5 Tips for Modding your Blog Comments

This is a guest article by Daniel Cassady. You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.


Nothing lends weight and authority to a blog post than a slew of comments at the end. It’s like a snowball: The more comments you have, the more likely other people are willing to add their own two cents. If you’re lucky, you’ll have entire conversations taking place.

So, how do you manage all those comments at the end of your posts? If you’re fortunate enough to have a lively, chatty audience, you’ll need to learn how to manage anything that shows up in your comments section. Here’s how to do that:

Welcome new participants with open arms

To some people, posting a comment is like showing up naked to school. The exposure that comes along with voicing their opinion in front of a group of critical strangers is often enough to turn a participator into a lurker. For this reason, setting up complex registration process so a reader can comment is one more way to turn away someone uncertain about commenting in the first place.

To kill the uncertainty of shy readers, make posting on your blog as easy as possible, without drawing an avalanche of spammers. WordPress has the option of letting anyone post sans registration, but it gives you the option of approving a reader’s first comment and letting every other comment beyond the first comment show up without approval.

Be your own sheriff

To keep things clean and easy, think of your blog as a small town. You want people to have fun and enjoy living there, but you have to set up some rules first. This means developing a list of things you’ll allow in comments, along with things you won’t allow.

Many blogs start with the obvious ones like banning racism and hate speech, but you’ll need to decide beyond that if you’re going to blanket ban name-calling and other offenses, or mete out justice on a case-by-case basis.

The point is, you decide. If a loyal poster goes off the deep end, delete their comment and then email them, explaining why. If the offense is made by a person who is just popping in to get a rise out of other posters, you’ll have to make a decision then and there if you’re going to banish them or let them stay in the village.

Dump some trolls, keep others

Internet trolls come in many shades, ranging from the juvenile-spirited hacks to provocative political bomb-throwers. While some simply enjoy getting everyone’s ire up, others come in with an opposing view almost certain to stir healthy debate.

Before you decide to give certain posters the heave-ho, ask yourself two things: is the person insulting anyone personally, and are they adding anything to the discussion? For instance, a person who enters a dieting forum and calls the other posters “fat” is 100% troll. However, a person who enters a diet forum and offers a scientifically backed view that the diet du jour is harmful to one’s health actually brings something to the conversation.

If a fiery discussion ensues without getting personal, feel free to keep the troll around to cause a bit of a ruckus. Controversy for a blog is good sometimes, and you’ll find people who never commented before jump in to offer their own opinions on the topic.


Have no tolerance for spam

Spammers can ruin a comments section faster than you can spell S.E.O.  No one wants to read through your comments when every third one has nothing to do with the good posts they’ve spent reading. Unfortunately, spammy comments can also discourage legitimate people from posting, killing the conversation even further.

When it come to spammers, you have to really be on your guard. The old spammer of yesteryear used to simply throw up a URL and list out prices of goods like Nike cross trainers or designer handbags. Today’s spammers spell out web addresses (“free meds dot net”) to sneak past your defenses, and may even leave a legit comment about your post, but they end their comment with a web addresses or an email address.

If you are using WordPress, make use of the comment blacklist feature, but be careful – blacklisting a word will also ban longer words that contain that word. For instance, if you ban the word “cash” you’ll ban the word “cashmere”, which can be a major issue for your comments section, especially if you run a fashion blog.


Reach Out

Chances are you know at least one person – most likely more – that has a blog of their own. In times of trouble, don’t be afraid to ask your friends and colleagues out in the blogosphere for a comment trade where you comment on their blog and they comment on yours. “Priming the pump” like this is not the ideal way to get your comments section rolling, but it can definitely help. Just make sure the trade is not obvious to anyone else that visits your blog (or theirs).

Remember: the comments section of your blog can be a very powerful marketing tool, adding an air of legitimacy (and popularity) to your posts. On the other hand, a poorly managed comments section can drive possible frequent readers away.

Ultimately, the key to successfully modding comments is finding balance between which comments to keep, which comments to ditch. If you do master the art of modding your comments, you’ll definitely see an increase in dialogue.

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  • I agree that as the moderator you have the obligation to control your comments section. If it’s getting out of hand then do something about it.

    I don’t allow swear words in my comments and other adult topics. I have made this my comment policy and so I then police it to make sure its not happening. It’s always your right to control your comments. No one has to post other people’s comments they don’t feel are appropriate.

    • It is great that you have a commenting policy and if somebody is not complying to it, you have the right to delete it.

  • It’s always a pleasure to moderate comments. I always act as if we were all sitting on a table in a coffee shop talking about this subject I pointed to. I love to get a debate going in all the post I write, it increases the comments, and multiplies my community by 10. People talk, and they talk a lot when they want their voice to be heard haha.

    A very good post we have in here by the way. Thank you for sharing the tips.


    • I think you consider commentators as your friends. It is a;ways better if you make your commentators feel more comfortable. They are ready to comment when they think comments will be read and be replied to.

  • The best appraoch is to have a commenting policy, though I know that spammers would not read it but it would help your real audience to have feel, of what you allow.
    I do agree with blocking out some words, while not simply not allow links in your comment section.
    Use plugins instead like GASP or any of those Captcha plugins

    • The anti spam plugins help you a lot, but they cannot prevent manual spamming. In order to prevent that, you have to moderate comments. By a commenting policy. you can let them know what is allowed and what is not. But, the spammers are not there do the right thing, they are using your blog as a marketing medium for their website.

  • great article buddy..
    infact, i follow everything that you have mentioned except the first one. I mean i do welcome me new commentators but still could not make it quite warm as i should be

  • I like the local sheriff analogy, Daniel. I’m just trying to decide if I should be more like Andy Griffith or Marshall Dillon. 😉

    If you are active in moderating your comments, people will feel more apt to leave them. You also have to get off of your own blog and visit the comment section of other blogs.

    I’ve been tempted to enter into comment swapping by arrangement, but I’ve opted to just let it happen naturally. That first comment does seem the hardest to get though, and it’s a great technique to use if you’re finding no comment activity.

    • First comment is the hardest to get, but comment exchange can solve that problem. Once, you start getting more comments, readers start entering in the discussion

  • Hi Daniel (and Gautam),

    Enjoyed reading this one! Interestingly, when I saw the title over on BizSugar, I thought by “modding” you meant some kind of “design” activity. LOL That caught my eye, but getting here and reading through actually held me.

    Sometimes, it really is a quick struggle between what to allow through and what to toss. I don’t write about anything that is particularly controversial, but occasionally I wonder how I’d handle someone intent on sparking a debate where none exists.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

    • You should give controversy a shot, if you really want to stretch your limits. Controversy can turn into a bad match between you and angry commenters who are opposing your view. But, if you manage well, you might get a healthy and informative discussion from it.

  • Yeah! I love this article! I always make sure that I reply to every comment on my blog. I smile when I see my Inbox which says there are comments to moderate! But, I always hate to see comments saying “Good Article” or “Good Post”. And I get into a confusion whether to display these lines or not…

    • Mukund, it depends from situation to situation. Sometimes, nice article, nice post are enough for a resource type of article. But, spammers have taken advantage of this thing and they use it to spam blogs

  • I think moderating all first comments is a good starting place. I also strip out links within the comments themselves, unless directly relevant to the discussion. If you rely solely on Akismet, Bad Behavior, and the like, you still have to go through the comments manually on a regular basis. Even the best scripts get lots of false positives.

    • Amber, totally true, the best plugins fail to moderate some comments and in the end, it is you who has to manually moderate each comment and make sure that you don’t get spammy links.

      Stripping links in comments is one of those techniques.

      But, sometimes the comments do not make any sense and you have no choice, but, to delete it

      • Yeah, I don’t know what the nonsensical commenters are thinking. They have to have realized by now that their comments are going to get marked as spam 99% of the time, and that they’re just wasting energy by doing it. Maybe that 1% is worth it to them?

        • They are missing the point because they don’t read such type of articles and hence they aren’t aware of the fact that they are spamming

  • Comment would be coming from our original views, but most of the folks are saying its “wow”, and so on. But when i hear that type of news, really its horrible to see the comment. And, my point of view is that, give your own review about the article and if you have any doubt about that article ask them to clear your doubt. Thanks a lot Gautam for sharing it.

  • Glad all of you found this article from Daniel so useful. I’ve found, that sometimes I find more value from a comments section, than the original blog post itself. That’s why it’s important to maintain a positive atmosphere in that space.

  • I don’t get many comments so moderating comments is not a big problem for me and more often than not good comments add to the discussion and often entice more reactions for other people.

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