Monday, February 11, 2013

Setting Up Your Preferences for Blogger Comments

Today's subject is how to deal with blogger comments. Blogger is also known as Blogspot.

When you set up your blog (or any time after), you have a few options about how to handle comments.

At first you may think (as I did), “I want anyone to feel free to post comments as they please.” But you’ll soon find out that spam bots have free reign on the internet and you may get 90% spam comments and 10% real people comments and do you want to have to weed through all the carp to find the good stuf?

Let’s cover the options one at a time.

First (and this is how I have it), you can set up the system so comments do not get posted directly to your blog. They go into a place first where you can “moderate” them. This means you can look them over and decide which ones to publish, which ones to delete, and which ones are spam.

BTW, if you are wondering why you’d ever need to differentiate between “delete” and “spam”, here’s one example: occasionally people post their comment but they’re not sure it went through, so they do it again. Well, you may not need a duplicate of their comment to be posted to your blog, but you don’t want to mark it as spam and have them never able to post to your blog again. That’s where “delete” comes in handy.

I’m going to show you some screen shots as we talk just in case anyone reading is REALLY unfamiliar with blogger (and I was there before so I can relate).

So on your blog page, in the upper right corner are some options. Assuming you’re already signed in, you want to click on “design”.



On the next screen, on the far left, click on “settings”.



That brings up sub-headings under settings, so now click on “posts and comments”.



Your navigation options are still in the left margin, and in the main section of your screen you will see two sections. The top section is for posts and the bottom section (under the faint gray line) is for comments.

Now we’re going to get into personal preferences. You do what you feel is right for you and know that you can come in here and change it as often as you like until you get what works for you.

First up, “Who can comment?”



I have “anyone” selected because I don’t want people to have to register with any social networking thing they don’t already belong to merely in order to leave me a comment. But you set yours however you like; I’m just explaining MY reasoning.

I’ve been to blogs before where I take the time to type out a several-paragraph comment, hit submit, and then am taken to another page that says “sign in now if you want your comment posted”. And guess what, maybe I don’t belong to any of those choices (google account, wordpress, AIM, etc). So the time I took to comment on that person’s blog is wasted because I don’t get to post my comment now.

Then we go to “Comment moderation”:



I have mine selected to “always” because I want to decide on each and every comment.

If you select “sometimes”, it brings up an option that basically says if the comment is on a post that is x-number of days old, I’d like to moderate it, but all the newer stuff just go ahead and publish without my consent. You choose the “x” for how old your posts have to be in order for a comment to be set aside for moderation.

If you select “never”, all comments get posted to your blog instantly (except maybe the ones that blogger suspects as spam anyway (more on that later).

So if you’ve selected “always” or “sometimes”, you also have the option of being notified via email for new comments (the light gray box that says “Email moderation requests to”). This is handy if you don’t go to your blog very often. I don’t have them emailed to me because I just check for new comments when I go, which is every few days.

I have “word verification” set to no, but this is recent and I’m not sure if I will keep it off. I’ll decide later.



I used to have “word verification” on. That means to leave a comment, you have to do what is called a “captcha” word. That’s where you type into a box the letters that show on your screen. Looks something like this:



And I just learned that some people have a real loathing of this step. Numerous people voiced their opinion on a forum I frequent that if they see a captcha on someone’s blog, they don’t bother to leave a comment. Learn something new every day.

We’re all different and you’re making decisions that will affect who leaves comments on your blog (and/or how much carp you have to deal with to keep your comments clean and non-spammy).

Since I turned off the captcha feature last night, I’ve had 16 comments trying to post to my blog. They were all spam bots.

A spam bot post is pretty easy to spot. They say things that sound almost normal at first… then you realize, they’re not saying ANYTHING specific.

Here’s an example: “Hello. Yup this article is really nice and I have learned a lot of things from it about blogging. Also visit my web page…”

Or: “Hi. I just wanted to mention I enjoyed this blog post. It was funny. Keep on posting. My blog is…”

Or: “It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks. Here is my blog…”

And each of those “here is my blog” goes to something like “buying a car” or “hot Russian women” or “fix your credit”.

Blogger will take a lot of those spam bot posts and move them into a spam folder (more on that below) so you don’t have to deal with them, but in case you want to look the over just to be sure they’re spam (like a spam filter in your email program). You have the option in the “spam” folder of marking any of the comments as “not spam” and then you can publish them to your blog.

After you’ve made your choices, click on “Save settings” in the upper right of your screen.



The next section is having a look at the actual comments.

On the same screen, on the far left, click on “comments”.



Now under “comments”, you will see three sub-headings: Published, Awaiting moderation, and Spam.



When you click on each one, you will get a list of the comments for each section. In the example below, you are seeing my “published” comments. If I wanted to see what has not yet been published, I would click on “Awaiting moderation”.

Since I have my moderation turned on for all comments, other than the ones that blogger already identifies as spam and puts in the spam folder, everything goes into the moderation “folder” for me to decide what to do with it.



From the “comments awaiting moderation subfolder, you can pick which comments you want to publish, delete, or mark as spam.

To see the words indicated in the red horizontal rectangle (publish/delete/spam), hover your mouse there (notice the words are not there for the other two comments below it).

You can read each comment and make your choice individually (click on the light blue “publish”, “delete”, or “spam”) directly beneath that comment.

Or you can put a check mark in the little squares before the comments and batch “publish”, “delete”, or “spam” them from the underlined sections at the top of the comments page.

I prefer to do each one separately.

Now let’s look at that third comment for today. “Hello. Just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Many thanks. Also visit my web page: car insurance…”

At first, he totally had me. I was all upset thinking people using Chrome weren’t seeing my blog properly. But that bit at the end. It’s got to be spam. I told you… they’re getting pretty slick.

Although I can also typo pretty easily when I’m not concentrating, another giveaway to spam is the lack of proper grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

So that’s it for today. These photo-tutorials take longer to make than I usually think they will (yeah, I know… I’m master of the overkill).

Up next… turning off Facebook game or app invitations. Whoohoo!


7 comments:

  1. Hi, thanks for this - I'm kind of internetically challenged and it's great to see the options explained in greater detail =)

    ReplyDelete

  2. thanks for the tutorial Laura. To a fairly new blogger like me , your article is really very helpful . I too keep getting spam comments in my posts and didnt know how to deal with them .So your post is really a good guide . Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, Laura! Despite the fact that I did software support for a living, I become computer illiterate with Blogging, Facebook, etc. This was crystal clear.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thank you...my blog partner keeps telling me to turn off captcha, but had no idea...thank you

    ReplyDelete
  5. That was really helpful - thank you. I had no idea you could do all that. Going to try allowing all users to post, turn off word thingy and moderate comments.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the tips. I'm fairly new to blogging so it was great to be able to follow this quick and easy tutorial. Got it all set up very easily

    ReplyDelete