Well, folks, it finally happened. I received my first WordPress comment looking for a wife. It happens to all of us eventually. Bizarre comments from some spam-like email or website. This comment ended up in my “pending” queue thankfully.
It is rare that I see these types of comments, so I thought I would explain a little about how I manage comments on my blog.
New bloggers may not understand how to modify the settings that impact their blogs so let us walk through it. The comment settings are contained in Settings/Discussions. I am sharing screen prints of my current settings. Most are self-explanatory.
The first three settings are the default settings for all your posts. These may be overridden when you compose your posts in most themes.
The second section, Comments, are the guidelines for processing comments left on your blog. I recommend requiring users to use their name and e-mail address. This helps weed out spam and determine if the comments are valid. The e-mail address is not shown on the comment, but is available to you.
I find with the other parameters, you will tweak them as your blog grows based on your personal preference. For example, I used to turn off comments on blogs older than 14 days. But with the search capability on the WordPress reader and the ability for search engines to unearth old blogs, I wanted the ability for people to comment on those blogs.
The next section controls how you choose to handle the comments people leave BEFORE they get posted to your blog post. I do not choose to manually approve every blog post. To me, that is time consuming. Instead, I opt to require a comment author be approved by me once, before their comments can appear without approval.
You do have the ability to hold comments in queue if they contain links. Links are generally used by spammers. I have found that by requiring an approved comment first, this has not been a problem for me. Often times, bloggers I value will leave links to an interesting article or to one of their posts that might be related to what I have written. I would not want to hold those comments back.
The next section is one I use frequently. I scan comments for keywords I know are suspect. There are two keyword lists.
The first holds comments in moderation so you have the opportunity to either approve or disapprove them. The second list is a blacklist. I create this list based on experience and prior comments I have received. Comments in this group will automatically be sent to trash — but even those comments remain until you delete them.
It is important to review your comment queues frequently. WordPress is not without glitches from time to time. I have found important and valued comments in the trash before for no apparent reason. Never fear, though, you can still approve comments that have been placed in the trash.
Now, one of my frustrations with WordPress, especially for new users, is the abbreviated menus and settings displayed unless you login using WP-Admin. There are additional controls there.
This is where you will find settings for follows, comment box displays, Askimet (spam filter) settings and Avatars. I use the strict filters of Askimet but that is your choice to decide what works for you.
I want to leave you with one last thought although not about comments necessarily. When you review your followers, do not hesitate to delete followers whom you may find offensive or otherwise annoying. This is your blog, your rules.