me laugh.
I do draw the line at attacking other readers, and at attacking people with disabilities. Someone tried to be abusive to me in a comment once, and I was about to let it slide when I noticed they also disparaged people with autism. So, into the trash bin it went.
Slamming on disadvantaged groups just cause you have a bad day is such a weak move
Sorry you had to deal with trolls like that! I do think having any comments with link go to moderation is a smart play though. 90% of trolls I’ve seen tend to have a suspect link like that. I try to check my spam box since sometimes WordPress will get a little overzealous and put some legit comments there but it’s really the way to go.
In general I let comments go in automatically and if a comment is just really bad then I’ll delete it afterwards. I don’t have too much traffic in comments beyond my usual posters though and they’re all cool. It can get a bit intense during debates but we keep it about the characters and not going into personal attacks like your rule here. If someone goes at another commentor then that’s absolutely out of bounds. I always want people to feel safe just giving their thoughts.
The strangest troll commentor I ever had was one user who would just say “nice” on every post I’d publish. It seemed harmless enough but that was literally it and he would always have the link to his blog. It felt like he was just promoting his site so ultimately I stopped letting any of his comments through.
I do get a lot of legit comments in spam as well. I have not had to delete any comments at all and I hope I can avoid that.
I kind of get you. This is the time when some people see WordPress like Reddit. I don’t know, but I’m also aware that YouTube’s comment section is being flooded by troll bots. Is there any chance that the WordPress’ comment section could also be flooded by bot-made comments?
Anyway, it’s good that you took action for your blog and your audience. Great share by the way.
For me, WP is pretty good at catching bots and sending them straight to the comments trash section. In fact a little too good and I have legitimate comments get stuck there from time to time. But hey, the internet is always going to attract trolls. I just have to figure out how to deal with it eventually
I actually had a minor panic when you changed your comment settings awhile back. For whatever reason my account would not link to your comment section so I had to manually input it for a bit. It’s fixed now, but I went ahead and double checked everything on my end.
I’m lucky that my blog really doesn’t attract too many comments. I did learn the hard way that if I’m not open to a discussion on a certain topic, despite opening the floor for that, I shouldn’t have comments enabled. So I did eventually disable comments entirely on that post. Live and learn!
You can disable comments on a post by post basis!?! That’s actually super useful information. Man I don’t know much about blogging…
You can! I’d have to dig around to figure out how I did it, but you can disable it on just select post(s) of your choosing. Took me ages to figure out myself lol.