Some bloggers moderate comments before posting them. Others (like me) don’t. 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.
If you don’t like a comment that someone has left, you can delete it. It may feel rude, but it’s your blog; go ahead and be rude.
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. And if you want someone’s comments to never show up again, you can add their username, URL, or IP address to your blacklist, which is found just a little ways below where you adjust your comment moderation settings. Blacklisted comments will go straight to your comments trash rather than your spam folder.
You can also go to your comments folder in My Sites, find the commenter you want to blacklist, and click the little i with a circle around it to the right of their comment. There you have the option to “block user.”
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.”
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’ll need to be careful because if, for example, you blacklist “press”, then anyone commenting from a wordpress.com 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 extraproxies.com addresses. I’ve blacklisted extraproxies, so those are no longer clogging up my spam folder.
What do you choose?
I’ve never contemplated moderating. Deleting/blacklisting unwanted comments 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?