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Dealing with Spam Comments

I know I’m not alone in this one – spam comments. They try and appear on every blog, thankfully if you set up your commenting system “correctly” then they don’t appear to everyone else.

Top Rated Lad!

is one comment that amused me particularly. If the person had taken 2 seconds to glance at my sidebar then they would have seen my photo. I’m a gal, not a lad!

So, how do you prevent them?
With WordPress.com Akismet is pre-installed and activated, it’s an anti-spam plugin that automatically filters comments and decides the obvious spam links for you. On Self-Hosted WordPress/Wordpress.org the plugin comes pre-installed, you just have to activate it and get your API Key (check out your dashboard > Plugins for more information – it tells you what to do with it).
Blogger has its own system built-in.

The other thing to do is to make sure that every commenter has to be approved the first time they comment. Yes this will eat some of your time, but it means that anything that comes through Akismet will be vetted by you first.
In WordPress (hosted and self-hosted) you can set this by going to Settings > Discussion And then under Before a comment appears: tick the second box that says “Comment author must have a previously approved comment”. I wouldn’t tick the first box that says “An administrator must always approve the comment.” as this makes a lot of extra work for you, however if you’re finding a lot of comments “slip through” the process and look like spam then by all means turn it on.

How do you decide what is a spam comment?
This is a hard one, sometimes your gut will just tell you that it’s not “real”, other times there are obvious clues – company or website names instead of human ones, including unrelated links to websites in the comment – this means you should check the links out. If they’ve linked to a post they’ve written on the subject then definitely leave it in. Sometimes your gut instinct might be wrong (it seems fake because their level of English is poor – but in fact they just struggle with the language), but in general go with it.

Should you edit a comment?
This is quite controversial, and as a general rule I would say not to edit comments, however there are always exceptions. For example, someone leaves a great comment, and then at the end chucks in a link to their website – not a specific post, but the homepage, and moreover it’s not related to your blog in any way. Here you could edit the comment to remove the link, and then simply put a link in such as “Unrelated link removed by administrator.”. Be wary of doing this, and perhaps send a quick email to the comment author letting them know you’ve done it – and that if they wish to link to their website there is a link above the box of the comment itself.

What are your favorite spam comments you’ve received?

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