Are Your Comment Settings Making It Harder For Readers To Comment?

Leaving a comment on a blog post should be simple process. Trouble is that’s often not the case!

As a blogger you need to make it really easy for your readers to leave comments. Unfortunately many bloggers don’t realise their blog’s settings hamper the commenting process. So let me share my comment pet peeves to help you make it easier for your readers to comment (this post was inspired by Claire Thompson’s excellent Comment Pet Peeve post).

# 1 Registered Users Only Allowed to Comment

Image of Log in comment

The words “You must log in to post a comment” means the blogger is only allowing registered users of the blog to comment i.e. each user must be manually as a user (using the User Tab) for them to be able to comment.

There are probably some valid reasons why bloggers have their blog set to only registered users of your blog allowed to comment. But for a reader it’s really frustrating when you know you can add to the conversation but you can’t leave a comment.

This will happen if you tick Users must be registered and logged in to comment in your General Options Tab. Don’t use this setting if you want anyone to be able to comment!

Image of registered user setting

#2 Only allow people with Blogger or Google accounts to comment

Image of blogger settingBlogger makes it really easy for people who use Blogger to leave comments but harder for people who use other blogging platforms.

Why? Well when I leave a comment I want to link my name to my blog so people can easily check it out if they want to.

The default setting when you set up a blog with Blogger is only allow people with Blogger or Google accounts to comment. If you use this setting it means when I leave a comment my name is linked to my blogger blog (which I don’t want it to) and I have to manually add my blog name under my comment using HTML.

Claire’s Comment Pet Peeve post explains how to change your setting in blogger to allow anyone to comment.

Image of Blogger informationHave to say my other peeve with blogger is most other blogging platforms remember your user information if you’ve previously posted a comment on that blog but blogger doesn’t unless you use blogger. Which means each time I have to add my name and blog URL.

#3 Comment Moderation

Comment moderation means your comment must be approved by the blogger before the comment is displayed. I’m not a fan of comment moderation because:

  1. Occasionally I get caught out and aren’t sure if the comment is being moderated or it’s failed to post
  2. Slows down the conversation and if several readers post comments at the same time you have no idea what the others have said

While there are some valid reasons for moderating comments in most circumstances my personal belief is it’s better not to moderate comments (UPDATE: Please take the time to read the readers comments as many raised very valid reasons why you would moderate comments).

Edublogs default settings for new blogs is to moderate comments for readers who haven’t commented on your blog previously (once approved further comments by the same reader aren’t moderated).

The image below shows the default settings:

Image of Comment moderation

Change default settings so comments aren’t moderated at all by:

  1. On your blog dashboard, go to Settings > Discussion
  2. Remove tick from Comment author must have a previously approved comment
  3. Click Save Changes at bottom of page

Image of changing comment moderation setting

NOTE:

While I personally don’t recommend comment moderation on most blogs I think comment moderation (by the teacher) is good practice on student blogs.

Your Thoughts

These are my main comment pet peeves (except for those anti-spam words that have attitude!). What are your main comment pet peeves? What are your thoughts on comment moderation?

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider Subscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

57 Responses

  1. Ken Allan says:

    My Goodness Sue, you’ve done it again!

    Yet another splendidly informative posting. I’ll be using your techniques ;-)

    I’ve altered my Blogger settings, thanks. I will expect to see the comments pouring in :-)

    Hmm.

    I wondered about all this at various times when accessing other blogs. Any other helpful suggestions about Blogger settings would be Gr8!

    Ka kite ano
    Blogger in Middle-earth

  2. Elona says:

    Sue,
    Great post. It made me examine why I chose to moderate the comments on my blog.

    I guess I was afraid that someone would say something inappropriate, but after almost two years of blogging that has only happened once.

    Now I go get lots and lots of spam and a small portion gets through and is waiting for me to approve it. So, if I decided against comment moderation I guess that the spam would appear.

    I don’t want that to happen because it would be annoying to everyone- me as well as visitors to my blog. Imagine having to wade through spam.

    I think that I’ll respect the visitors to my blog by checking the box that says a commenter must have a previously approved comment, or maybe I should ask for an anti spam word, but I don’t know how to do that. Perhaps you could show us and then I would choose that option.

    thanks

  3. dogtrax says:

    As you know, I am mulling over my moderation methods (nice alliteration, eh?)
    So, your post here is helpful.

    My pet peeve is one you list: the Google/Blogger one, in which you must be part of their umbrella to comment. I do have a Blogger account, which is just an empty vessel so that I can comment on these blogs, but that seems foolish.

    Thanks for your tutorial (again)
    Kevin

  4. Sue,
    I moderate first time comments, but only because enough spam gets through to make me want to keep doing it. As a business I really don’t want inappropriate things posted on my blog for even a few hours. To me that would send a message that I wasn’t being careful enough with security and things like that.

    If I had a personal blog, I think I would be less concerned. My sense is people are much more forgiving with those.

  5. Claire Thompson says:

    Hi Sue, thanks for linking to my post :-) I’m definitely going to have to re-think my settings. Right now I have ‘Comment Author Must Have A Previously Approved Comment’ selected. I like it in that I’m alerted when I have a brand new commenter, but if it is a deterrent for others to comment then I’m missing out.

  6. Sue, I may be the lone voice in the woods here but I wouldn’t consider turning off comment moderation for even one minute. Spam is insidious!!! Except for our Space Station Project where we designed the collaborative learning environment ourselves, all of my project blogs run on WordPress with the Akismet Spam plugin running in the background. Akismet is pretty good – 432 pieces of spam caught on four project blogs yesterday alone! Yet I still find seemingly innocuous messages linking back to very inappropriate sites sitting in the moderation queue. I don’t want to take any chances of having my work linked with those sites as the RSS feed propagates its way throughout the blogsphere. I’m online 24/7, (sometimes it feels that way), so it’s easy for me to quickly deal with the moderation queue. This is my last line of defense!

    • sweeneyblogs says:

      Another thought to limit spam access would be to take your blog out of “public view” (Under Settings>Privacy)

  7. Cathy Nelson says:

    Sue–my goodness, you may have just sold edublogs on MANY blogger devotees! Nice and helpful post. Glad to report I was in line with all except moderation. The educator who likes her job just can’t fathom not moderating. Thankfully I’ve never lost a comment to a long que in moderation.

    Here’s a feature I’d like to see. I would like to see a tick for emailing the commenter when you “comment” back. (Not the same as ticking email me of follow up….) For a long time I though Doug Johnson of the Blue Skunk Blog had this feature in his blogging platform, because i always got an email of his comment back if I commented on a post he wrote. I finally asked, and he said no special feature, just good manners is why the email came….LOL.

  8. Sue–another great post that helps newbies like me. I didn’t realize that my settings were preventing comments, or at least preventing anonymous ones. So, I’ve changed my settings and I’m waiting for the comments to roll in as I try to follow Michelle Martin’s tips on why people aren’t commenting on your blogs.

    Sarah
    ps–Technorati still hates me. Why?

  9. Thanks Sue for your strong opinions ;-]

    i have a personal blog with google/blogger, and recently i’ve turned on the comment moderation, because all i’m getting in the way of comments is ads from registered google users (spam really, but individually keyed in).

    (You can allow anonymous comments under the blogger umbrella, i’m sure .. and haven’t they just upgraded to allow OpenID as well?)

    With my work-related blog, i use wordpress, so the spam protection is much stronger. Still i’ve never had enough comments to need moderation. And i’m such a half-hearted blogger anyway.

    i agree with Diane about the RSS feed for comments .. you can delete pseudo-spam that gets through .. but it remains in the feed.

    Very thought-provoking post, the issues have plenty of grey shades. (and yes, i am planning to switch to wordpress, and halve the number of neglected blogs.)

    thanks, michael

  10. Sue Waters says:

    @Ken Glad my post has helped you again :) . Its good to see you get into blogging and enjoying the Comment Challenge. I’ve sent an email with some links for you to check out that should help re your other questions.

    @Elona I can totally understand concerns about spam as my podcast site is being massively hit daily by spam and the company doesn’t seem able to sort it out. The good news for people using Edublogs is the antispam plugin catches most of the spam. You are using WordPress self hosted which is slightly different from using WordPress on Edublogs (as we can only use the plugins that come with an Edublogs blog). You need to check out what plugins are worth installing.

    @Kevin (Dogtrax) I hope that people sharing their thoughts on the pros and cons of comment moderation. One option with blogger is to edit your profile so that when someone clicks on your link it tells them the location of your blog (wish blogger just made it easier for us).

    @Christine Good point as why its worth moderating first time comments especially on professional blogs. You use self hosted WordPress — are you able to suggest to Elona which plugins would help her with Antispam?

    @Claire When I first started blogging I had an experienced blogger caught out by the moderation of first time commenters. Since then I’ve not moderated comments. I’ve not had problems (yet) with inappropriate comments but do have issues with spam links.

    @Diane I don’t think you are the lone voice regarding comment moderation. Plus its important that you shared the reasons why you moderate comments because they are Very valid reasons. I’d rather we debated the issues because its important to make an informed choice based on the pros and cons.

    @Cathy Its a shame that we have to worry about inappropriate comments by readers causing us to lose our job. But definitely is another valid pro for moderating comments. I’d really love to see a tick for easy emailing the comment — Typepad looks like it uses it.

    @Sarah I would also recommend you read my Here’s My First Five Tips For Writing Better Blog Posts — What Are Yours? plus readers tips in the comments. Commenting is a mixture of the types of blogs your write, the blogging skills you use to make it easier for people to read your posts and provoke response but building your blog’s community.

    Wow never seen a 403 Forbidden on Technorati. The good news is Technorati isn’t just doing this to you. Appears to be an issue with Blogspot blogs recently. Here is technorati’s response:

    Hello all,

    It does seem there was something amiss with Blogspot blogs recently. All looks to be in order now. If you initiate a ping to Technorati, we should be able to reindex your blog and pick up your title successfully again. Thanks for using the forum!

    Technorati Support

    SO I suggest you log into technorati and click on ping to ping your blog. I’m finding I am having to ping my blog each time I write a new post.

    @Michael Yes I’ve noticed in the past few days blogspot blogs having some issue with spam (may be similar to the problems that I have on podomatic). At least on our blogs its an easy process to delete spam comments whereas it isn’t on podomatic.

    Good point about deleted comments still showing in the comment feed and email notifications. And if there was concerns of inappropriate comments I would definitely turn on comment moderation. Totally agree with you that there are plenty of grey shades in these issues. I’m going to edit my post to state “my personal belief is I don’t recommend comment moderation however please refer to the readers comments as many have raised very valid reasons why you would moderate comments”.

  11. Ken Allan says:

    @Sue – Thanks for the links. I will peruse them when I’ve written my blog policy!
    ;-)

    Ka kite

  12. inpi says:

    @Sue Waters and @Everyone, thank you for all these important information and reflections.
    “I didn’t realize that my settings were preventing comments” – neither did I, so I have already turned off that option.
    I didn’t even know about the urgency of using anti-spam akismet.
    for “you can delete pseudo-spam that gets through…but it remains in the feed.”
    I’ll return to my blog and I’ll do it; I understand I must find my API key first.
    By the way, I’ve tried to embed the new 08badge for K12Online 08 conference, but it didn’t work on my blog; I’ll also try with Comment Challenge badge; perhaps it will only work if I become an edublogger’s supporter, which is ok with me.
    As for comment moderation, after reading all different reasons pro and con, I decided to keep moderation as it was set by default.
    I notice first names at the bottom of comments; I should read about “etiquette” before commenting; any way, my first name is Ines and it is a pleasure to be with you.

  13. Marie says:

    Great post as usual Sue. I think the wost anti-spam I have come across is at yahoo … sometimes I have to scroll through half a dozen or so to get it right; don’t know why they make it so hard; the letters are merged together and hard to differentiate.

  14. Marie says:

    Just as I was thinking of removing the moderator check, I received an inappropriate message on my blog … so seems safest to keep moderation going.

  15. Comments are the best feedback you can get for your postings. If you make it easier for people to comment on your blog, it will add more content to your blogs and make it interactive.

  16. Pam Thompson says:

    Great info Sue. However, I do moderate comments as my blog is a class blog and my students access it regularly. Given the controversy re. blogging here in SA recently my principal was keen to have all comments come through me first.

    I also received an inappropriate comment , supposedly from one of my own students, but which on further investigation was found to be from a student in another school on our blogroll. It was fairly personal and would have been embarrassing if it had appeared on the blog.

  17. Doug W. says:

    To piggy back on Cathy Nelson’s comment, the decision about whether to moderate the blog is often not a decision at all, but dictated by board of education policy. There are very strict rules from my district about my 5th grade blog, especially about privacy issues and protecting children. Some parents were quite skeptical about the whole enterprise, but I explained that one purpose was to teach students how to enter the discussion in a safe way.

    Since I’m also using the blog as a writing tool, moderation allows me to work with students on editing and revising.

    Finally, I’ve been able to open up the discussion a bit by inviting other schools, a school where I taught in Denmark, and other individuals to participate. It’s all about compromise and age appropriateness. I believe that as my students get older, they’ll have the tools to venture out on their own to participate in broader discussions, but they’ll have learned to do so in a responsible and safe manner.

  18. Grace says:

    I am new to edublogs and I am thoroughly enjoying the environment it has helped me create with the teachers i work with. However, I have one fairly important function that I cannot make use of that would make a world of difference to the way we respond to each other:

    I would like people to be able to “comment to a comment” as well as “comment to a post.” I find that this makes for more personalized conversations – and saves the writer from having to refer to what they are referring to in their post. In other words, I would like comments to nest within each other somewhat like folders do.

    If my edublog site could do this, I would use it instead of our school website! Or maybe I am missing a setting somewhere that would allow this? Thanks for the continued support!

  19. Sharon says:

    Sue, I am just learning to build a blog, which will be used by my students in the fall. I have to moderate or my school won’t approve my having a blog. I will check out whether they would be okay with the first time comment by itself, but I suspect they will want full moderation.

    Thanks for your valuable posts. I have never even read blogs before and this has been a fascinating experience for me. I can’t wait to see how my students react.

  20. ker22 says:

    Useful information for a first time blogger, thanks.

    Just wondered….when someone leaves a comment can they add an attachment anyhow? This would be really useful to me as students could post their work for others to comment on.

  21. testing321 says:

    Personally I use SpamKarma2 to auto review each new comment, the ones that don’t appear spammy go live right away and the ones that appear spammy are held back for human moderation, so far I have not had a spam comment slip past SK2 nor have I had SK2 hold back a legit comment.

  22. Mrs. B says:

    I have a question hopefully someone can answer. Before the design of Edublogs was changed, I could edit a student’s response before approving it. I know that this opens up another whole can of worms……whether you should or shouldn’t do that. I did it when we first began our journey into blogging, then slowed down, showed the students how to do it, and did some together. Then I required them to do it. However, it is now summertime for us and I still have a few students contributing to our classroom blog. YEA!!! But, I can’t just say, “Hey, I need you to go in and edit your comments for spellling/grammar mistakes before posting….” So, is there a way for me to edit for her? I am afraid that if I don’t approve soon, it may discourage her from posting.
    Okay, go ahead and offer up your thoughts on editing a student’s comments before approving…..(But before you do, please know that I am “skirting” district policy in using the blog altogether, so I don’t want to do anything that would get me shut down!)

  23. superstar101 says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  24. hlnews says:

    Any ideas to get more blog readers? I sent tons of E-Mails but to no responce! Please Help.

  25. mrscunningham says:

    Hi Sue,
    so here is a question how do I track my comments? Whilst exploring your site I came across a blog that was really interesting, and consequently left a comment. However as luck would have it the dam computer went oooopsie daisie !!! and all my favourites were deleted. I have no idea how to get back to the blog and since I have no record of where I commented….=(

    Silvana

  26. nkane says:

    Mrs. B. — I totally agree! Sometimes my students write a great response except for one brutally misspelled word. When I had editing privileges, I could easily fix it. Or, sometimes a student would view his/her post and realize that something was incorrect and email, asking me to edit (which I was happy to do). More often, I am the culprit — responding to a response and hitting “send” before I have done my own proofreading (an embarrassment for an English teacher)! So, I’d love to see that function return.

  27. Sue Waters says:

    @Marie Ultimately everyone has to make their own decision on whether to moderate comments or not based on taking the pros/cons into account.

    @Constructive Comments I agree

    @Pam, Doug and Sharon My feelings towards comment moderation is different depending on the type of blog. Student and class blogs I would definitely moderate comments for exactly the reasons you specify. As you point out Doug often school policies have to be consider and I encourage all educators to make sure they have checked them.

    @Grace At the moment we don’t have the option to comment back to a comment within a discussion thread like you can with Discus. However I will pass this feedback on.

    @ker22 Unfortunately you can’t add an attachment to a comment but you can link to another site. What about getting your students to write it as a post and obtaining comments from other students that way?

    @Mrs B and @nkane You can still edit comments. It did take me time myself to work out how to do this. When you are inside your dashboard in the Manage Comments click on the person’s username (at the top of the comment) and that will take you to the area where you can edit the comment.

    @hlnews Hard question regarding blog readers. Unfortunately it takes time to build up your readers.

    @Mrs Cunningham I use both co.mment and cocomment. Not sure if I responded to your question by email. Do you want me to provide links to the posts on how to use?

    • dausten says:

      @Sue Waters,

      Hi Sue,

      The info re:Settings – Discussion has helped my clear up a number of questions (received 150 e-mails after a I set up a literature blog for our school that another teacher is moderating!). I was able to follow your directions and make changes that will meet out needs.

      Glad to hear that you will pass along Grace’s request above ( the ability to comment to a comment). This would seem to make conversations more organic.

      Thanks again for the fine work…

      Deidre

      • Sue Waters says:

        @dausten, Glad that information helped.

        Threaded comments are feature but only on Pro blogs. Depending on what theme you are using determines how you activated the threaded comments. The three Premium themes you need to use Settings > Discussion and then enable threaded comments.

        For all other themes you need to go to Plugins > Installed and activate threaded comments plugin.

  28. Claire Thompson says:

    @hlnews best advice I got to increase numbers of people reading my blog is to leave good comments in a lot of places. Not just the “great post” variety and not “check out my blog”. Leave good comments, interact with other commenters and chances are people will start checking out your blog. Oh, and write stuff that’s interesting to others ;-)

    Are you using Google Analytics to see how many people are visiting your site? Only a small percentage of people who visit will leave comments; Analytics lets you see how many are actually visiting, which posts they’re reading etc. Sue has a good post on how to use Analytics.

  29. ahparker says:

    Sue,

    I have read all of these as well as your information. My search was for marking a comment as spam. Does this prevent that user from getting on the site again? The reason I am asking is that I am trying to make this safe for teachers. If a student writes an inappropriate comment, if it is deleted then they can write again. What if it is spammed?

    Thanks,
    Amy

  30. Sue Waters says:

    @Amy (ahparker) Must understanding is “Mark As Spam” is designed to work when you have activated your Akismet plugin. You can read more about Askimet here. The other option is to add the students name to your blacklist (Settings > Discussion).

  31. navigators411 says:

    Is there anyway to set the comments so that the new comment block is above the comments instead of having to scroll threw all of the old comments. My students have to scroll up and down constantly to answer my post. Help??

  32. Sue Waters says:

    @Navigators411 Sorry but that is the nature of comments the oldest comment is displayed at the bottom. An alternative option would be to add the comments widget to your sidebar – click on it will take them to the latest comment. Or you could add some type of RSS feed to your blog that displays the full comment.

  33. lamborghini says:

    >.<

  34. msxmas says:

    For several months I effectively used my blog for all of my classes. However, about 1 month ago I noticed that even though I’ve removed the tick for “Administrator must approve comment”, my comments are still awaiting moderation. I have about 145 students and I used to receive close to 100 comments per night. However, now that my students realize that their comments are awaiting moderation, they don’t comment as much. Moreover, when they do comment it’s a major annoyance considering that I have to approve every comment. Is anyone else having this issue? Please advise.

  35. Sue Waters says:

    @Msxmas I have responded to your question in the Edublogs forum. But will explain here what the issue was. In your dashboard > Settings > Discussion the number of links had been changed to 0. This meant that every comment is moderated. I changed it back to 3 for you so should now be working. It did take me awhile to realise that was the problem.

    Hope all is working well now.

  36. dreeder54 says:

    HI Sue,

    Actually, I wanted to comment on the gmail info, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. I tried opening a gmail account using the +, but gmail would only allow letters, numbers, and “.” Do you know if this is a recent change? I wanted to try your suggestions for adding students.

    Denise Reeder
    dreeder54

  37. jmsalsich says:

    Sue,
    A colleague switching over from blogger to edublogs raised the concern that it looks like students must have an email address to post comments on edublogs. Blogger’s comment form is a hassle for those of us who want to link to our URLs, but the “anonymous” option does allow anyone to comment.
    Is it the case that all commenters must enter an email address? Is there a way around this for elementary students?
    Thanks, Jonah

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Jonah, that is not correct but I can understand why some people think it is the case. The default is that you have email addresses but you can go to Settings > Discussion and change it so that email addresses is no longer required.

  38. Thanks for some great tips, Sue. I hope the changes I’ve made will make it easier for others to comment on my site.

  39. jenn king says:

    Hi Sue!
    I have readers that may not be very blog savvy and have a hard time finding the tiny text that says “12 comments,” or they may find it but not realize that is where they need to click in order to leave a comment. (I have gotten this feedback from blog readers.)
    Also going along with that is the problem of having to scroll through all the comments in order to find the tiny text that says “post a comment”, but that issue has already been discussed.
    I can’t figure out a way to enlarge that text (that lists the # of comments”) or add something that says “post a comment” directly under the post (instead of it just saying “12 comments”). It needs to be more clear and quicker to access! I have a feeling many readers give up after not being able to see where to click to post a comment. Any advice? Thanks so much! :)

  40. juliannejns says:

    Is there a way for students to reply to a peer’s comment without using the @reply format?

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Juliannejns, the @name reply in comments evolved from people using it on twitter. Once it became common to ues on Twitter people used it with comments.

      Your best option is to enable threaded comments in Settings > Discussions. This means you are able to reply back to each comment individually and then decide if you want to include @ or Hi with the pserson’s name.

  41. For me, having to register to comment is a real problem, waste of time. I think moderation is always best.

    Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.