Thursday, 11 February 2010

Blog Comments


OK, you win, I'm back.

I think every blogger realises how important it is to have comments. It makes the whole job of writing blog posts worthwhile. I've said before that the only thing that makes this pass-time more fulfilling are direct face-to-face mentions. Best of all when I meet a complete stranger and they say that they read this blog. It's a little bit of minor fame, a realisation of a minor media success perhaps. More likely vanity, it's true, but whatever, it gives me a level of satisfaction that makes this worthwhile.

There have been times when I've been perplexed by some comments from worthy bloggers. Often, after a period of reflection, the more challenging comments generate a useful thought process that often provokes a new post. This, to me, is blogging at its best; a truly interactive media that explores various issues. Whether it be the validity of the definition of real ale or the relative morality of stealing glasses from pubs, the best bloggers can agree to disagree so that at least next time they meet they can enjoy a pint together, even if one might insist on it being Lout. It is important to recognise that constructive disagreement should never create a problem.

When I first started blogging I put all the checks and controls on to prevent unpleasant comments. I activated that irritating "word verification" thing that is occasionally amusing but often stifles the interactivity of this medium. I also set the comment moderation to "always".

After a while it dawned on me that these things are counter productive. I eventually decided to remove them all and simply monitor for problems. Surprisingly, very few problems appeared, until recently. Over the past few weeks I've noticed an increase of spam comments from various sources, all advertising irrelevant services. Just occasionally there will be a stupid anonymous comment, probably from some mischievous local intent on annoying me. I don't like to delete comments and try and deal with them by intelligent interaction. However, somethings are simply off-side.

Yesterday I had a comment on my blog that was effectively local gossip about my business and was inappropriate and completely unrelated to the blog. I deleted it. Today the exact same comment appeared. Some people just can't take a hint.

So, apologies for taking away liberties of the many sound people who comment here. I apologise especially to those who feel they should not have to sign up to a blogger account to be able to comment. Why should they have to? Sadly, the actions of a very small minority spoil it for everybody else, something of a parallel to my overall experience here. Hopefully I'll remove these controls again in time, I don't want to have to be tied to the PC to approve comments.

Finally, thank you to all my twitter followers who have chivvied me along today. Although Tandleman has a point about twitter possibly detracting from blogging, it does have its good side too.

14 comments:

Tyson said...

That must be the quickest comeback in history! Welcome back.

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

The day when I'm no longer excited about checking if a post has comments is the day I'l give up blogging.

I think instead of any spam filters / requiring blogger accounts you should just have a picture of Woolpack Ann looking very stern at the point when people have to comment (only kidding Ann) ;-)

Ann said...

Mark, I don't scare bloggers, only silly drunk men at 2am who are making a noise!

Curmudgeon said...

I understand why you've done it (and I saw the "offending" post via e-mail), but isn't full moderation AND banning anonymous comments a bit belt and braces?

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

I will never break another lock in all my days Ann. Not if you are sleeping nearby anyway. Sorry!

Woolpack Dave said...

Probably Mudge, I dare say I'll relent soon.

Actually, there is a strong correlation between anonymous comments and those that are, in my view, offside. I can say, almost without exception, that anybody who has a proper blogger identity or equivalent posts sensibly.

What I'd like is the facility to moderate anonymous but permit known bloggers to post without moderation. Perhaps you can but I've not found it.

Kristy said...

Ummmm, welcome back, although I think I must have blinked and missed the bit where you were gone ;o)

Woolpack Dave said...

Kristy, like a performing artist, I don't wait until the cries for an encore die away.......

Tandleman said...

I'm getting loads of spam, but I just delete it. I do resent anonymous comments though. Cowardly really.

BeerReviewsAndy said...

Welcome back!! a bit off posting, stuff anonymously, if you're gonna have a pop at someone at least have the bolloks to own up to it!

Anyway hope the blog stays idiot free (apart from present company) and you continue to write the way you do as it makes for great reading.

Ps Ann are the silly drunk men you are referring to the ones at a certain twissup?

Paul Garrard said...

Whilst I don't suffer too much with comment spam I suffer from 'referrer' spam which is equally annoying. Plus my blogs been down because my hosting company has been subject to DDos attacks. You do wonder what drives these people!

Curmudgeon said...

I have set my blog to moderate all comments on posts over 14 days old. That seems to catch most of the spam while letting most of the genuine comments through without delay.

RedNev said...

I delete spam without compunction, and would do the same for any comments that were gratuitously offensive, but I've not had to yet. I considered routinely deleting anonymous comments but decided against, but why are they hiding?

John Q. Publican said...

Good to see you back! (didn't know you'd gone) I've been too pressed for time and health to read the blogs for the last few months but I'm back, too.

Re. comment policies and spam; I'm not sure how blogger deals with the matter, but within the Wordpress controls are a fairly good spam filter which catches referrer spam and so on, and a moderation option of 'first-comment'. That is, the first time a given identity comments it requires approval, any pre-approved identity is auto-approved. I've found that pretty useful.