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Friday, February 5, 2016

Roll Out The Welcome Mat

This is for the rookies out there, who have never participated in the A to Z Challenge until this year. Many of you, I suspect, created a blog on Wordpress or Blogger just so you could do the challenge. I know that's how I got my start doing this. This is also for those of you that are getting complaints that people can't leave you comments, or for those of you that aren't getting comments and can't figure out why.

Both Wordpress and Blogger have settings that allow you to screen comments. Some of them are set as defaults and others are options you can set if you think they're necessary. They ensure that the commenter is a real person and not just a bot from which you'll be receiving junk comments for the rest of your existence. Setting the options will cut down on spam, but some of the options also make it practically impossible for legitimate bloggers (e.g. the participants in the A to Z Challenge) to leave you comments.

Kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog and participating in the challenge, doesn't it ?

There's also an impression out there that, while blogs on Wordpress are friendly to Wordpress commenters, they're mean to commenters that don't have a Wordpress account. You hear the same thing about Blogger: nice to people with Google accounts, nasty to everyone else.

Bottom line: You want to make commenting on your blog as easy as possible for anyone who drops by. Let's see how to do that.

WORDPRESS

You can find the settings for comments at https://[your blog URL]/wp-admin/options-discussion.php



Allow people to post comments on new articles - Should be checked. This allows people to comment.

Comment author must fill out name and email - Should be checked. Having a name and email address generally indicates the commenter is a real person. Of course, spammers can fill that in, too, but it prevents posting by bots.

Users must be registered and log in to comment - Should be unchecked. This means that you have to have a Wordpress account to comment.

Automatically close comments on articles older than _____ days - This prevents people from posting comments on old articles, a favorite trick of spammers. I turned this on and set the number of days to 60 for a while, then realized there were new readers who might want to comment on older articles, so I turned it off. If you start getting a lot of spam on older articles, you might want to set it.

Comment must be manually approved - Leave this unchecked unless you start getting a lot of spam, or if you've attracted a troll.

Comment author must have a previously approved comment - I have this unchecked. I don't think it's necessary.

Hold a comment in the queue if it contains ____ or more links - I have this set to 5. Some people like to put links to their blog here rather than in the box for URL's on the comment form, and if this is set too low, their comment disappears with no word as to why.

There are also areas to put in words or URL's in comments that will either get the comment put in the moderation queue or in the spam queue. Use these with caution, or you might be blocking comments you didn't intend to block.

BLOGGER

Sign on to Blogger and select your blog. Then click on Settings > Posts and comments.



Who can comment? - Typically you'll want to choose Registered User. This allows people who don't have a Google account to comment using their Open ID, Wordpress, LiveJournal, TypePad, or AIM account. Anyone allows anonymous commenting, probably not a good idea.

Comment Moderation - Setting this to Never means anyone can comment. If spam becomes a problem, you can set it to Always. Sometimes allows you to specify a number of days after publication when commenting is open, after which comments must be approved.

Show word verification - This forces a commenter to enter a CAPTCHA code before the comment is accepted. Most people think that's an enormous pain in the backside and might just leave without commenting and never come back. Turn it off.

Whether this is your first challenge or you're an old pro, welcome! We hope you have a good time, make lots of new friends, and find lots of new blogs to follow.

John Holton
The Sound of One Hand Typing on Wordpress
Simulcasting at The Sound of One Hand Typing FM on Blogger

26 comments:

  1. I turned off the captcha and do not have a problem. I do not have a heavy amount of commentators, but I have deleted a few spammers. I would allow a link if I knew the commentator; otherwise, I am cautious of links because of their use of injecting malware on a computer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Malware is a valid concern. As far as I can tell, on the other hand, CAPTCHA is there to annoy people.

      Delete
    2. My 'captcha' in Blogger is put on by blogger .... but can be ignored.

      Cheers Hilary

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  2. I created a Blogger account whose only function is to allow me to comment & redirect. Sometimes I need it, sometimes not. Odd.

    In case anyone is interested in the example: http://rodneyssaga.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is what I do. I simulcast my Wordpress blog on Blogger and have a Google ID that I use to comment on Blogger blogs.

      Delete
    2. I use BLogger, have a WP account, and have opened up Disqus to comment - all works ok ...

      Blogger has its moments! Cheers H

      Delete
  3. This is awesome, John! Thank you!

    Heather

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  4. Anonymous is never good.
    Please no one us Disqus for comments!

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  5. Please please please turn word verification OFF.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hm, I don't get that box you note when I log into Blogger settings, posts and comments.

    www.thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's only a portion of the full screen. Were you able to find the Posts and comments page?

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  7. This is useful information--thanks, John!

    Even Disqus isn't a big deal for me like it used to be. I think part of the secret is to use the available comment platform several times and eventually there are no more hoops or big hassles. It takes patience and persistence though.

    Arlee Bird
    Wrote By Rote

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a friend of mine used to say, it's intuitive after you've done it a bunch of times...

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  8. Thank you, John! As a WordPress user, it has been increasingly frustrating to post comments on Blogger accounts. I had to create a Blogger account to comment which redirects people to my WordPress account, but that involves a lot of clicking and well, some people won't wish to do that. I am sure it has prevented me from getting much traffic over at my blog in the past. I appreciate this and I do hope people will follow through with your suggestions!

    ~Lori Carlson~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the things Arlee suggests is adding a line with a link to your blog at the end of your comments, so rather than digging through a lot of links that just lead to more links, they can go right to your blog. Kind of like this...

      John Holton
      The Sound of One Hand Typing
      The Sound of One Hand Typing FM

      Only issue is Blogger objects to adding **target="_blank"** to the hyperlinks...

      Delete
    2. I must get this done this year .. I seem to be defeated by it. But I'll settle to it !!??!! Cheers H

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  9. Thanks so much John! Well explained - I reckon even I can follow this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know if you have any trouble...

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  10. I understand doing moderated comments or only automatically posting comments from people with previously approved comments if you're blogging about something which produces strong opinions, but for most other types of posts, I really don't see the need for it. I've only disabled comments on one post to date, my viral anti-Arbonne post, because two commenters couldn't stop leaving long, vitriolic rants attacking me for daring to not like their pet MLM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to see that post. Anything that brings that kind of vituperation from MLM folks is probably pretty good... XD

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  11. Hi everyone - some great ideas and thoughts here ... we can make it easy for ourselves - so let's get to it .. cheers and see you at the A-Z - but no doubt many before .. Hilary

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  12. Great tips and well explained. Excellent job!

    ReplyDelete

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