Thursday, January 8, 2009

Comment Moderation?

As I travel the blogosphere, I am puzzled by those blogs that moderate the comments. It is curious to me that some people feel that they have to moderate the comments and others just have the standard minimal captchas as a machine generated spam weeder. It seems to bear no relationship to the volume of visitors or number of comments or any other visible causative agent. So that of course left my mind running through the possible reasons that an author would chose to moderate the comments. I can understand perfectly the need for private blogs, etc. It's just the comment moderation that seems a bit odd.

The very first possibility that came to mind was the simple prevention of machine based comment spamming (otherwise know as botnet attacks). That seems suspect because I haven't yet seen any raw spamming of an unmoderated blog that has reasonable captcha authentication. I have even seen a couple of sites that have no captcha requirement, but simply put up an error message every time a comment is posted, forcing the comment author to re-submit the comment before it is accepted. It would seem that such sites would be extremely vulnerable to spamming, but I have not seen hints of it happening yet. Maybe the time delay to re-submit is enough to deter the machine spammers.

The next possibility that came to mind was cyber-stalking activity. People being stalked on the internet might feel vulnerable to allowing comments from the stalker to appear on the blog, implying a relationship that does not exist in reality. The problem with that hypothesis is that anyone being seriously cyber-stalked has probably moved the blog private so they can control who is reading what.

Then of course there is the possibility that they are simply trying to avoid offensive comments. But that would seem to fall under the same category as the first possibility. It also seems if it was going to be a real problem, it should have been apparent on the blogs which are not moderated (even some of the sex related ones which would be the obvious target). The only way this idea makes sense is if certain posters draw certain types of commentators. I suppose this is possible.

Another thought that came to mind was the need of some people to be in absolute control of their environment. I.e. in words of the vernacular, they are control freaks. I cannot think of any reasonable refutation for this possibility.

Along similar lines is the fear of the possibility of disagreeable comments, be they pornographic, spammish, whatever. Just the fear that it might happen could be bad enough to tempt some people to turn on the moderation button.

The final possibility that comes to my mind is the presence of one or a small group of people with a target relationship to the blog author that have been problematic in the past. This could include the Ex from h*ll that leaves bitter and vituperative comments, the former friend that just wants to snipe, you name it. This actually seems like a reasonable cause for moderation.

I'll close with a request of those of you who read this blog: why did you decide to either moderate or not moderate your comments? Were any of my guesses close to the mark? Am I just an insane idiot? No wait! don't answer that!


  1. There must be something in the water today! I have just seen that Lee at A Curate's Egg has been having a rant about a variety of blog habits, including moderation.

    Personally, I have never had captchas or moderation and have never had a problem. I think it both are a waste of time.

  2. As you gathered, I find it all pretty pointless. Especially moderation. Perhaps it is especially created for people who have the 'editor' gene?

  3. Thanks for stopping by my Spot and commenting!

    I guess if people had any of the issues you wrote about it would make sense but for the common blogger it's just a waste of the commenter's time in my opinion as well. I've had a couple cases of spam sneaking into my comment box but I just delete them and they weren't repeat offenders. No big :)

  4. I blog through wordpress and I never turned on the comment moderation, but it does it anyway. I've noticed that it only does it with new commenters. Once someone has visited a few times, their comments get posted without my approval. Honestly it's annoying, but not too big of a deal since I don't get tons of new visitors everyday. I don't think I've ever deleted a comment. And I do get spam, but wordpress catches it and sends it straight to my spam folder.

  5. You, uh, have a lot of things coming to your mind at once. Do you have a traffic signal in that little town up there?

    You're really a mayor? I find that oddly ... well .. cool.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :-)

    Ok. wait. hold up.


    I went to submit my comment and you have a word verification set up. Explain to me how this is different than comment moderation in regards to the need to control ones environment? Both are equal pains in my backside.

  6. I don't have comment moderation, but have read several posts from people who have had really nasty comments and decided to turn it on to deter that. I think it's unnecessary unless you are having trouble with nasty comments.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  7. Heidi - yes we do have a couple of stoplights. Only one owned by the city, 6-7 others owned by CDOT. You wouldn't believe the complaints I get if rush hour exceeds 5 minutes.

    Heidi - word verification is very different than moderation. Word verification attempts to stop current spambots from dropping comment spam and requires no human intervention on the receiving end. Given current advances with pattern recognition, word recognition (otherwise know as captcha) will fall by the wayside in the next couple of years. Another way of putting it is that word verification just stops spambots but does no control of content, moderation actually controls the content of the comment.

    All - if you are reading this and haven't commented yet - do it now. I'm really interested in why people do and don't moderate.

  8. Nope, I don't moderate but I have asked people before and they say it is so rude comments don't get put on there.
    Happy Day


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