What are comments?

Comments are added by readers to the end of posts, in response to the post itself. Usually a comment requires the reader to enter a name, email address and a URL if relevant. You can view comments by clicking on the title of a post and viewing the individual page for the post. Alternatively you can click the 'Comments' or 'Permalink' link at the end of a post.

Do I have to accept comments?

You do not need to accept comments but most successful blogs allow commenting and attract a large number of comments for individual posts. Often the number of comments on a blog is a sign of how many people are reading the blog. This is not always the case as a lot of readers visit blogs without commenting (sometimes called 'lurking'). A blog often fosters a community through lively discussion. If you do not wish to have discussion on your blog you can choose not to accept comments in the feedback settings area of Movable Type.

Can I moderate comments before they appear on my blog?

Yes, set the level of moderation you require in the feedback settings of Movable Type. You have a right to warn and/or ban a commenter if you feel that they are being abusive, harrassing or otherwise not following a code of conduct. You can also apply authentication through the Typekey system, which is a Movable Type authentication system.

Moderating comments

Do I have to develop a Code of Conduct for commenters on my blog?

No, you don't have to develop a code of conduct. You could develop a Comments Policy that spells out the sort of comments that will be tolerated on the site and what will happen if someone steps outside the boundary. Generally, the best rule is common courtesy.

What is comment spam? What can I do about it?

Spam comments are mass-produced junk comments submitted to your blog by automated 'spamming' software. The purpose of content of comment spam is simillar to e-mail spam, as are the problems it causes.

Fortunately, our blog platform comes with a built-in spam filter, which will try and separate legitimate comments from junk ones. The filter works by analysing a comment post to assign points for features which suggest the post is legitimate, eg, an IP or name from a previously approved comment. It subtracts points for features that suggest the post is spam (such as submissions from blacklisted IPs, repeated submissions, and the presence of web or e-mail links). These positive and negative factors are weighed to produce a final score, and if the score is less than zero the message is marked as spam. As with most filtering packages, it isn't perfect, but it will hopefully take a lot of spam comments off your hands. The spam filter is automatic and enabled for all blogs.

How can I avoid getting junk comments?

The simple answer is: you can't. Unlike e-mail spam which can be mitigated by controlling carefully who you give your e-mail address out to, comment spam can only be avoided by never publishing your blog address on the internet, or never having anyone link to it (which is hardly going to help you set up a successful blogging project). That being said, there are a few things you can do to reduce comment spam for yourself and others:

Turn on comment moderation – This is beneficial for a number of reasons. In particular, it prevents those comments that the filter does not catch from being automatically posted to your site. It also means that approved commenters are added to the list of 'acceptable' commenters.

Increase the junk filter sensitivity for your blog – By default, posts which receive a total 'spam score' of less than zero will be relegated to the junk folder. If, however, you think that the spam filter should be more or less stringent you can increase or decrease the threshold 'spam score' for relegation. You do this by going to 'Settings' (in your blog) then 'Publishing' and changing the options for 'junk comments' at the bottom of the page.

How can I get more people to comment on my blog?

There are a number of ways to improve the level of discussion on your blog but these are not foolproof. Often it's just good luck that a blog becomes known and thus the comments improve. You can do things like comment on other blogs you visit, especially those with a similar theme. As most blogs allow you to leave a URL when you leave a comment you will receive visitors that way. If people see you are commenting on their blog they are more likely to comment on yours. You could also try to get your blog listed in the blogrolls of other similar blogs. This can be done by emailing the owner of another blog or by simply linking to them from your blog. Most serious bloggers keep a keen eye on who is linking to them and will reciprocate the link if they like your site.