As someone who writes an anonymous (ish) blog, the one thing I have a lot of trouble with is trolls. Your garden variety, lurking-under-bridges-to-eat-you type, except with access to the Internet and lots of free time to click repeatedly on the comments section and leave words of wisdom.
Now the problem is: what to do with these trolls? Blogger offers basic comment moderation but with the kind of traffic I get, it’s impractical to think about enabling it, because it would mean wading through lots of stuff on a daily basis. This also kind of defeats the whole point of having comments in the first place — to interact with your readers.
With this in mind, I went to Google and looked for stuff that would help me moderate or edit my comments, without me actually having to do all that work.
Here’s what I found
The first thing I came across was the official Google blog, with a post on how to prevent comment spam (googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html). It tells you how to deal with people who post links like “Buy the best flowers at Green Garden House”. Usually, on Blogger, a simple enabling of word verification for comments will get rid of a large chunk, but for the ones who still get through (and for people who don’t use Blogger) the post gives some easy code to insert into your template that basically makes spam links non-clickable.
Then there’s Haloscan (www.haloscan.com), which is an external client for comments on blogs. It offers nicer graphics, a comments back-up section, moderation and editing, spam filters and different templates to prettify your comments if you want to. Other than that, it offers services like a rating for each post that your visitors can click on and polls. Fun and pretty, and I do like pretty things.
Speaking of pretty things, the Design Blog had a post on 30 must-see comment designs for website designers. Not downloadable widgets, but a good place to get inspiration from if you’re an independent designer. I particularly like the design over at Elitist Snob (www.elitistsnob.com) but you can check out the others at (www.blogdesignblog.com/blog-design/30-comment-designs-for-webdesigners).
Since a lot more people are choosing Wordpress over Blogger these days, I found a useful little post on Wordpress comment widgets (www.gosublogger.com/2008/01/10-wordpress-addons-for-comment-section.html) and it made me wish I had Wordpress too (although, old Bloggers can’t learn new tricks)!
Among my favourites on this list are the Paged Comments plug-in which allows you to divide the comments into different pages if you get a lot of traffic, a top commentator plug-in which basically gives someone who repeatedly visits your blog and leaves a comment on every post a little back-pat, and an edit comments, which lets both admin and readers edit comments.
I was feeling so left out of all this Wordpress love that I had to include the recent comments widget from www.madtomatoe.com/recent-comments-widget-for-blogger. It’s a piece of code you enter in your template and voila! Recent comments are displayed all nice on your sidebar.
And if you’d rather comment
A great post at Splitbrain (www.splitbrain.org/blog/2007-02/08-tracking_your_blog_comments) lists a set of sites designed to help you track all your different comments on different blogs and see who’s replied to them without actually having to go back and check every hour.
Meenakshi writes a blog at www.thecompulsiveconfessor. blogspot.com and is the author of a soon-to-be released book called You Are Here