Cultural Heritage

A UKOLN Blog for the Cultural Heritage sector (now archived)

Policies on Moderation of Blog Comments

Posted by Brian Kelly on February 22nd, 2010

Readers of posts on this blog are free to submit comments.  Comments are published automatically, with no manual approval process required. The decision to permit comments to be published without needing to check the contents was taken in order to minimise barriers for readers wishing to engage in discussions on the blog.

Dangers with this approach includes risks that automated comment spam messages are published or that inappropriate comments are submitted.

The risk that automated spam posts will be published is minimised by the Akismet spam filter which has proved successful in trapping a large number of spam comments.  The automated tool has also helped to minimise the effort needed by the blog administrators in checking submitted comments and choosing whether to delete inappropriate comment or publish legitimate comments.

The risk that inappropriate comments may be submitted has, in reality, not happened to any significant extent, with  the occasional spam comment which Akismet fails to detect being spotted and deleted normally in a few hours after publication. We also are aware that readers of this blog are capable of spotting spam comments for themselves, so we do not feel there is a risk to our reputation if this happens.

However although our policy on unmoderated comments is appropriate for this blog, this may not be the case for all blogs.  If you blog service does not have an automated comment spam filter, then moderation may be needed in order to avoid your blog becoming filled with spam comments, thereby probably inhibiting legitimate readers from submitting their own comments.

If you run a very popular blog, or your blog covers newsworthy topics (e.g. global warming) you could possibly find that management of blog comments becomes time-consuming.

In order to assist blog owners in formulating their policies i n this area  a UKOLN briefing document on Policies On Blog Comments has been published, based on feedback received on a recent UK Web Focus blog post.

We hope this document is useful for those of you who are involving in providing blog services to your user communities.