Gini Dietrich

Moderating Blog Comments

By: Gini Dietrich | October 27, 2010 | 
147

As you know, my top 10 blog posts I read on vacation on Monday included Shel Holtz’s blog about moderating comments. Then, as we were recording InsidePR yesterday, we discussed the issue again. You can read Shel’s post here and listen to the discussion with Joe Thornley here. Sneak peak: Joe and I disagree about moderating blog comments.

I included Shel’s post because I think it’s an interesting viewpoint and because I don’t like reading only those things that support my thinking. I respect the heck out of his decision to moderate his comments. We all have different strategies for our blogs. His clearly is not the same as ours…plus he thinks if someone says something negative about someone else on his blog, he’s liable.

I vehemently disagree!

He says he found a comment that said, “Name redacted is a thief and imposter take no note of him. He is a fly by night character that moves on as he owes money.”

Come on. First of all, if that got through the spam filter (which is unlikely it would), who is to say you can’t go back and unapprove it later? Have guidelines on your blog that state you will delete comments that appear libelous to you. And delete it.

He goes on to say that he gets a lot of spam that isn’t caught. Again, I call baloney. There are great spam filters in the best commenting systems such as Livefyre (which we use and LOVE), Disqus, and Intense Debate. We don’t moderate our comments and I think I’ve had to delete maybe two spam comments that got through the filter in the past six months.

He continues his argument that his readers would rather wait hours to see their comment appear than to slog through several spam comments. I maintain just using a better commenting system because, as one of his readers, I don’t go back to see if my comment was approved. Ever. He’s lost me until he writes another post.

Here is the thing. Blogging, as Kevin Dugan stated in a comment here yesterday, is 80 IQ points. Which means the rest of the smarts come from you. And if I moderate your comments, that defeats the purpose of community, of reacting off of one another, of creating debate, of opening our minds, and of making all of us smarter.

Blogs that moderate comments always give me the impression that they’re unprofessional – kind of like having an AOL email address for business today. And, if my comment is moderated, I won’t come back later to a) see if it was approved and b) engage in the conversation again. Sure, I won’t stop reading your blog for that reason, but you won’t have my engagement.

If you want a blog that builds community and creates a 150 IQ, find a commenting system that filters the spam for you and let the people talk.

The floor is yours – let’s elevate this post to genius level. Moderating comments or no?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • I’m with you, Gini. There is no legal precedent assigning liability to a blogger for libelous comments submitted by a third party. It makes much more sense to post comments immediately and moderate them throughout the day to delete any that are profane or otherwise inappropriate. Otherwise you’re engaging in conversation prevention, not engagement.

  • anndunawayteh

    Great post and very timely! I just installed Livefyre on my blog and love it so far. I didn’t have a good spam filter and so did the whole approval thing which is tedious and I think did cut down on the comments I was getting. Glad to not have to do that anymore!

  • Excellent post Gini, I am in your camp. I have some clients who feel a strong need to moderate comments, and in some cases I think it is wise such as a government agency. It’s a matter of choice of course and it’s good to have the options.
    Regarding this: “he thinks if someone says something negative about someone else on his blog, he’s liable.” I am not a lawyer but the way I understand it you are more likely to be liable if you make an effort to moderate than if you do not. Maybe someone with a legal background can better explain that. It might help Shel protect his liability.

  • I am totally with you, Gini, I used to moderate but I watch my e-mails all the time (too much perhaps) and approved them very quickly at the time. Now I changed my settings. 2 or more links will switch to moderated status but everyone else goes straight through. I would rather delete the obvious spam than go the other route and make people wait. The conversation is not complete if you have a big gap in the middle.

    My blog tends to attract polite comments. Now I see comments in my local newspaper that I think are mean and lean toward slander and those are posted. I wonder if newspapers attract different kinds of people who comment. I don’t expect people to agree with me but I want them to use civility in their conversation. If I had large numbers of comments like my newspaper, I might lean toward moderating and then you are faced with the dilemma of if you delete, is that right or fair?

    You always make me think!

  • I agree with you 100% on all points. Akismet has protected me from 7335 spam comments, versus the 3465 real ones that are up at Barataria, my main home blog. I’ve only had to delete a few over the 3 years I’ve been at it. I see no reason at all to moderate. Intelligent blogs rarely have comment sections that degenerate into flame wars, so if you are a respectful and thoughtful writer it should all work out nicely!

  • @JulieWalraven My theory on newspapers is that they have worked very hard over the years to develop their image as an absolute authority – and so people want to rip them down from their pedestal. So I think that newspaper comments are a different animal altogether and reflect the legacy media / social media divide more than anything. I have a longer theory about general rudeness on the ‘net being a by product of people interacting through machines, making it a cousin to “road rage”, but that’s a longer story. 🙂

  • Gini,
    You are right, moderation is counter productive to creating an open forum in which to exchange ideas. Your blog portfolio and regular audience also self-moderate (no profane tirades). As a new blogger I moderate because my portfolio can bring inappropriate comments, plus my inner control freak still has a say in the matter. As for spam, I hope to one day merit receiving it.

  • MimiMeredith

    I do moderate comments because my spam filter is almost non existent and for every delightful community-based exchange, there is someone selling drugs or replica handbags. This is because I started out on GoDaddy. Note to anyone. Don’t do that. I’m currently in the process of moving the blog, and improving the commenting feature is one of my top priorities for the sake of buiding community. I haven’t gotten big enough to attract school yard fights on my comment page–nor can I imagine that happening on a blog that focuses on growing goodness. Regardless, I am so eager to step back and watch conversations flow. And in that environment, should any bullies raise their heads, I’ll be glad to remind them of the basics of civil interaction. It will be a great teaching opportunity.
    Ah, but I digress, as I’m not yet Gini Dietrich and my longest comment thread on any post has been 19 comments long. I can’t wait for the day when I have comments tripping over one another as great conversations build into a swell of community. I don’t think any of that can occur in a moderated forum. But for now, let’s not judge moderators too harshly as, I too, am one of them.

  • nataliewardel

    I’m in your camp. For larger blogs that get so many comments, the discussion becomes as important as the post.

    I get really annoyed when small blogs moderate comments, or when they have a captcha thing. I know for my small blog, the amount of spam that isn’t caught by a filter is totally manageable.

  • Unless there’s a specific reason for moderation (let’s say legal, as that’s the most frequent reason for moderation), then fair enough. Otherwise, no, I don’t believe in moderation.

    Like you say, if someone gets through and leaves something nasty, delete. If they repeat, warn. If they still repeat, three strikes and out – block their IP and they lose commenting rights.

    I put up a blog comment policy, just as guidelines:

    http://dannybrown.me/about-this-blog/comment-policy/

    But I haven’t really had to do much, to be honest. Shel’s points are a bit wacky, as you point out so well. But, to each their own.

  • I agree with you – no moderation unless something becomes an issue (or has legal implications)…

    if you cherry pick your comments or delete the stuff that doesn’t ‘fit’ with you or your post.. you might as well a) not even blog or b) don’t allow comments since what you had to say was so profound nobody could add to it anyway… 😉

  • I don’t moderate comments. The entries are my area to talk; therefore, the comments should be the readers’ space to talk. Unless the comments start getting filled with spam, libel, or threats, I let the commenters discuss whatever they please.

  • @sushi Love this quote right here:

    “The entries are my area to talk; therefore, the comments should be the readers’ space to talk.”

    That’s gold.

  • Hmm. I wonder if this has anything to do with Shel using ExpressionEngine. I used to use it and always found the comment system a pain.

    That aside, I think it’s absolutely okay to moderate comments. I block spammers (of course) and anyone who attempts to leave a “friendly” comment that is a slightly more sophisticated form of spam.

  • @JonBuscall I think that’s more filtering as opposed to moderation, Jon?

    I’m like you, I’ll block and ban spammers and other donkeys, but I’ll let every other comment through automatically. I think this adds to the immediate conversation (as highlighted by the notification I got about a new comment, and replying to you almost instantly).

    Moderating comments so they only appear after blogger approval would kill this interaction stone dead. Or at least just leave a way watered down version of it. 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @dannybrown @JonBuscall I’m curious too, Jon. Is it more filtering instead of moderating? You don’t moderate your comments. I know because I comment there and it always shows up immediately.

  • ginidietrich

    @dannybrown @sushi Hence elevating blog posts from 80 IQ points to 150. We aren’t smart by ourselves. And Danny, that also points to your weakness post from earlier this week.

  • ginidietrich

    @RandomShelly Dang. I wish I’d moderated you out. BTW! I found my bracelet!!!

  • ginidietrich

    @dannybrown Have you ever seen a legal situation that it makes sense to moderate? In financial services and healthcare it’s required. But other than that?

  • ginidietrich

    @nataliewardel Or more important!

  • ginidietrich

    @MimiMeredith You make me laugh out loud. Literally! You should check out Livefyre when you get your blog moved. I am in love. Like want to marry the system, in love.

  • ginidietrich

    @barryrsilver So when will you stop moderating?

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid And, even if there are flame wars, I feel like that’s part of the responsibility of opening up your community. If you only attracted people who agreed with you, no one learns anything.

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid @JulieWalraven I agree with moderation on newspaper sites mostly because you can’t avoid the slanderous and anonymity there.

  • ginidietrich

    @hackmanj It would be interesting to get the take of a lawyer on this. I’ll see what I can do.

  • ginidietrich

    @anndunawayteh Love, love, love Livefyre! Do you love it??

  • ginidietrich

    @johnheaney I wonder if there ever will be legal precendent on assigning liabiliy to the blogger? Oh…and thanks for finding the typo for me!

  • @GiniDietrich @dannybrown @JonBuscall It’s definitely filtering from my part. What I like about Discus is you can reply, delete and approve with email. Makes it easy to manage comments.

    That said, I love how Livefyre works on this site. Just couldn’t get it to work on mine ;(

  • @JonBuscall @GiniDietrich You should speak to @jkretch and @jennalanger about @Livefyre on your site mate – I bet they’d be happy to help. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @JonBuscall No! Really? Hey @jmatthicks! Help Jon!

  • @GiniDietrich I’m thinking political blogs as one example. There will always be some indutsries I guess are just ripe for moderation due to idiots with an agenda. But for the most part, I just see moderation as blogger roadkill.

  • @GiniDietrich Ya know, I never really thought that out before. Yes, now that you mention it, if a flame war did break out on my blog I’d leave it (and try to referee, ‘natch). It’s good to have thunk this out before it happened, too. Thanks!

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid Yeah – it’s not fun when it happens the first (or second or third) time. You grow a pretty thick skin and let people have their say.

  • @wabbitoid @GiniDietrich I once wrote a post that probably saw me become one of the most hated people with a certain Tumblr community, as the comments bear out:

    http://dannybrown.me/2009/04/13/does-twitter-monitor-its-brand-fake-twittercom-suggests-no/

    But the funny thing with flame wars is that they can often have good in them, too. While I was getting crapped on in the comments, I was still aware of how a community came together to “protect” one of their own. I wrote about that here:

    http://dannybrown.me/2009/04/16/community-spirit-and-blog-comments-redux/

    Yeah, flame wars can be a pain in the ass, but if it shows that people are passionate as well, then sometimes it can be encouraging to see. Just don’t go starting them deliberately… 😉

    PS – Gini, sorry for the linkage, I’m such a spammy troll. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @dannybrown I’m taking @JulieWalraven advice and moderating you out for TWO links!

  • @hackmanj That’s a great point. Look at P2P sites, or even Twitter. If you attempt to moderate then you are in control and more responsible for what shows up on the page. But if you are just providing the platform or place to share ideas, it is not your responsibility to moderate what people say. Having a disclaimer is never a bad idea either.

  • anndunawayteh

    @GiniDietrich I only installed it yesterday but so far it is great!

  • @JulieWalraven Are you seeing these comments from your local newspaper in print or online? If they are on print, that’s interesting because the newspaper is selecting those to be published. They are moderating, but maybe they want more controversy so they’ll post comments that disagree with the original post.

  • @GiniDietrich @MimiMeredith Let me know when you make the switch Mimi, we’d love for you to join the Livefyre community!

  • @GiniDietrich @JonBuscall Hey Jon, we want you on Livefyre! There was some bad data in your comment database and we’re working on fixing that (oh, the irony). We’ll get you on Livefyre as soon as it’s ready. Reply/moderate by e-mail is on our feature list, coming soon!

  • @GiniDietrich I have no doubt that there is an enterprising attorney somewhere calculating how to make the blog owner liable for comments submitted by anonymous posters. After all, who’s more likely to have readily identifiable and deep pockets? Follow the money.

  • Let’s take a look at something here. In 7 hours, this post has received 40 comments (now 41). All of them are insightful, informative, and nothing close to spam. I’m sure this is mostly because SpinSucks has such a great community around it. But I can say that I saw comments streaming in live, and that inspired me to respond right away (and another comment just came in as I typed).

    This is the key point right here – “I don’t go back to see if my comment was approved. Ever. He’s lost me until he writes another post.” Conversations take back and forth participation. Leaving a comment then never returning won’t create community and won’t encourage more, better comments. You could almost say it encourages spam, because they don’t plan on coming back. They just want the link bait. I’d rather go through and delete spam than approve all the good comments. I’m glad you feel the same way.

  • Barbara

    I don’t moderate comments but wish I could find a filter to eliminate spam. And I mean the ‘I’m going to leave a comment simply to have a link back to my site’ spam. Rampant in the food blogging community. Granted; recipes don’t often illicit mind blowing conversation but I wish that what I call First Responders would quit using my blog and others to build page rank.

  • ginidietrich

    @JennaLanger This is exactly why I love Livefyre so much…you guys have figured out to make us keep coming back for more! I love, love, love it!!

  • ginidietrich

    @Barbara Have you tried what @JulieWalraven does with moderating comments that have links in them? That might help?

  • @JennaLanger Love the idea about a disclaimer, I wonder how much protection that would provide.

  • MimiMeredith

    @JennaLanger @GiniDietrich Thanks! We’re in process! We are determining the best blog host now. I know…most people do this prior to blogging for two years. I’m a rebel!

  • MimiMeredith

    @JennaLanger @GiniDietrich I should have made it clear…I am absolutely using Levefyre. Jenna–I can’t wait to be part of the community. I am just trying to do things in a more appropriate sequence this time around!

  • Barbara

    @GiniDietrich @JulieWalraven
    They’re not putting links per se in the comment; just leaving stupid, vacuous comments knowing their web url is linked to their ID in the comment. I’ve noticed a decline in the value of my site to do that since I started listed comments with the last one posted first on the page…they’re missing half of their free advertising if they lose the chance to have someone see them first and click on their site!

    I’m going to take a look at Julie’s site though…because I do also get those commenters who link to a recipe on their site. I don’t mind if it’s not an obvious free ad for themselves but if purpose of comment is seeminly just to include that ad…yeah, I would like to address that better too.

    Thanks, B

  • Mhandy1

    You are 100% right… If we ever become a nation that sues bloggers for comments left on their sites we are living in a scary time. I hate waiting to see comments.. 100% with you, unless you are moderating from a brand protection angle moderation shouldn’t be a consideration… I get protect sites that kids go on it makes sense but otherwise let people talk!

  • I totally get and even kinda agree with what you are saying, but I personally have no problem with moderating comments.

    You are filtering out SPAM by requiring users to comment via livefyre. I think a lot of people, including myself, moderate because of SPAM.

    In addition, while we have no problem with someone promoting their own article in a comment, but we don’t want someone to post a comment that is completely irrelevant.to the post just to get their link on your blog.

    I think a lot of it has to do with how big your blog is too. The more comments you get, you can get away with a spammy comment being on your blog for a while, if you are getting few comments, it looks really bad if all the comments are spam.

  • I say “No” to moderating comments. Comments shouldn’t sit in a que for hours waiting to be published. In most cases, they take a day or more to get published and frankly that’s kind of annoying. If I come back a day later and it still hasn’t been approved, I’m sorry but I’m inclined to not want to return and participate again.

    If it’s spam your concerned about, then activate Akismet and/or get a better commenting system like Disqus or Intense Debate. Both allow you to moderate comments from your mobile device (something I do all the time).

  • @GiniDietrich @JulieWalraven Pish posh.

  • @dannybrown @JonBuscall I’m in agreement with Danny here. I prefer auto-approval so that I can reply instantly to conversations that are taking place NOW. That’s much more effective and leads to more dialogue (IMO).

  • I totally get and even kinda agree with what you are saying, but I personally have no problem with moderating comments so long as you are not filtering or editing the comments.

    Gini, you are filtering out SPAM by requiring users to comment via livefyre. I think a lot of people, including myself, moderate because of SPAM.

    In addition, while there’s nothing wrong promoting your own article in a comment, your comment should add to or at least be somewhat relevant to the post. A comment that is completely irrelevant.to the post that is just there to post a link to their blog should be deleted.

    A lot of it has to do with the popularity of your blog too. If you are getting a lot of comments, you can get away with a spammy comment being on your blog. However, if you are getting few comments, it looks really bad if all the comments are spam.

  • I totally get and even kinda agree with what you are saying, but I personally have no problem with moderating comments so long as you are not filtering or editing the comments.
    Gini, you are filtering out SPAM by requiring users to comment via livefyre. I think a lot of people, including myself, moderate because of SPAM.

    In addition, while there’s nothing wrong with promoting your own article in a comment, your comment should add to or at least be somewhat relevant to the post. A comment that is completely irrelevant.to the post that is just there to post a link to their blog should be deleted.

    A lot of it has to do with the popularity of your blog too. If you are getting a lot of comments, you can get away with a spammy comment being on your blog. However, if you are getting few comments, it looks really bad if all the comments are spam.

  • I totally get and even kinda agree with what you are saying, but I personally have no problem with moderating comments so long as you are not filtering or editing the comments.

    Gini, you are filtering out SPAM by requiring users to comment via livefyre. I think a lot of people, including myself, moderate because of SPAM.

    In addition, while there’s nothing wrong with promoting your own article in a comment, your comment should add to or at least be somewhat relevant to the post. A comment that is completely irrelevant.to the post that is just there to post a link to their blog should be deleted.

    A lot of it has to do with the popularity of your blog too. If you are getting a lot of comments, you can get away with a spammy comment being on your blog. However, if you are getting few comments, it looks really bad if all the comments are spam.

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  • @RicardoBueno You are right, but there are still those comments you want to filter out due to inappropriate content, etc. I use Akismet, but it sometimes gives false positives or misses spam (rarely).

    Regardless, we in agreement that comments should be approved in a timely manner. The blogger should be actively monitoring their comments every now and then. When this becomes too much work, it is probably time to stop moderating comments.

    Again, I think is for smaller, less popular sites. Sites like ESPN, CNN, etc. have no reason to have you wait for approval to get your comment published.

    When I say moderating comments, I mean having the approval system for comments. Regardless of if you have this system in place, it should go without says that you should be moderating the comments on your site.

  • @RicardoBueno
    You are right, but there are still those comments you want to filter out due to inappropriate content, etc. I use Akismet, but it sometimes gives false positives or misses spam (rarely).

    Regardless, we are in agreement that comments should be approved in a timely manner. The blogger should be actively monitoring their comments every now and then. When this becomes too much work, it is probably time to stop moderating comments.

    Again, I think is for smaller, less popular sites. Sites like ESPN, CNN, etc. have no reason to have you wait for approval to get your comment published.

    When I say moderating comments, I mean having the approval system for comments. Regardless of if you have this system in place, it should go without says that you should be moderating the comments on your site.

  • @RicardoBueno
    You are right, but there are still those comments you want to filter out due to inappropriate content, etc. I use Akismet, but it sometimes gives false positives or misses spam (rarely).

    Regardless, we are in agreement that comments should be approved in a timely manner. Those who elect to require approval prior to comments posting should be actively monitoring their comments. When this becomes too much work, it is probably time to stop moderating comments.

    Again, I think requiring comment approval is for smaller, less popular sites.

    When I say moderating comments, I mean having the approval system for comments. Regardless of if you have this system in place, it should go without says that you should be moderating the comments on your site.

  • @Barbara This is the reason I am not against moderating comments. If you do elect not to, you still have to monitor your comments and delete spam, etc.

  • @GiniDietrich I’ll reconsider when it takes two hands to tally comments. (fact, not self-pity)

  • @JennaLanger @GiniDietrich OMG I hope so. I thought you guys had forgotten about me. I’m really hoping to get Livefyre sorted ahead of the new business website we’re launching. Look forward to it 🙂

  • @RicardoBueno @DannyBrown Yup, I’m with you on this too Ricardo. That’s what I like about Livefyre. It keeps the conversation going really quickly.

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  • I have not moderated for years — sure I use SPAM filters but I don’t realy consider that moderation — everything is published without delay, which I believe is important to the momentum of the blog comment conversation. You know how frustrating it is when there’s a satellite feed on TV and that short delay between what the interviewee hears and their response? Moderating is that times ten to the momentum of a conversation. Livefyre is a fantastic tool to change the way we interact with comments and I’m eager to see greater adoption of it.

  • KenMueller

    I agree. In most cases, on a business related blog, I see no need for moderating. I use Akismet and I can think of only one instance out of thousands where a spam comment has gotten through. It works wonders.

    I don’t get a ton of comments on my blog, though I wish I did. And I’ve even got comments from people who disagree with me. I have no problem with that.
    Other things that bother me include people who blog and turn OFF the comment feature. We have a local blogger (troll) who uses his blog to blast every one and every thing local. And yet he won’t allow comments (but will comment on other people’s blogs).

    Also, I had a comment today from someone using a fake name. I don’t like anonymous or pseudonymous comments. If you want to comment, use your real name. Don’t hide behind another name. I left this particular comment up so I could address it, but at times I’m tempted to remove them, and let them know why I removed them.

    In the end…don’t moderate. Keep the conversation going and flowing!

  • Ken, I honestly don’t even consider a blog without the comment feature enabled a BLOG. It’s just so counter to the culture of social media.
    I also agree with you regarding fake names — I would not remove it but will be tempted to openly mock them for being a chicken.

  • I agree. Working for Livefyre, I see a LOT of blogs and read a LOT of blogs and thus read a LOT of blog comments every week. Rarely, if ever, do I see spam. And that’s not a plug but I say that to say even without Livefyre, I can’t imagine having as much spam as he seems to suggest he gets. Moderation is necessary at times, because tempers can flair and sometimes inappropriate words, phrases, etc. can be used which shouldn’t stay. But, about 99% of the time, you won’t see anything of the such.

  • ginidietrich

    @jmatthicks I’ve only had to filter out one spam comment since I started using Livefyre.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller UG! What is the point in having a blog with the comment feature off?!? Seth Godin does it, and I don’t agree with him on it, but I understand why he does it. Everyone else (trolls) should not blog if they don’t want to engage an audience. Unless it’s required, like in financial services.

  • ginidietrich

    @Marijean I agree … filtering spam is not moderating comments. And THANK YOU for driving people here from your blog!! xoxo

  • ginidietrich

    @mirbiz I think there are two separate issues here: Moderating comments and filtering spam. I totally think you should filter spam. But we haven’t moderated comments since day one…in the days when not even my mom read the blog (she does now every day, thank you very much!). I also have no problem with someone promoting a link in their comment, as long as it’s useful to the conversation. When I suggested moderating those out, it was in the context of people using it as a promotion platform.

    So I think you can more than kinda agree with me…it sounds like we completely agree!

  • ginidietrich

    @RicardoBueno I’m impressed you would go back a day later. I would never go back. I likely would read the blog again because I subscribe, but I probably won’t comment again.

  • ginidietrich

    @Mhandy1 Isn’t THAT the truth! I really hope we never get to a point that bloggers can be sued because of comments left. That’s like suing a newspaper for some slanderous comment some jerk left anonymously.

  • @GiniDietrich the part we disagree on is that I think it’s acceptable to moderate comments, especially for smaller blogs.

    We both agree on deleting irrelevant comments and that comments should not be edited, etc.

    Where we disagree is you are suggesting that moderating (having to approve comments before they go live) should not done at all. I think it’s acceptable so long as you approve comments in a timely manner. Hence, why I kinda agree and not totally agree.

  • @GiniDietrich
    We both agree on deleting irrelevant comments, spam, etc. We also agree that comments should not be edited.

    Where we disagree is you suggest moderating (having to approve comments before they go live) should not be done at all. I think it’s acceptable, especially for less popular blogs that are targets for spammers (not necessarily bots).

    Hence, why I kinda agree, but not totally agree.

  • @GiniDietrichit may also be that I’m just too lazy to go back and search through comments once they have been posted. It’s easier for me to read and respond to them in the approval/deletion phase.

    Don’t get me wrong. If you are trying to get a conversation going, I whole heartedly agree that the moderation method stunts the community’s experience.

  • As I just commented over on Danny Brown’s blog, I am seeing Livefyre more and more — and I am hating it more and more. The user interface is just ugly. And that’s the tip. I need to compose my thoughts into a blog post. That may come out next week.

  • @ariherzog Maybe you should just stop commentating on blogs where your user experience isn’t what you want it to be, Ari? I’m guessing folks that use the @Livefyre system are doing so because they like it?

  • JGoldsborough

    @GiniDietrich @jmatthicks The Livefyre demo I saw at Blogworld made me a fan. I am working on giving my blog a much-needed upgrade and will be looking to Livefyre first. If Facebook has done one thing well, it’s keep users engaged in the conversations in which they initially choose to participate. The Livefyre upgrade behaves in much the same way, allowing commenters to notify the user they are replying to via Twitter, FB and updating comments in real-time (with a notification when that comment applies to you).

    The most annoying thing for me (and my blog is not a good example yet :)) is commenting on a blog, clicking the “e-mail me when others comment box” and not getting those e-mails for a number of reasons. Anyway, long story to say that I think Livefyre’s new comment features rock! Glad to hear you are a fan, Gini.

  • @ariherzog Hi Ari, as I mentioned over on Danny Brown ‘s blog, I would love to speak with you before you write and publish the blog post. But either way I’m looking forward to your critique and what you think we can do better.

  • ginidietrich

    @ariherzog Well phooey on you! I love Livefyre. More than Disqus, Intense Debate, or anything else. It’s too bad you can’t provide constructive advice on the blog topic.

  • ginidietrich

    @jgoldsborough You’re exactly right! I love that you can bring others into the conversation with the @ sign and that it delivers comments in bulk instead of every time someone comments. I think you’ll really like using it.

  • @GiniDietrich To be fair, that’s not too constructive either, Gini. Why do you like this more than other commenting systems?

  • @ariherzog @GiniDietrich Perhaps Gini’s response was set by your comment, Ari? Perhas you can provide *constructive” feedback on your post, and Gini could offer a *constructive* response, and then we can all *construct* to use whatever system each of us prefers? 😉

  • @dannybrown @GiniDietrich There are just so many reasons I dislike Livefyre, so here’s one: If I close this browser, and reopen it and try to add another comment, I will see the button say “Post comment as” and ask me for a choice, rather than remembering the prior browser session’s choice.

    Or, how about the bigger reason that Livefyre is no different than a comment registration system? Why force your readers to do X in order to comment?

  • @dannybrown @GiniDietrich Fair enough.

    My biggest beef with Livefyre is it is a comment registration system that 1) requires wannabe commenters to go through hoops and ladders just to post a comment. I’ve read that many use this to cut down on spam; that’s why WordPress plugins like Akismet exist, and other blog platforms allow the commenter to type in captcha or word vertification systems.

    If I want to add a comment on a Disqus or Intensedebate enabled blog, and don’t want to log in via Twitter, Facebook, etc (or don’t have such an account), I can merely type my name and email address and voila. With Livefyre, that’s not allowed, requiring me to create an account.

    That, and I always click the optional buttons to receive followup comments by email. The Livefyre system screws the system, where all new comments are now “sent by” Livefyre and the subject is the subject of the post — forcing me to click into the email message to see whose blog it belongs to.

    I can go on, if you like. I’ll write a blog post on this in a few days.

  • @ariherzog @GiniDietrich You have a comment policy at AriWriter that says you have to have a valid email address to comment – isn’t that forcing readers “through a hoop” to comment? Or is that an email list-buidling tactic?

    You’re also crowd-sourcing a change to your comments, where people have to use proper names as opposed to pseudonyms. Again, another “hoop”.

    And not sure about @jkretch @JennaLanger and the Livefyre system messing with comment updates – the URL and blog is in the email sent, so you know whose blog you’ve had a reply on.

    Here’s a thought – perhaps instead of hating on a system, you should hate on the blogger. After all, we’re the ones who install such systems, not Livefyre.

  • @dannybrown Touche. You offer valid counter-points so I’m throwing them to the wind. Effective now, any comments left at http://ariwriter.com do not require names or email addresses. Leave them blank, you become Anonymous.

    As such, I’m adding a postscript box to the crowdsourcing post you refer.

    And, the URL/blog is in the email, not the subject as other non-Livefyre blogs do.

    @GiniDietrich @jkretch @JennaLanger

  • @ariherzog
    As you might know, we’re still in private beta. Constructive feedback from both commenters and site owners is how we make the platform better every day. We’re literally building this thing with the feedback we get from the community, including yours. So thank you for laying out what it is you don’t like. With that in mind, I’ll address some of the concerns you mentioned…

    1) Internally we discuss allowing guest comments on an almost daily basis, and it’s possible we’ll allow it at some point. But the reason we currently require registration goes way beyond cutting down on spam. By requiring a low-barrier/one-time registration, Livefyre creates a namespace, which is the basis of social interaction and community. Since every user has a name, we can do things like our smart reply system – which you used in your most recent comment to notify @GiniDietrich @JennaLanger @Dannybrown and myself that you left a comment we should see. This extends to the ability to notify Twitter and Facebook friends as well, like our engineer Benjamin Goering who will now be notified to come read the thread. By requiring registration, we’re trying to create a comment platform that builds community, and creates better conversations. It creates a system that is more like Twitter and Facebook, and less like the troll-filled forums of the past.

    2) When we spoke with commenters, the vast majority of them wanted to be notified about new comments in conversations that they participated in, which is why we default to that setting. Again, the only way to test the appropriateness of that feature is to put it out there and get feedback, which you’ve given and we’re now considering. In the meantime, you can un-follow each conversation after participating by hitting the button at the top of the comment box. You can also change your overall notification settings here: http://livefyre.com/users/notifications

    3) I completely agree with you about the naming structure of new comment notification emails. It’s not as helpful as it could be. So it is now officially on our feature development list to add the site’s domain name to the “from” field in the emails.

    Whether it’s in your blog post, or in an email to me directly – jordank@livefyre.com -please know that we will very actively consider all feedback you have as we continue to build on our (still very new) platform. I hope that through you’re frustrations we can actually benefit and build something better.

    Best, Jordan.

  • JkretchTester01

    @jkretch@JennaLangerBenjamin Goering

    1) Internally we discuss allowing guest comments on an almost daily basis, and it’s possible we’ll allow it at some point. But the reason we currently require registration goes way beyond cutting down on spam. By requiring a low-barrier/one-time registration, Livefyre creates a namespace, which is the basis of social interaction and community. Since every user has a name, we can do things like our smart reply system – which you used in your most recent comment to notify ginidietrich. jennalanger. DannyBrown. and myself that you left a comment we should see. This extends to the ability to notify Twitter and Facebook friends as well, like our engineer Benjamin Goering. who will now be notified to come read the thread. By requiring registration, we’re trying to create a comment platform that builds community, and creates better conversations. It creates a system that is more like Twitter and Facebook, and less like the troll-filled forums of the past.

    2) When we spoke with commenters, the vast majority of them wanted to be notified about new comments in conversations that they participated in, which is why we default to that setting. Again, the only way to test the appropriateness of that feature is to put it out there and get feedback, which you’ve given and we’re now considering. In the meantime, you can un-follow each conversation after participating by hitting the button at the top of the comment box. You can also change your overall notification settings here: http://livefyre.com/users/notifications

    3) I completely agree with you about the naming structure of new comment notification emails. It’s not as helpful as it could be. So it is now officially on our feature development list to add the site’s domain name to the “from” field in the emails.

    Whether it’s in your blog post, or in an email to me directly – jordank@livefyre.com -please know that we will very actively consider all feedback you have as we continue to build on our (still very new) platform. I hope that through you’re frustrations we can actually benefit and build something better.

    Best, Jordan.

  • @jkretch @ariherzog @GiniDietrich @JennaLanger Benjamin Goering And it’s activity and comments like this that make me a supporter of your system, Jordan – cheers.

  • ginidietrich

    @jkretch Jordan, one of the things I find impressive about Livefyre is the amazing customer service. When I installed it, it was running in the background and I hadn’t gone back to it, yet, to see if it had installed when @JennaLanger sent me an email saying there was a hiccup because of the number of comments we had. Then she followed up a few days later to say it was fixed. I installed and it worked. We had a few additional challenges because our blog isn’t built on a WordPress theme, but she worked through it with us.

    The fact that you all read blogs and comments and react to the negative and the positive shows that you understand how community and engagement work together. It’s really, really impressive and, I think, your key differentiator.

    As a business owner myself, I know how hard it is going to be to maintain the level of customer service from each of you (you especially) as you grow. But I think if you continue instilling what you’re doing now in your culture, it will remain your key differentiator. The super cool ability is has to bring people into the conversation is the other. But the fact that you like squirrels? We still need to chat about that. cc: @ariherzog@Dannybrown

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  • @ginidietrich @JGoldsborough We’re here for whatever you need, so you let us know if there is anything we can do my man!

  • shelholtz

    Gosh, Gini, I’m sorry you think my comment spam issue is “baloney” (although I certainly appreciate your using the alternative to BS). From where I sit, calling baloney on me suggests you think I’m lying. I assure you, I’m not. I use Akismet (the same tool used by hundreds of thousands of others); it performs exactly the same on my Expression Engine blog as it would on WordPress or any other platform. According to Wikipedia, it is said to have caught 18.1 billion spam comments and pings as of September 2010. However, it doesn’t stop people paid by companies to physically leave a comment, enter the CAPTCHA words, and use techniques specifically designed to defeat comment spam filters. Other bloggers agree — BL Ochman left a comment to my post indicating she’s getting more and more such comment spam. If you’re not getting it, bully for you! Maybe the spammers haven’t discovered your blog yet. Whatever the reason, I’ll be happy to send you screen shots of the collection I find most waiting for me most mornings, in the event that you still think I’m full of baloney. Or maybe I’d be more credible if I changed out of my jeans. 😉

  • @shelholtz Perhaps WordPress is better at spam filtering than Expression Engine? It does seem a more secure option.On my WordPress blog, Akismet has helped me approve just over 15,000 comments while stopping just over 29,000 spam ones – I’d say that’s pretty effective.

    I don’t think Gini was questioning Akismet (she didn’t mention it here) – she merely stated that there are great comment systems that filter spam effectively. But no matter what system you have in place, a dedicated spammer will always get through (with maybe the exception of Seth Godin’s blog and others like it).

    Spam was just one area of the conversation here – the bigger picture was how flowing a blog is with moderation and timed approval. I think the majority agree that moderated/timed approval blogs aren’t as popular with the majority of blog readers as those with an open approval policy.

    But, to each their own.

  • ginidietrich

    @shelholtz Oh Shel, Shel, Shel. Welcome to the party! If you think spammers haven’t found Spin Sucks, I’d be happy to show you screen shots of the sheer amount Livefyre catches every day that we don’t have to filter through by moderating comments. The technology manages to do that without the human touch. And, if you’re insinuating that your blog is more popular than mine because you get more spam, I invite you to go to compete.com and look at the analytics.

    @Dannybrown is right. This blog post wasn’t about spam. It was about whether or not you should moderate comments. You and I clearly disagree on a lot of topics. But I think that’s OK. Don’t you?

  • shelholtz

    @ginidietrichLivefyre@Dannybrown
    Oh, Gini, Gini, Gini, (Sounds like a 50’s pop tune, doesn’t it?) You must have read much more into my comment than I put there. Of course I understood the theme of your post and didn’t address moderation/no moderation because our posts have already done that. I was merely responding to the notion that I wasn’t being truthful in my post with assurances that I was completely honest about the comment spam I receive. Nor was I drawing a comparison between our blogs. I read your blog regularly and see the volume of comments you attract and am deeply respectful of that. When I suggested spammers may not have found you, I was certainly not suggesting legitimate readers haven’t. In any case, I don’t spend time comparing my stats to others. I’m happy with my readership and even happier with the listenership to my podcast. Pointing to whose analytics are better is kinda like bragging about whose is bigger…er…well, you get the idea. Danny, your question is a reasonable one, but Akismet is Akismet. It works the same regardless of the platform.

    And, Gini, as long as you brought up the moderation/no moderation disagreement (which is not only okay but fun), I’ll also note that I travel virtually every week, usually cross-country. That’s about 10 hours door-to-door when I can’t visit unmoderated comments to weed out the objectionable, the obscene, the heinous and the libelous. That’s 10 hours when these comments can be an annoyance to my readers, none of whom have ever said one word since I started blogging about moderation. After all, how many people check to see if their comment was posted, then zoom back to the blog to see if anybody has responded? Most comments (as I once wrote on my blog) are hit-and-run; they drop in, leave a comment, and never come back to that post. So we’ll just agree to disagree.

    For what it’s worth, I had to reload your blog three times in three different browsers in order to leave this comment. It’s just my own opinion, of course, but I’d rather be moderated than deal with LifeFyre, if this is typical of the experience.

  • ginidietrich

    @shelholtz Three things: 1) I’m very sorry if my post came across as my thinking you weren’t being honest about why you moderate comments. That is not at all what I meant and I’m sorry you read it that way.

    2) I agree on the reloading issue with livefyre . It’s still in private beta and I know they’re working on the kinks. I think the pros far outweigh the cons (filtering spam, engaging commenters, bringing people back to the blog, tagging new readers in the comments, etc.). I think if you stick through it a few more weeks, you’ll love it as much as we do.

    3) Let’s write a Shel, Gini, Shel, Gini 50s song! It’ll be a hit!

    I respect your decision to moderate comments. And you’ll never see me speak in jeans!

  • @shelholtz Hi Shel, Jenna the community manager of Livefyre here. I appreciate your opinions about moderating comments and I’m so glad this great discussion came from it. As @ginidietrich said, Livefyre is in private beta, and we’re working around the clock to make it the best experience for bloggers and commenters. We’re changing comments from “hit and run” to a conversation by sending notifications and bringing the social web right to your content. Commenters are returning to the page to continue the discussion, and real-time updates help keep the convo alive. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts and details about your posting issues so we can get to the root of it. Feel free to e-mail me at jenna livefyre com. btw, we offer moderation of the blogger feels it’s necessary 🙂 Thanks again for your thoughts!

  • shelholtz

    @GiniDietrich livefyre What a great reply, Gini. I’m sure we’d find that we agree on far more than we disagree — maybe we should have a drink next time I’m in Chicago and find out. (I’m a big fan of Banderas, by the way.) And for the record, while I’m never troubled by a speaker in jeans, I always wear a suit…but never a tie. I gave them up as a 50th birthday present to myself.

  • shelholtz

    @JennaLanger @GiniDietrich Hi, Jenna. First, let me state how impressed I am that you’re responding to these comments personally, professionally, and in detail. That’s outstanding. I do think that somehow labeling the system as “in private beta” would help. I can’t speak for others (like Ari Herzog), but I wouldn’t have posted my frustration with the system had I known that — I expect tools in early beta to be less than perfect. Now that I know, however, I’ll keep an eye on it. I’ll need to visit the website to see if it’ll work with Expression Engine; when it’s released out of beta, I might just give it a try! (And that’s largely due to your personal response.)

  • @shelholtz Thanks Shel, we want to be transparent about everything that we do and we’re always looking for feedback from our community. We’re only on WordPress right now, but soon we’ll be available on other platforms as well as a simple javascript tag you can insert into any page/template. I’ll look into what it takes to run on Expression Engine as well. Thanks again for your comments and be sure to let me know if you have any other questions.

  • @JennaLanger You rock, Jenna. That is all. 🙂

  • JGoldsborough

    @shelholtz @JennaLanger @GiniDietrich Ok, have to share this story. Shel, not sure if you remember, but first customer service via social media example I ever saw was when you presented to our corp comms team at Sprint in 2007 and talked about the Park and Ride admin who commented on your blog after you had a bad experience. Awesome to see this CS happen in real time :).

    Jenna, Danny is right. You do rock! And when I give my blog that long-deserved makeover it needs so badly, I will be using Livefyre because I know you will be there to help along the way. Cheers

  • ginidietrich

    @shelholtz I will totally buy you drinks and dinner at Bandera…especially if you’re here between Thanksgiving and the first of the year. We can sit at the window at look at the amazement of Michigan Avenue without having to deal with tourists. And I LOL’d at your giving yourself the gift of no tie for your 50th. Love that!

  • 3HatsComm

    I usually subscribe to comments, replies so I know when my comment is published but like you Gini, I rarely go back to a post to see if my comment was posted after it was held. That said, I don’t think I notice when other comments have been held, not sure I see a break in the conversation when I read others comments, though I do like the instant feedback of seeing my comments appear live. Hmmm…

    I might test this for a while, throw the doors open and see what happens. I haven’t used comment systems like Disqus or Livefyre (yet) as I don’t want to zap existing comments. My blog doesn’t receive a TON of spam, thanks to the various plugins.. so I’ll try not holding comments in queue. Let you know how it goes.

  • @3HatsComm Jordan from Livefyre here. If you’d like to give Livefyre a try, it’ll automatically import all your existing comments so you won’t lose them! We’re not releasing new beta invites at the moment, but will start again next week. So if you sign up here: http://livefyre.com we’ll send you one soon to try it out.

  • 3HatsComm

    @JKretch I might check it out someday. Right now I don’t have the big, ranging conversations on my blog yet.. no need to fix what ain’t broke. I’m keeping it in mind as I think about my blog comment and moderation policies, thanks.

  • @KenMueller I agree with spam filtering as opposed to comment moderation, and I also agree that Akismet works wonders. That said, I don’t use it. I deactivated it in favor of a less-aggressive plugin. I check my comments regularly and delete the spam that gets through because I’d rather have spam on the site for a few minutes to a few hours than to have a legitimate comment not make it. I know how frustrating and discouraging it is to comment and have it disappear into the ether. I recently got caught in the Akismet filter, which effectively made me invisible to every blog I had been commenting on. Being mis-labeled as spam once affects you across the entire network of Akismet-enabled blogs. And while there is a process to fix this kind of issue, not every commenter will want to go through the hassle or even know where to begin. Not to mention, it’s offensive to be wrongly labeled a spammer and disheartening to work on a comment for 10 or 15 minutes only to have it disappear when I click “post.”

    Long story short, I figured that since the plugin caused me so much hassle it really wouldn’t be right of me to keep using it. I use Defensio instead, and it works just great for my purposes.

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  • LukeCoburn

    I’m trying to compare Disqus, IntenseDebate, and Livefyre on my blog: http://fatwalr.us/2011/05/compare-commenting-systems-disqus-vs-intensedebate-vs-livefyre/ . I’m intrigued by livefyre, but not enough to pull me away from Disqus yet…I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

  • @LukeCoburn Hi Luke,

    I guest posted over at @Ari Herzog earlier this year, and looked at vanilla comment systems versus third-party systems like @livefyre , Disqus, IntenseDebate and Echo.

    While not a direct comparison of third-party systems like your post, it might interest you from a wider overview angle?

    Cheers. 🙂

  • susansilver

    Since this is a debate about the usefulness of Livefyre I thought it might be an apt place for a test of the platform. I’m really curious about the debate surrounding blog commenting. All have strong points and weak points. I like Livefyre right now because if nothing else it recognizes Linked In as a power player in the online world, espcially as place where conversations are taking place.

    The ability to mention people in comments who haven’t commented is a plus in my opinion. It integrates the platform into your other online activities. The system in general reminds me of namesake which is an awesome social network.

    I guess what I really wanted to see is how Livefyre responds to online media. If people can post vids in comments. I was looking at intense dabate and Sesmic has a plug in that has this feature. I woud love to see a comment system that picks up video responses from youtbe. Like pingbacks and trackbacks. So if you have a vid that goes with your post you could show the responses from the youtube community on your blog.

    • Gini Dietrich

      You definitely can add video in your comments. We do it here all the time.

  • ggggggg

    ditto

  • Elisha Batuncang

    Hey Gini, this would be my first time commenting here. This is one very interesting topic to discuss because most of my friends were moderating their blog’s comment and I think it’s really annoying. I couldn’t say much because I know they’re worried about negative comments as well as SPAM to flood their blog.

    Moderation of blog comments = perfectionism

  • ginidietrich

    @Elisha Batuncang Hi Elisha! Not that there is anything wrong with perfectionism (I type as I think about the tiny holes in my lawn I’m replanting grass in right now)! I think the issue for moderation is that, like you said, it’s annoying to the reader. We want instant gratification. With commenting systems, such as Livefyre, it’s pretty easy to dispel the spam issue. I get maybe one spam comment every three months. The negative comments you can’t really do anything about. I welcome professional discourse. But if someone is negative and takes things personal, our commenting guidelines allow us to remove their comment. And we’ll say why. That said, in the three years I’ve been blogging, I’ve never removed a comment.

  • ginidietrich

    @Elisha Batuncang Hi Elisha! Not that there is anything wrong with perfectionism (I type as I think about the tiny holes in my lawn I’m replanting grass in right now)! I think the issue for moderation is that, like you said, it’s annoying to the reader. We want instant gratification. With commenting systems, such as Livefyre, it’s pretty easy to dispel the spam issue. I get maybe one spam comment every three months. The negative comments you can’t really do anything about. I welcome professional discourse. But if someone is negative and takes things personal, our commenting guidelines allow us to remove their comment. And we’ll say why. That said, in the three years I’ve been blogging, I’ve never removed a comment.

  • rogerhamilton30

    Roger Hamilton

    I have defended in this post , we learn to be creative and a new type of capitalism (capitalism, creative). Some people agree with me and the writers and entrepreneurs who spoke and presented with some of his work. However, many of those who say they agree, in fact change the course of things?do. Learning the depths of Social Entrepreneurship has made me realize many things in my own life. I have been taking the wrong approach towards life which took me towards the path I never wanted to take in the first place. Beginning with the crystal clear clarity about my goals and taking every one I know into consideration is the next step I intend to take very seriously.

  • rogerhamilton30

    <a href=”http://www.rogerjameshamilton.com/”>Roger Hamilton</a>

    Getting in touch with your inner flow of wealth is the true key which helps people tap into the core of their creativity. It helps people tap into the latent abilities which takes them to a whole new level of excellience

  • noman

    Hi,

    Yeah in this blog you have decided very good topic to post for. The comments that are moderated always are very annoying for the majority of commenters. As I am going to add a blog page to my site – that is filmbelichtung so I’ll not modify the comment system there to moderate the incoming comments as it also decreases the number of visitors and your audiences.

    Thanks!.

  • GlennTwiddle

    wow, might have to look into this ‘livefyre’ thing. NICE !!!
     
    Glenn
    http://www.GlennTwiddle.com.au
     

  • Juliwilson789

    I
    thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insigth at the end
    there. Not leave it with we leave it to you to decide http://www.bestof-denver.com

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