Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Monday, May 7, 2012

NBI: Avoid Barriers to Commenting on Blogger

I was going to be inspiring on my first advice post for the New Blogger Initiative, but a more prosaic topic seems in order. You've probably read blogs where there is a lively discussion on many or most of the posts. Tobold's MMORPG Blog comes to mind. This is a good indication of the health of a blog. As Tish Tosh Tesh so eloquently points out, blogging is a long-form social endeavor.  On the other hand, Syp was ranting this morning on Twitter about the barriers to commenting on some Blogspot blogs. One of the great things about having a blog is the opportunity to interact with your readers through the comment system. Anything that inhibits this system interferes with that dialogue that you want to have with your readers. If you have chosen Blogger (the blogging site also known as blogspot.com, run by Google) you may have some barriers to your blog that deter potential comments.

Blogger has several options to be set by the blog author. My settings are visible in the screenshot below.
Sorry if it's small, click on it to see the full size. Notice the setting third from the bottom, "Show word verification." I have it set to "No." This is the CAPTCHA™ option. You've seen CAPTCHAs if you've spent any time on the Internet, a misshapen version of a word or characters that you must type in to verify your status as a human being. This is an annoying hoop that many people will avoid, depriving you of comments. I recommend not requiring them of your readers, which is why mine is set to "No." Blogger has a spam filter, not perfect, but sufficient, in my estimation.
Another way to avoid spam ending up on your blog is to set up comment moderation. I have moderation set up for comments on posts older than 14 days. I saw somewhere once that that is a good range, because spammers sometimes attempt to spam older posts. People rarely leave comments on my really old posts, but it does happen. I get an email notification when something comes in. Of course, I have options set to receive notices on all incoming commentary anyway. This is found on Blogger right under "Posts and Comments" called "Mobile and Email." The options on that page are fairly self explanatory, but there are small help buttons next to each setting, if you have a question.

Syp said that non-Blogger users have to input their basic info every time they want to comment, something that Wordpress blogs remember for you. I can't verify this easily right now because of browser settings at my office. I actually have to input my info on Wordpress from here, whereas on my personal computer running Firefox, I don't have the same issue.

One last thing that is a personal preference: I like to have my comments at the bottom of my blog posts rather than have a separate page like some folks on Blogger. To be honest, I am not sure what the purpose of a separate comments page is. Don't take your commenters to a different page. Let them comment in line with the post and other comments.

Bottom line (TL;DR): You want comments. Don't make it hard for real commenters, even if you have to deal with occasional spam.

11 comments:

  1. Another blogger hindrance to comment is trying to use a Wordpress identity. There's a 80% chance it won't work. It will give you an error message saying something like this: "Your OpenID credentials could not be verified". I'll try and use it here. If it posts without any further remarks, it worked. Otherwise...(wait a few)

    Nope. I am getting the error message. I can't post using wordpress.com/gravatar credentials.

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    1. Considering that the Wordpress/Gravatar ID system is screwed up right now, that does not surprise me. Since that is beyond the control of the commenter or the blog author I didn't include it in my discussion. I had to de-couple my normal email from Gravatar completely to be able to leave any comment at all on Wordpress blogs.

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    2. Thanks for sharing, Comment-tester Bob. XP

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    3. Isn't this the cookie problem we figured out awhile back? If you have anything other than a wide open cookie acceptance setting, it will bounce since the credentials require a third party cookie that does not belong to Wordpress or Blogger either one. I was having the same problem, only in reverse - as a Wordpress guy, I couldn't comment on Blogger sites, until I worked out that cookie thing.

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  2. As shown today my captcha was actually on eventhough i was convinced it wasn't, guess that's the downside of always being logged into google, never hurts to actually check your settings once in a while.

    And i actually never thought about that comments on a seperate page thing, guess blogger is doing that by default cause it was doing that on mine, so i changed that, thanks for that tip.

    I guess one is never too old to learn :)

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    1. It's a good thing to check settings on every site every once in a while, including Twitter, and obviously Facebook and G+. Since a lot of beginners just go with the defaults at first, I thought I'd bring it up.

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  3. I have my Blogger comment settings exactly as you recommend so obviously I endorse your advice!

    Since the recent changes to Wordpress I have to sign in every time I go to comment on anyone's Wordpress blog, just because once in the dim, distant past I made a Wordpress account that I never used. Drives me nuts.

    Even worse are blogs that use the Atom verification thing. Those I simply avoid.

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    1. I'm trying to think if I've ever seen Atom. It sounds familiar . . .

      And thank you for your endorsement. :D

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  4. I too endorse this advice. And is it just me or did the whole "your replies show up on a different page" thing only become the default with the recent revamp of Blogger? I just went and changed my settings to in-line, hadn't given it much though apart from a subconscious "something seems different, my comment page is ugly now...".

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    1. I dunno. I noticed a few other blogs had the comments on a different page. Mine have always been inline that I am aware of.

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