Judith Curry’s post Blog commenting etiquette makes very useful reading, except that the people who need to read it and heed it don’t. We’ve few problems in this quiet little backwater (quiet mainly due to the now ever present busyness in my day job), but let me underline one point:
“…put some effort into writing a response that adds to the conversation and/or helps the blog writer [and others]. Your comment is your calling card. The webernet is an open rolodex and as such, how you present yourself through your words will tell people whether or not they want to look you up.“
This one applies to all of us (me too), everywhere, but especially to those who comment here specifically to drive traffic to their site when the post they are directing people to is of only distantly related relevance (such as it is still on the subject of climate). I was guilty of that too in the early days of this blog but realised the error of my ways quite quickly. Equally annoying is repeatedly (comments over several posts) making a relevant comment but finding a way of transmuting it into a pet subject.
To moderate or not to moderate – that is the question?
Not necessary here in common with most small blogs and for any unruly behaviour there’s always the rule-driven Spam/Sin-Bin.
That brings me to spam itself. Most of you don’t see spam except when the odd one slips through, such as this innocuous one that appeared a few days after the site move to WordPress.
Thankfully the WordPress plugin Askimet deals with spam automatically. What you don’t realise is the magnitude of it.
The figures above are for the whole blog, but the spam comments only apply since the move to WordPress in May 2010. It used to be one or two a week, then one or two a day depending on blog traffic – high traffic posts always seeming to attract more. In the last few weeks this blog has been getting up to 50 spam comments per day, and since I don’t get to visit every day, especially when travelling, which I do often, it is a big annoyance.
WordPress allows 20 comments per Dashboard page; it used to be a minor task to check and delete them individually off one page every few days; now, particularly as the page refresh can be slow, it is becoming a chore. Thankfully there is a nice button at the bottom of the Spam Page that says “Empty Spam” and does exactly that. Poof! All gone in an instant! That’s OK as long as I’ve remembered to check content for transgressing genuine comments caught in the Spam trap (which also functions as the Sin-Bin); occasionally I forget if I am in a rush, so if you get a comment caught and it never appears – sorry! The other option would be to turn off comments altogether but then why blog.