Here’s the scenario. You find a blog that has a post with a topic you really like and they’ve got a good post on the subject. You want to add your bit to the conversation and then… WHAM! There is no comments link or WHAM! "You Must Be Logged In To Comment" … you lose interest in the site and move on. The blog owner loses your input and, if they have ads, the opportunity to earn money from your interaction with their site.
Of course, there are personal sites or little Internet Coffee Klatches where outsiders aren’t appreciated, that’s fine. I’m not really talking about that kind of site but a site that is obviously trying to attract readers and perhaps monetize their traffic. For example, a site about making money online or one that’s discussing finances or one that’s discussing a technical topic. The door is locked.
The two most common reason that I’ve found for people locking down their blogs is that they fear critical comments or spam comments.
Dealing With Critical Comments
First of all, remember that you have control. It’s your blog. If you don’t like what someone is saying, delete their comment and, if they keep giving you trouble, use more drastic methods to keep them away from your blog. This is a measure best left for serious problems, not everyday comments with a hint of disagreement or a bit of lively debate. You would seem petty if you deleted a comment by someone who had made a good point about a problem in your post. Why, they might even make you look bad on their blog. For a huge example, take a look at the coup John Cow is scoring on BlogRush (Sucks!) because of them shutting down comments.
Beyond that, simply use good communication by acknowledging the disagree, finding points to agree on, and briefly restate your point in a follow-up comment of your own. In some cases, you might want to fight back strongly but always try to keep it as civil as you can. Sometimes you may have to agree to disagree with a commentator. That’s OK too.
Dealing With Comment Spam
Comment spam is a fact of life. This blog got comment spam within the first few hours of operation. Fortunately, if you use the Akismet plug-in and/or a CAPTCHA entry plug-in you can eliminate most comment spam from the start. These will be some that does get through from time to time. Just report it as spam to Akismet and be done with it. It’s not a big deal.
Recently there have been paid commentators going from site to site, dropping comments, some actually good but most obvious and bad. If you think such a comment fits your site, leave it in. However, you should edit the comment and delete the spammy URL. As for the others, report ‘em.
What do you do? Do you keep the barn door shut tight or do you allow people to comment on your blog? What are some of your ways for dealing with critical comments and spam. Leave me a comment and let me know.