Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who Deserves to Comment?

Today's post is really a simple question that I am interested in answering. What level of moderation should a blog, this one in particular, have when it comes to who is allowed to post comments?

The simple answer is whatever I want, it is my blog, but I want to dig a little deeper. What has spurred this question was a recent attempt by me to post on another blog. My post was going to be a compliment, but I was unable to post since I was not a follower of that particular blog. My first impression was that this was a means to force people to become followers so that the blogger could increase his follower count. My second thought was that it may just be them really wanting to restrict who comments so that any feedback received is from folks who legitimately care about the content/discussion.

Reflecting on my own blog, I like to know who is posting, but don't feel like I should force anyone to follow me just to share feedback. At the same time though, sometimes I feel like the feedback received is more about pushing that person's agenda and not supporting what I am trying to achieve with my blog. A great example of this was the first comment I received for the first Monday Match-up. Basically it was a generic statement and a comment to visit another blog to get tactics on orks.

So readers, what do you think? How do you moderate who posts on your blog? Should freedom of speech rein, or should the privilege of commenting be an exclusive club?


  1. Do you think that requiring someone to be a member in order to comment will increase the number of followers you have? Will it increase it enough to offset those non-followers who are discouraged from posting? Even if so, what real benefit do you get from someone who follows your blog (does it necessarily mean that they read it)?

    Considering these things, I doubt it's a good idea to require people to be followers in order to comment. Actually, I'd take it a step farther and wonder if what the real value of even having a CAPTCHA image (or whatever it's called) on your site. Does it block that much spam?

    I'm not sure what features blogger's comment system has, but Wordpress has a basic anti-spam feature called aksimet which seems to do a great job at blocking all purely spam comments. Before I switched to Disqus, I went with this and was quite happy. The only level of moderation I used was to require the first post from any user to be approved by me before going live, which also seemed to work. I figure if someone leaves a legitimate comment once, the rest are probably likewise fine.

    People do get touchy about cross-linking in blog posts, but I don't really see why. If it helps the community as a whole, it's good for the blog. Well, at least that's how I feel about it...

  2. Great question. As you know, I'm an old fart. I came of age in the late sixties and was in college during the "Days of Rage" in the early seventies. I'm a fan of free speech.

    Having said that, posting a comment on a blog needs to be aimed at the content and concerns of the blog, not a thinly veiled attempt to drive readers to another website.

    So from my perspective, a blog isn't an exclusive club, unless so stated up front. And the blog owner has a responsibility to monitor postings in such a way as to promote the content interests of the site, including I might say language, civility, and content appropriateness.

    I don't want to read comments on this or any other blog that use disrespectful language in order to try to drive me to a weight-loss website (because someone might think that most gamers are in need of such advice).

    So there.

  3. i run a couple of sites and I almost always limit posting. Reason being that when I first started up my groups forum and sites, you get people posting who are selling or pushing thier own sites/products. I do not have a problem with this if it related to gaming but I do when it has nothing to do with the subject matter on the site.

    Not to mention the people who come on just to troll and abuse people. So i have always forced people to join to post comments.

    Doing this did stop most of that from happening on the pages I run.

  4. Personally I had problems with spammers who kept posting links to dodgy chinese websites... as being part of FTW is being suitable for children, I was always quick to delete such comments, but it was happening with annoying regularity. Requiring someone to be a follower wouldn't help there, as the person could click follow then still post their dodgy links...

    In the end I, with heavy heart, went for screening. All comments have to be approved by me before they appear on the blog. I endeaver to publish as quickly as possible, and will even publish if someone is critical of what I do and say, I'm more than happy to debate. On the bright side once the spammers realised what I'd done the dodgy link comments dried up swiftly anyway.

    As for the followers thing, if people wish to become followers of my blog I'd much rather they choose to do it than have their hand forced. At least then I know they're genuinely interested. I will build up my follower numbers by writing an interesting blog that people want to read. Any other way would just be fooling myself.

  5. I allow anyone to post but I had the same problem with spammers, so I moderate every message.

  6. @Warhammer 39999 - Funny thing about your post was that Blogger marked it as spam and I had to approve it. Alannis Morrisette is singing in the background.

    I admit that when all someone does is post a link to their site and say to go there that I find it real annoying. Such attempts are not growing the community in my opinion, just someone self promoting.