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 HoboMama.com 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 Strocel.com 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.