Blogging and Writing

Should You Moderate Comments on Your Blog?

Should you moderate blog comments?  Graphic of dialogue bubbles

Some bloggers moderate comments before posting them. Others (like me) don’t, but manage inappropriate comments once they’ve been posted (and sometimes get accused of censorship because of it). So let’s let’s chat about it!

How to moderate

In “My Sites”, go to “Settings”, then click the “Discussion” tab. Scroll down to “Before a comment appears.” You can then select “Comment must be manually approved.” The other option that’s listed is to moderate comments left by commenters that you haven’t already approved comments from.

Turn off comments on a specific post

If you’re posting something and for whatever reason you don’t feel like you can deal with people’s comments, you can turn off comments for that specific post. Within the editor, go to your post settings, scroll down to the discussion section at the bottom, and uncheck “Allow comments.”

“Censorship” and deleting/spam-flagging comments

Some people will argue that the internet is public territory, and their freedom of speech means that they should be able to comment whatever they want, wherever they want. I call BS. For one, freedom of speech prevents government from restricting speech and doesn’t apply to people’s websites, but also, your blog is like your property. You get to control who’s allowed on it, and what behaviours are allowed. Just because your house has a lawn doesn’t mean people are free to pee in it. If someone feels the need to figuratively pee on your blog, you can and should feel perfectly free to oust them.

How can you do that? When people leave self-promotional comments with links, I mark those as spam, because that’s spammy behaviour. For other problematic comments, I just delete them.

You can also edit comments people have left, but I think that’s kind of creepy. I would rather just delete a comment if I have an issue with it. The only time I’ll edit a comment is to remove a link.

Blacklisting effectively

WordPress allows you to blacklist commenters so their comments go straight into your trash.  This is useful because it can make it a lot easier to go through your spam folder to find legit comments.

Blacklisting is done under My Sites > Settings > Discussion.  You can use someone’s username, email address, URL, or IP address. Be careful, though, because if, you blacklist “press”, for example, then anyone commenting from a address is going straight to trash.

Have a look at some of what’s ended up in your spam folder.  Ignore the names associated with the comments; those change each time.  Instead, look at the URL.  The exact URL will vary, but you’ll probably notice a lot of common domains.  I get a ton of comments from various addresses.  I’ve blacklisted extraproxies, so those are no longer clogging up my spam folder.

What do you choose?

I’ve never contemplated moderating. Dealing with unwanted comments after they’ve been published works fine for me, so I don’t see moderation as something that would be beneficial for me. I spend a lot of time on WordPress, so even if someone left a really awful comment, I’d catch it pretty quick. I can think of two occasions when I deliberately disabled comments on that day’s post, and moderation wouldn’t have changed that decision.

When it comes to moderation, I can think of a couple of potential downsides. One is that it creates more work for you, which may or may not be much of an issue. The other is that if it takes you a while to get around to moderating, you could be missing out on the dialogue between commenters that sometimes occurs on posts, since commenters can’t see other people’s comments until you’ve approved them.

A potential upside is that moderating may feel more comfortable deleting a comment that had already appeared. It’s also a potentially useful tool if someone has been harassing you and you’re not able to stay on top of it by blacklisting.

There is no right or wrong approach; you should do what works best for your blog. Have you made deliberate choices around managing comments? What influenced those choices?

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54 thoughts on “Should You Moderate Comments on Your Blog?”

  1. I’m way to lazy for moderation and way to attentionhorny to turn them off – plus, most comments on my blogs are hella lovely so I’ve not felt the need so far.

    I have in the past edited comments though – with people just linkboosting their comments just for traffic purposes. In those cases I just remove the urls 🤷‍♀️

    Other than that it’s been smooth sailing so far 😇

  2. I “moderate” the first comment from a new IP. It’s worked pretty well. I also have a lot of blocks on, mostly for spammers/salespeople. Back in the day when I was feistier, I had to block trolls, but they seem to be scarce lately. I just can’t be bothered arguing with people anymore, so I don’t generally attract that kind of negative attention. I have deleted comments, but I don’t edit them unless the commenter asks me to. I think having to approve each one would be a huge drag and decrease my bloggy joy 🙂

  3. 🙂 I have a “Commenting Policy” page for my blog; it lets readers know the dos and the don’ts where leaving comments on my blog posts are concerned (Any comment that is in violation of the policy is removed).

    Also, I am not one of the many people that approve comments before they appear on their site.

  4. I use the option that allows users with previously moderated comments (something you only have to do once for each user) to immediately appear without moderation.

    1. If you were to get hateful comments that showed up in your comments to be moderated, would that still triggering a reaction? For me, I think it would probably affect me the same either way.

      1. It would, but at least others wouldn’t see it before I had chance to deal with it. When I went through what I did, my ex put allsorts all over Facebook accusing me of cheating etc… I didn’t have my timeline approval thing on and so many people saw it and messaged me, it made the whole thing so much worse. Xx

          1. It was an awful time. But at least this way… if I get triggered I can go to pieces in private? Then deal with it when I’m stronger instead of having loads of other people reading it before I’m strong enough to sort it xx

  5. I wouldn’t moderate, but my settings moderate the first comment by a new commenter. Ugh! I need to go in and undo that, but I never get around to it. In a general sense, I welcome people to say anything, but often, they don’t. I don’t get many comments, so I’m always so glad that you always comment on my blogs! YAY!! But it would take a lot for me to want to delete someone’s comment, or that sort of thing… at least I think it would, because I don’t think it’s ever happened yet. Outside of obvious spam issues, I can’t think of anything anyone’s ever said that would upset me that much, but you never know, it could happen, especially with me, since I’m so… whatever the heck I am. Maybe that’s why no one else ever comments! 😀 But I have no clue. But my mentality is to allow free speech and free thought, as long as it’s not mean or unnecessarily harsh or unkind, etc., but no one’s ever done that yet!!

    1. Sometimes I’ll try to go with allowing free speech, but then people go from simply expressing a different opinion to being racist, homophobic, etc. If people want to spout off about that kind of crap, they’re welcome to, but not on my blog. Or if someone attacks another commenter, that’s an automatic delete.

      1. That makes sense!! It’s just weird how that never happens on my blog!! I’m almost envious that you get so many comments!! 🙂

  6. I’ve turned off comments for particular posts and I’ve moderated as well but only for a week or so at a time, until the idiot got tired of not seeing his comments. And yes I have deleted comments – some people just irk my soul.

  7. The one time I would moderate is if there are a lot of spelling mistakes (more than just a typo). But I prefer to just let them speak (write) their mind. Deleting or blocking is probably the better option although I have not had to do this (yet).

    I think I have the function on that moderates the first ‘new’ person who comments and once they’re in they can comment at will. I like this method. I have one new comment in my pending section that I’m hesitating allowing for various reasons. So for now, he just sits there. I see no benefit approving the comment. He hasn’t come back to read or comment anywhere else so it’s probably a non issue.

  8. I have the moderation on for all comments. However, I have never had to block, delete, or edit someone’s comments. Some time ago I posted about what is excepted when it came to outside links, I don’t like them.
    As for the opposite I also posted about how I would treat others who leave a comment. So far it has been easy going! I am so thankful for it!

  9. I have moderated comments and will continue to do so. I remove any colourful language a blogger leaves in their comment for a start. I sometimes fix their typos (if I have the energy).

    Also, I received some comments from bloggers who are convinced that the coronavirus is a hoax. While they are entitled to their opinion, I did not want it broadcast on my site. I have been working my socks off all year – I am baffled by people who think this is a hoax. So I chose not to approve their comments.
    I have done the same with comments that were politically or racially hateful. I know people are entitled to their opinions, but if they can only resort to insulting terms in expressing their views, my blog is not the platform to do that on.

    Sometimes a blogger who I do not know has left a rather acrid comment indicating they disliked my sentiments (which are usually happy sentiments). They were rather sarcastic and demeaning. So, I simply ignored them and chose not to approve their comments.

    But this is very rare. Most comments are a pure delight.

    1. I think that’s cute that you remove colourful comments.

      The kind of comments that you wouldn’t approve I wouldn’t tolerate either; I’d just delete them.

  10. I do moderate mine, because im new to WordPress. I’ve received much more feedback here than I have from my actual blog site. Negative or positive I think it helps me gauge my audience

  11. My philosophy has always been freedom of speech – however if it is rude or inflammatory l do remove it – l have not had many – but l have had a few. Literally the other day l had a commenter [new] leave a rather unsavoury comment about something l was writing and that the devil will take my soul and God will damn me – all in a day’s creative writing l say!! That was removed.

    II can’t be arsed to manually approve comments and yet having said that – some of my readers through no intention of mine or according to WP engineers my blog, find that their comments must be manually approved by me. Thankfully it’s only a few, but it’s a mystery why it happens to them, as it isn’t anything l am causing.

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