Friday, March 24, 2006

What to do about Unwanted Comments

Have those pesky commenters gotten you down? Sick of hearing from people you never wanted to know? Freak you out much when complete strangers say they've been browsing your photographs from half-way around the world? Well then you're either not up for this bloggin' thang, or you need to employ one or more of blogger's handy comment-control options.

But how do complete strangers, mortal enemies, and even spam-bots find my teeny little blog? you ask? That's a good question. Because of criteria meant to weed out spam sites, blogs tend to rate pretty high on search engines. Plus there's that "next blog" button up top that sometimes people use when they're really really bored. Or you could be linked by other blogs... But if you haven't bothered to set up a free Statcounter, don't expect to find out.

So what can I do about unwanted comments? Well, here are the tools blogger has given us:
  • Word Verification: About five or six months ago we were attacked by spam-bots and blogger came up with this brilliant new tool. I had seen it on other (pay) blog-sites and had started to look for a program to upload onto my own blog when *bingo* blogger came up with their own. most excellent. Have not had spam in my comments since then, and I think pretty much everyone uses it now.
  • block anonymous comments: I think it's only fair to ask people to identify themselves if they want to say something about you or your writing. Of course it's ridiculously easy to set up a blogger identity so it's not like you're asking a whole lot... but there are two problems I find here: 1) your real friends and family members might not be able to comment because they don't realize how easy it is to create a blogger identity. 2) those people who DO realize how easy it is might create a false identity so they still can't really be identified.
  • delete unwanted comments: any comment can be deleted by either the commenter or the blog owner. It's your blog; don't put up with no crap, ah-ight?
  • disable comments altogether: Makes sense if you just can't deal with the comments you are getting, but you don't want ANY feedback?
  • limit comments to team members only: this is a slightly better option than the last, IF YOU HAVE A TEAM. Which brings me to the reason I'm writing this post. Ya see, last night your dear blogger-friend reb saw that her blogger-friend Lynsey had written a new post. So after checking out the post we went to make a comment and saw that she taken this extreme action to her comment settings. I would like to know, Lynsey, how Mahesh Subramanian became a team member of your blog and NOT ME?!

But this is not the end-all of our options, as I have come here to write to Lynsey, and plead with her to instead adopt a NEW option from our beloved Blogger: enable comment moderation. That's right, blogger's come out with yet another brilliant feature that you may have seen before on other (pay) blog-sites but now you can have for your own FOR FREE! (Can I get a B! L! O! GG! ER! Oh, blogger, how I love thee...) Personally I do not employ comment moderation because occasionally my dear commenters have conversations with each other in my threads and I would not wish to discourage such things simply by being away from my desk... but the option is there, and were things to ever get a bit out of hand in my life, I might take it. I would certainly do that before I would limit comments to team members only, particularly if I did not have a team.

Just sayin'...

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