Thursday, December 3, 2009

A poll for commenters: Let me know what you prefer!

Germans Go To The Polls In Federal Elections
There is a new poll in the sidebar to the right, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

As I've been trying to get better about reading and commenting on other writers' blogs, it's made me evaluate how easy it is for readers to comment on mine.

Early on, I made the decision to allow anonymous users to comment, as well as people who wished to log in to platforms other than Blogger (such as through OpenID), to make sure that as many people as possible had access, including people who had no online identity or who wished to keep their identity secret.

I also very quickly decided that I preferred not to use comment moderation, where a comment comes to me to be approved or rejected before it posts, mostly because I found that there was a significant lag before I was apprised of pending comments, and I didn't like that commenters were waiting around for their comments to be posted.

More recently, I made one final tweak: I took off word verification. This makes it easier for you to post a comment in one fell swoop (well, assuming you're already logged in or verified), without having to type in a fiddly coded word.

However, the result, I guess of that last change or of the changes in aggregate, is that I've been getting increasing numbers of spam comments. It's not so many per day that I can't deal with them by deleting as they crop up, but it's a nuisance to me.

I'm wondering if it's a nuisance to you, too.

So I thought I'd make a little poll, if you'd be so kind, to answer my curiosity about how you feel about leaving comments.

The poll is set up to allow multiple answers, so check the box next to anything you agree with. I don't know if it's the kind of poll that logs your IP address and will allow you to vote only once, but there's really no reason for ballot-box stuffing, is there?

Some of the questions might vary depending on which site is asking. When in doubt, answer according to your behavior commenting on in particular.

If you can't be bothered with polls, just ignore and go about your merry way! But if you have an opinion about the options, please do share it, and feel free to add in any comments to go more in depth about your choices.

If you want to know why I'm asking what I'm asking, read on. If not, just vote your gut!

To explain the poll options, I'm asking how you feel about:
  • Allowing anonymous commenters — Are you one? Most spammers are anonymous, so I want to make sure I wouldn't be excluding a lot of legitimate commenters if I required some sort of login (such as OpenID or a Google account). That might be the easiest way to cut out most spammers if my legitimate commenters don't mind having some form of verified account. There are two types of spammers: those who are some form of robot, and those who are commenting only to promote a commercial site; requiring ID would stop only the former, but those are usually the more obtrusively offensive comments.
  • Word verification — This is those funny words Blogger makes you type in before you can click "submit." My take on it is a little complex, but in general, the less the better, in my opinion. I think the Blogger fake-o words are actually kind of funny, but I absolutely detest Captcha and those boxes that look like color-blindness tests. In general, if I'm on a blog where I'm writing one thoughtful comment after reading a longish post, I don't care if I have to type in a word to prove I'm not a robot, as long as it doesn't mess up the posting of the comment through some bugginess (which sometimes happens). On the other hand, when I enter giveaways (giveaway sites, take note!), word verification really bogs down the process of leaving a succession of quick comments. That's why I chose a pop-up window format for comments, too, because word verification in the embedded style adds an extra page load, and having the comments on a separate page means it's harder to reference the article as you're commenting. But I've noticed a wide range of styles on others' blogs, so I'd love your input, because I know some people have strong feelings one way or the other.
  • Comment moderation — This is where I have to manually approve comments. I'd rather not do this, but I've noticed that most of the spam comments are on less recent posts. I've currently got moderation set to 60 days, but that still lets a lot of trash through. How often do you comment on older posts, and at what range would you notice the effect of moderation: 2 months back, 1 month, 2 weeks? Does moderation bother you, or do you not crave instant confirmation that a comment posted like I do?
  • Receiving spam — This relates to whether or not you check the little box that emails you whenever a comment thread is updated. Do you? If you do, then you'll receive any unmoderated spam comments. Does this or would this bother you, or do you just delete them without worrying about it? I hate knowing yucky ads were sent out to my readers, but I don't know how icky you feel about being on the receiving end. If it's a huge annoyance for my legitimate readers and commenters, then I should try to clamp down more strenuously on the possibility of spammers.
  • Not caring at all — Are you wondering why on earth I'm even writing this post or creating this poll? Do you always lurk and never comment? Let me know, by voting in a poll to tell me I'm overthinking everything!
  • CommentLuv — This is a bonus question. I experimented awhile back with adding CommentLuv, which is a service that pulls out a commenters' most recent blog posts from their feed, assuming they've entered a valid blog URL into the comment ID boxes. If you're into commenting, you've probably seen it around, and it's kind of nifty. (Amber's is an example of a blog that has CommentLuv successfully enabled.) I like it as a reader, because seeing the titles of other commenters' latest posts prompts me to click over and read their blogs, and I like it as a blogger who comments, because it opens the possibility that others will do the same when they see my most recent post. Is this something that would appeal to you, if you have a blog? Would you comment more if CommentLuv were enabled, because of the gratification of seeing your post highlighted? What if CommentLuv ended up being really buggy and awful to work with? I only ask, because I had to take it down when the previous version wasn't playing well with Blogger. I'm willing to give it another go, but I thought I'd see if there's any encouragement for me to do so.

Thanks for voting! Please feel free to leave comments if you want to explain or add to your answers.

For instance, you might tell me your top preference for how I go from here: Do I leave things as they are, spammers be darned to unholy heck? Do I disable anonymous commenting and require at least OpenID? Do I add back word verification? And/or do I enable comment moderation on posts older than X days or on all posts?

I appreciate all your comments, and I now appreciate your comments on your comments! It's all so very meta.

I couldn't even decide whether to place the poll in my sidebar or in this post, but I demurred at creating a poll to ask your opinion on that, too. So, it's over there in the sidebar, until it closes.

P.S. I'm almost hoping this post gets a bunch of spam comments, because wouldn't that be freakin' hilarious? I'd leave them up, too. Are you listening, spambots & marketeers? Here's the post for you!
P.P.S. I've posted my comment policy here (scroll to the section titled "Comments") if you want to know what it is.

Photo courtesy Sean Gallup/Getty Images. All rights reserved.
I chose a real election picture to make this look
more official-like, so this is a German woman voting.
Naturally, I chose the babywearing photo!


Dionna said...

You didn't have an option for "comment moderation is always ok" - I would have checked that. It's your perogative :)
The way my comments are set up is that I have to approve anyone who comments for the first time, then my site assumes the person is safe. It's been a good way to keep the spam off and isn't necessarily taxing for me (since I'm going to read them anyway).

Lauren Wayne said...

Is that option on Wordpress? I don't see it for Blogger, but I would definitely take it if it were offered. Maybe they'll add it someday.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that there are as many options on Blogger as on Wordpress.

I will say this - I am pretty unlikely to comment on a post that is more than a week or so old. It's just how I roll. Also, the way that I comment will not change based on if you moderate or use word verification or what-not. Either is fine, although as a commenter easier works better for me, I do understand if you need to complicate things to avoid nuisance comments.

Missy said...

teehee! when i saw this post i thought "wow.. she just doesn't know what to do with herself now that she's done with NaNoWriMo..."

anyway.. i think anon commenters are good. not everyone has an account to use.. and i know i hate clicking to comment on something and i have to sign up for an account.. grr!

the word verification doesn't bug me so much, but i'd rather there be none. the pop-up doesn't matter to me either.. i usually just right click and open the link in a new tab.

the comment moderation is up to you because you're the one that has to do it!

if i comment i always get email follow-ups because you usually comment back and that's so nice! i dont mind receiving spam at all.. it hasn't happened to me, but if it did i'd just hit delete.

you ARE overthinking all this :)

and i'm not sure about the commentluv.. sounds sort of interesting, but also sounds like a bit of a hassle if it was buggy last time.

completely unrelated:
when i was little my mom made us all baby carriers for our baby dolls.. today my son was carrying his baby doll around in one of them and it was the cutest thing ever and it made me think of your giveaway.. you should make a mini mei tai for your son! maybe that piece of fleece that's leftover from the pattern could be made into one?

Daddy Forever said...

Interesting survey. I use a spam plugin for WordPress to deal with spam comments.

Lisa C said...

Yes, Wordpress has the option of approving commentors the first time they comment and then remembering them once they are approved. No logging in, no word verification, AND...NO SPAM! May be one of my favorite things about Wordpress.

Lisa C said...

Okay, so let me add that while I think OpenID is great in theory, my experience with it is that it's a pain in the butt (for me, the one commenting) because it doesn't remember my info, and then I have to submit it like three times before it goes through! (Not just one your blog, but all the blogs I've tried it with). So I use my blogger account that I created just to comment on blogger blogs.

I detest spam, but I haven't seen any yet in your comments, so you must be on top of deleting them. I think it's good to allow anonymous comments (even though I think they are annoying--I'd rather someone make up a name than leave no name at all), because you don't want to leave people out. Word verification is only mildly annoying to me. It's one extra step, I love it when it's not there, but if you need to use it, then I understand. It will not prevent me from commenting.

Anonymous said...

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Lauren Wayne said...

Missy: I'm going to assume you're reading this, since you said you subscribe to follow-ups. :) I was just going to say that your idea for a mini-mei tai for dolls was brilliant, and I was totally going to make one for Christmas and then got lazy, etc. But I will definitely try to do one at some point, along with a little tutorial in case other people want to make one for their kids! It's the perfect use for the leftover fleece — you're right.

All right, that's all. I will post results soon! Thanks to you all for commenting & voting! It's given me a lot of insight into what will be best.

Missy said...

oh shoot! i forgot all about that.. i got my nephew a baby doll for christmas and was wishing i'd had time to make him a carrier.. i probably could have.

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