By October 22, 2008

New comments policies

I have to moderate posts from new visitors the very first time they make a comment. Once their initial comment is approved, they can post as much as they want. So far, this has worked out okay, and no one has abused the comment functionality.

I use the Akismet plug-in for WordPress, the blogging software Gibberish uses. It blocks most of the automated spam, but I still get about five or six comments a day that I have to manually mark as spam.

Over the last three months, I have been getting a new type of semi-spam comment. A comment will appear for moderation, and it looks like a real comment. In fact, it might be a real comment. The poster will comment about a game I’ve reviewed, or a product, or about riding my motorcycles. I even approved one once, only to find the poster commenting on random things that I wrote months or a year ago.

Then I started looking at the Web site addresses the poster used as part of their identification. It changed from post to post, but it always advertised a gateway for a product. It wasn’t a store or e-tailer. It wasn’t another blog. It was a gateway designed to appear high in search results by keyword bombing popular terms. They also get higher rankings by being linked to by other sites — such as in a blog’s comment section. A search engine like Google searches Gibberish, picks up the gateway Web address via the poster’s name, and boom the gateway site goes up in Google’s rankings.

To a lesser extent, have not approved comments from people who were just out to troll. I don’t mind people who have a different opinion from mine, but a dissenting comment has to at least add value to the post. “You are stupid” may be true, but it does not add anything to the discussion.

So, here are some new policies on comments:

  1. Unless we have an existing business relationship (typically, if I have purchased something from them in the past), businesses will not be allowed to make posts specifically to promote their product or business.
    e.g., “Great review on the Kel-tec PF-9. Check out my handgun holsters” is not okay.
  2. Unless we have an existing business relationship (typically, if I have purchased something from them in the past), comments made by posters who put a business URL in their user information will be marked as spam.
    e.g., “Building railroad systems across the nation in dim lantern light, ah the good old days! Shoot, I was stuck with candles on this last power outtage. I knew they made handcrank radios but had no idea they made handcrank lanterns. I’m waiting for solar powered lanterns!” posted by someone who linked to a random page about bar decor.
  3. Comments that reference a search result gateway or portal will not be approved and will be marked as spam.
  4. Comments that are pure trolls will not be approved and deleted.
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1 Comment on "New comments policies"

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  1. Tommy says:

    I used to have a similar problem at my site and I understand what a pain moderating every single comment can be so I offer these helpful hints that made moderating comments MUCH easier.

    Step 1- stop posting

    Step 2- people stop reading

    Step 3- cry because you are unloved

    These are steps that helped me through my crisis, I hope they are helpful to you!

    p.s. I really just wanted to type “U R DUM!” but I thought you might hit me.