[Meta] Help me crowdsource moderation

I very rarely step in to moderate comments on the blog, because it’s very rarely necessary. But I thought it might be interesting to lay the process open for discussion.

1. Allowing a comment in the first place. WordPress allows various options for moderating comments – you can let them all go through, moderate each one individually, only allow comments from people who have signed in, etc.

My main goal is to not allow spam because I find it annoying. But once I trust someone not to spam, I don’t especially want them to have to wait for moderation to see their comments appear. So the option I picked was to get people to sign in (you can just put a spoof email address if you want, it’s for id, not because I care about your email) but once you have had a comment approved on your sign in, anything more should just go through automatically.

2. Moderating comments that have been posted. Like I say, it’s rarely been necessary. I have a few rules though, which have been unwritten until now.

  • No personal attacks. No offensive sexist/ racism/ homophobic/ group attacks. I’m probably quite lenient with these as long as comments are relevant and let people sail quite close to the wind, in the interests of lively debates.
  • let people know that their comment has been moderated, and why. If you do get a comment moderated, the offending phrase/s will be removed and replaced by something like <<moderated for racist language, please don’t do that>>
  • No dodgy links. I do check links that people put on their comments, if I’m not happy that one is kosher, it goes. And by that I mean advertising something irrelevant or looks as though it might be virus ridden. Links to relevant blogs or blog posts are great.

These aren’t up for debate, although please speak up if you do find something offensive.

Question: What about adverts which are also relevant comments?

People get smarter and sometimes I get comments which actually are relevant to the post and the discussion, but also used as adverts to link to commercial pages/ blogs. Do you want to see those comments, or would you rather that they were moderated out?


21 thoughts on “[Meta] Help me crowdsource moderation

  1. I think your moderation rules are fine. No need to change anything! Regarding your question: There is probably no good answer to this as it is up to your discretion.

    There are certain blogging tropes regarding MMOs. Especially for WoW therea are bots that can write some some 5+ lines about the state of class X that even might indeed be helpful for readers.

    If you feel it adds something, keep it – despite the advertising. If it is at least somewhat related to the topic. If not – byebye.

  2. It’s really up to you. I’m usually am signed into my wordpress account to comment so whatever you come up with i’m fine with.

    I use Disqus Comment System, that helps me a ton combined with Akismet it filters the spam and ‘smart’ ads nicely. Don’t think you can get Disqus with a wordpress.com site sadly.

  3. I think the adverts thing is best done case by case. If I link to Tobold it could be considered commercial as he has his buy me a coffee link but it’s really not trying to generate revenue and it genuinely is linking to a useful viewpoint.

    I can see a number of situations where you might link to a commercial site (eg Blizzard’s page).

    I think as the blog owner you have to judge whether the link is there because the person is trying to drive traffic only or whether the link serves a purpose in furthering the discussion.

    There’s a clear distinction still between the posts that are basically generic for any blog (“I love your post and totally agree with you and would like to continue the debate at goldfarmertrojans.com”) and posts that are actually from someone who is responding to you.

    I’d also add that I tend to be a little irritated if a comment of mine gets deleted. I quite often post to disagree with people and sometimes it’s not welcome. But if someone would rather censor me than defend their opinions I’ll drop them from my reading list pretty fast.

    • “I’d also add that I tend to be a little irritated if a comment of mine gets deleted. ”

      This is one of the reasons that I personally would always leave a note when moderating. If you don’t see that, it probably got trapped in the spam filter. It’s why I prefer editing to just removing.

      • Yup, that’s sensible. Apart from obvious spam the only comments I’ve deleted was when I upset some Eve players and got some “we know where you live” type threats.

  4. Ultimately, how you moderate your blog is up to you. I took a leaf out of Psynister’s book and allow all comments to go up unmoderated, as long as they pass the Akismet spam check.

    I don’t mind posts from developers, publishers and commercial blogs as long as they’re relevant to the discussion. If there’s no relevancy and it’s pure spam then I might remove the comment.

    One thing I’m not a fan of is editing comments – I either keep something up as is or remove it entirely. Editing other people’s words is a whole ethical nightmare I want to avoid getting dragged into.

  5. The example I am thinking of, btw, is a comment on one of my posts on the D3 auction house which is advertising a website about the D3 auction house.

    It is a valid comment which also looks as though he read the post and the other comments first. It’s really the first time I’ve not been sure, which is why I was curious to know what people thought.

    • On the comment management page, WordPress.com has added a little “X” that lets you delete the URL that a person has included with their comment, so you can now easily just snip that and leave the comment if the comment seems valid but the URL is dubious. I’ve used that option a couple of times.

    • I think in that situation, if they’ve linked to it as their website name (so their nickname gets hyperlinked) then I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

      Otherwise, I think I know the person you’re referring to. If it’s the same one he’s done similar things on my blog. I’ve let them slide but they irritate the crap out of me sometimes. Maybe I should be a little sterner.

    • Ooo, D3 opens up a new level of trickiness. Basically one of the brightest AH posters is Marcko and he fairly evidently applies the same ambitious commercialism to his blogging as he does to his in-game activities.

      Personally I’m fine with that and I enjoy his blog. I can even see myself springing for his gold guide just because the subject really interests me.

      It’s inevitable that a lot of people will copycat Marcko, especially after the game goes live and especially if people suspect he’s selling thousands of $20 gold guides plus getting clickthrough revenue from the blog plus getting money from playing the auction house.

      None of that really helps I suspect but expect to see tons of it if you write about D3 real money trading.

  6. I tend to delete the advertising comments, even if they are relevant. I despise advertising, especially in the wrong place. Comments are for discussion and input, not luring in customers. But if it was someone just linking a post that they think is relevant, without profit motive, that would be different. Why? I’m not sure.

    For deleting, I like the note idea. It’s annoying to see nothing where I expected to see a comment, and have no idea why.

  7. Random question: Do you feel that cursing is justified when it is being used to modify an argument, or emphasize a particular concept, as long as it is not intentionally (or absurdly, or unnecessarily) vulgar or intentional?

  8. I find advertising links in blog comments annoying on general principle, but if the post is relevant enough to cause uncertainty, it’s probably not worth the bother to delete it.

  9. Akismet catches the advertising comments for me, and I just delete them. I’ve never had a relevant comment with an advertising link… but if I get one, I’ll just snip the link. Easy enough. I’ve edited a couple of comments over 3 years (maybe 3 altogether) to cull some of the rougher profanity. I’ve deleted two that were personal attacks.

    I figure it’s my playground, I’ll make the rules and enforce them with an iron hand. It’s to the credit of those who do bother to leave comments that I’ve not had to moderate much at all.

  10. Oh…I guess that means me…

    …I can always have my name unlinked to my temp portfolio, if you find that offensive Spinks. My extreme apologies for that. Perhaps I should of asked first. 😦

  11. I delete negative comments aggressively. If you don’t like the link, or indeed anything else about the comment, kill the comment.

    People push the edges, test the boundaries. Clamp down early, and it keeps the next comment from being even worse.

  12. If it was a blog and/or post that is of interest and contains ads, but is not necessarily for-profit (i.e. the ads/donation are there to recoup hosting costs and maybe make a tuppence on the side, but not a major commercial outfit.)

    If it was a for-profit site (let’s say Massively, for example) but the link was relevant then my gut instinct would be to allow it, if it adds to the discussion (what are blogs for in this age if not discussion?)

    Having just said that, however, I’d personally go out of my way to delete any comments, regardless of relevance, where the user’s name and/or comment contained links to totally irrelevant, commercial website. Frankly, I think trying to set yourself up as a commenter/blogger and then having name hyperlink be “GameX Levelling Guide.com” is dishonest at best and just repugnant at worst.

    • And the first paragraph should end: I’d allow it since it adds to the discussion.

      I really should stop fooling myself into thinking I can make coherent posts at the best of times, let alone 3AM :O

  13. as a reader i hover over links, if its commercial, i don’t click it, if its another blogpost i might check it out. In general the links i click are usually in the original post and not so much in the comments. Unless phrased like, xx on xx.blogspot.com/yyy wrote …. about this topic. Links like that i tend to follow up on. Anything else doesn’t interest me as much. I preferr the more heavily modified blogs to the ones that allow rants and the like. But in the end its my responsibility to decide what link to follow. You don’t have to behave like a firewall there.

    Though granted, the blogs that do check links, edit, and try to keep relevance in their comments get more of my appreciation, mainly since you’re working as a gatekeeper and i don’t have to be as much on my toes following links. However i find myself dilligentely checking stuff before i click it anyway, so it isn’t that nescessary to put in the effort.

    One thing i do not like is goldselling / guideselling stuff. I used to be a fan of marco, untill he went and published his guide, that alone doesn’t bother me, the advertising it everywhere does. Same with alto, you can’t visit his website without getting a goldguide plug. Heck half his posts seem to be “i’m sorry, busy right now, will have a full post come sunday, but do check out , now limited time offer, only $120.000 for these 3 paragraphs of commonly known, outdated crap.

    ( sorry about that, i feel most goldguides are outdated and scams, but then, most blogposts about goldmaking are telling the rest of the world what i’m personally doing for goldmaking allready and killing my markets as a result. ) I’m sure if you are ( relatively ) new to goldmaking both contain valid and important information. Unfortunately i seem to be ahead of the curve a bit so i can’t benefit and in fact only suffer from their excistance. Guess i’m just greedy and don’t like my “secrets” exposed 😛

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