To Moderate Or Not To Moderate, That Is The Question

As far as I’m concerned the answer is obvious, there is absolutely no reason today for anyone to moderate their comments. Sure, once long ago it was necessary because there was no real way to combat all the spam that was out there. That’s not the case today because there are plugins that will deal with just about everything that the spammers, those low life miscreants, will throw at you.

I actually use two plugins. The first is the GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin, better known as GASP! The guy that put this plugin together is the very same guy who developed commentluv, the one plugin that almost everyone loves. If you’re still using those annoying captchas I seriously suggest you switch to GASP. I was shocked at how much of  the spam I was getting was from spambots.

The other plugin I use in conjunction with GASP is Akismet as it catches all the human spammers. Using the two together frees up my time, time better spent doing other things like commenting on other blogs.Knowing all this I can’t imagine why so many bloggers waste their precious time moderating their comments. Get with it you guys, STOP MODERATING YOUR COMMENTS!

Still not satisfied? I mean it’s your blog right, and if you want to moderate them you should be allowed to? Why should you listen to me anyway, who am I to tell you how to run your blog.? Your problem is that I am not a lone voice on this matter. Just the other day I was reading one of Mitch’s post where he was talking about decluttering his online life. Mitch went so far as to say he would no longer subscribe to blogs who moderate comments!

I’m sure if I did a search I would find many more examples of people who are pissed off at their comments going into moderation. I know I am. I take a lot of pride in my comments. I take the time to read the post, to think about what I’m going to say and the the writing of the comment itself, only to find that it goes into moderation or it disappears altogether and I think to myself, ‘What the frack is that all about’?

If there was one other plugin I would say is essential if you want a successful blog it would have to be a subscribe to comment plugin. There’s a lot of them around, just pick one that only notifies the commentator when someone replies to his actual comment. This is important as some plugins send an email every time someone leaves a comment and this can be quite annoying, especially if you have a busy blog.

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 91 Comments

  1. If you are not able to moderate and double check all URLs you are linking out to, for example, in comments, then it is better to moderate because you may be linking to penalized and spammy sites which in turn can put your website in a shady light in google.

    1. Like I said there is no need to moderate as long as you have the right plugins. I get notified of every comment left on this blog and if I find one linking to an objectionable site I will either delete, spam or remove the link.

      Why should others have to suffer waiting to see if their comment gets approved just because there are some morons out there.
      Sire recently posted…Reviewing Two More Auto-Responders MailChimp Still WinsMy Profile

  2. Great advice. I don’t think no one really enjoys having to moderate comments on their blog. It’s like you said, there are more than a few plugins out there to help you take care of spamming without having to be completely hands on with the matter.

    I also utilize Akismet on my blogs, but after reading this post I am going to install the GASP plugin as well. Thanks for sharing and the great advice.

  3. I’ve said it since the beginning man, moderate the first one or two from the new, and that’s IT.!

  4. I have been using Akismet for years to give it credit it does catch most of the spam but the problem is it also catches a lot of the real comments and puts them into spam. Recently i started using GASP, what a change. No false catches and works just as good as Akismet. If you had to pick one choose GASP.

    1. Unfortunate GASP doesn’t catch the human spammers as they still have enough brain power to click the box. So I’ve found that Akismet is still useful and why I recommend both.
      Sire recently posted…Are Your Goals For 2011 AchievableMy Profile

  5. see the problem I have been having with overly moderated blogs is that I will spend a great deal of time writing a valid comment and as soon as I put in a website I get flagged as spam. So whats the point of even having a website option.

    1. Jake, the system doesn’t recognize whether the url is from a website or a blog. If your comments are being picked up as spam then the blogger probably has akismet. I would suggest you contacting them as no blogger wants to lose a good comment.
      Sire recently posted…Sometimes It’s Better To Just Not Give A ShitMy Profile

  6. I agree, Sire, I see no need for full-time moderation. I do use a persons *first* comment to send them to a thank-you page, and put the comment into moderation, just to keep spam slinging yahoos from flooding my page with junk while I sleep.

    G.A.S.P. is great, I love it (and ComLuv) and I’m seeing more and more blogs using it. This eliminates the robots, but dedicated spammers can still slip in and leave their potted meat lying around while I not looking. I’m not too worried about the small amount of common spam one or two people might leave by hand, but I’ve had to shut down two “forums” in the past because filthy minded punks chose to use them to carry on discussions of the most profane manner, thus utterly shocking my regular users who got there before I did. Not good! This could still happen once they got one comment approved, but this would have to be a deliberate and coordinated attack, not some prank.

    I tried Akismet; had all manner of trouble with it. Some folks do, others are fine. It may be the themes we use, I don’t know. Whatever; it doesn’t like me. Too bad, that would keep the pervs out.

    You hit the bull’s-eye on the comment reply plug-in too. I don’t care to use the “subscribe to all comments” things because they flood my inbox with comments that make no sense because they are no longer threaded. I do like to know if a host replies to my comment and what they say. Perhaps a reply to their reply is warranted and I don’t want the discussion to just hang there. These plug-ins return the original comment and your reply. Very handy.

    If someone really want to follow along with other peoples comments, come back and read them, that way you know who said what to whom.

    So… do you think moderating a new visitor’s first comment is a slap in the face, or is that OK as long as it doesn’t happen from then on? I *think* the first comment redirect plug-in will work without moderation.

  7. I also unloaded a whole load of plugins and defences once I installed GASP. It really is very effective simple solution.

    1. Yep, keeping it simple sure works with this example.

  8. Hey Pete!

    I’m gonna be a rebel here and disagree with you on this. But hear me out because I have a great reason, and it has absolutely nothing to with spam.

    I always have, and always will moderate comments, but only the first comment somebody makes on my blog. The reason I do that is because when a comment lands in my pending queue I know that this is a brand new person to my site and I want to explicitly welcome and thank them. These people are super special to me and I don’t want to miss a single one. I refuse to let anyone get lost in the crowd on SYcom.

    Sadly, the KeywordLuv plugin can play havoc with this when people think they’re being clever by changing the keywords they use every 5 bloody minutes. Each time they change the keywords they use WordPress see them as a new person and they go back into the pending queue once more. Luckily, these lunatics are few and far between so I can still cope with that.

    So there you go, mate. Moderation still has a very valid and very positive use. :-)

    The only other thing I wanted to add, Peter, is that there are no spam filters or plugins that can keep 100% of the spam and trash out of your comments. Sooner or later someone will make it their life’s work to be as obnoxious and annoying and hateful toward you as they can. And clicking on a “confirm you are not a spammer” button or filling in a captcha field is not going to stop them.

    That sort of person doesn’t come along all that often, but have a presence on the Internet for long enough and you will meet your personal psycho.

    Total moderation would stop it, but even I don’t agree with moderating that strictly. :-)

    Kind regards,
    Steve

    1. I don’t need to moderate for that reason Steve because I have a fairly good grasp on who my commentators are and I will normally welcome them via my reply. I’m not one to send out those emails just to say, Hey, thanks for commenting on my blog leading up to a spiel as to why they should subscribe. Nothing wrong with it mind you, just not my cup of tea.

      As to not catching all the spam, I agree with you, which is why I recommend the two plugins. Even so I delete the odd one every now and again, but not that often.

  9. I haven’t used GASP before, but Akismet has been a life saver. It’s very rare that a spam comment gets through, and when one does, it’s as simple as a click of a button to remove it.

  10. Aloha Peter,

    Thank you for this most helpful post. I have seen this plugin however I didn’t really pay much attention until recently, I have noticed a lot of spam coming and yes you are right, it takes a lot of time going through them!

    Thank you for giving us the complete information on why we should have this plugin.

    Much mahalo (thank you),
    Kellie :)

    1. No worries Kellie, and you’ll find GASP does an excellent job.


  11. Twitter:
    I will have to check out GASP to see if it will be the best option for me. Since I make very little income through my blogs these days (I haven’t had a lot of time to work on them between being in school, volunteering at church, and raising three kids), I don’t want to have to pay for any plugins, etc right now. Things that I can use for free, though, are another story if they will help.

    After over two years, I had to start moderating my comments on my family-oriented blog after I started getting countless pornographic links in comments. I hated having to start moderating, and I’m hoping that when I quit moderating that those comments will no longer be an issue.
    Allie recently posted…Unexpected free timeMy Profile

    1. Allie,

      GASP is designed for exactly that type of spam, give it a go!

      I went from hundreds per day, to ZERO. ;-)

    2. Whilst GASP is a great plugin Allie it will only work on WordPress blogs.

  12. Thanks for the info on GASP, Have to try it out. I had been using Aksimet, but their system of recognizing spam has plenty of potential to be misused. Though it does take a lot of pain to moderate all the comments, I believe as i gain experience reading them, i can do a better job then the plug-ins. (as long as the traffic to my blog doesn’t increase too much)

    1. I think the problem with Akismet is that perhaps at first people started leaving spammy comments causing the commentator to be entered in the system. Now, even though they’ve learned the error of their ways, their comments are still being flagged.

      It’s very rare that I have to retrieve a comment from Akismet.
      Sire recently posted…Rotating Banner Problem Resolved By Max Banner AdsMy Profile

      1. I still find, every now and then, some comments that Akismet considers spammy which I don’t. Thus, I fish them out of the Akismet dump and put it back. Yeah, that’s Akismet. Very unforgiving.

        1. Same here James, but now that I have GASP installed there’s not as many comments to fish through.


  13. Twitter:
    Good post, and thanks for including me in on it. I have to admit the GASP plugin is amazing. I’ve had almost no spam since installing it, and was able to open up my old posts for comments once again. The combination of it and Akismet work great.
    Mitch recently posted…5 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn From The Health ClubMy Profile

  14. I’m with you Sire and you are right about the vast amount of plugins now available to “pre-moderate” every comment you receive. GASP is a big winner as it is very easy to install and basically that’s it.

    I really like your suggestion about “subscribe to comment plugin”. I have been receiving a lot of “emails” lately that I have left comments on, and you are right, I get one of those every single time a new comment is posted. It can be complicated to keep track, I have to admit. Do you use any plugin in particular that you can recommend? Easier that having to hunt for plugins :)
    DiTesco recently posted…Reality vs Imagination in the World of BloggingMy Profile

    1. I actually wouldn’t suggest the one I use as it’s part of the the threaded comments plugin which is no longer necessary as it’s built into WP, and I’ve since found there are problems with uninstalling it.
      Sire recently posted…Why I Chose MailChimp Over AweberMy Profile

  15. I have been using Akismet for some time now. (Too lazy to switch plugins to something other than the default :D) and it seemed to be working well (few niggles here and there), but I decided to try out GASP after reading your review and it seems to be really good, (and certainly better than akismet according to me). I hope I can finally stop having to read the 200th comment bout ‘Cheap Medicines @ xyz.com’ :)

    1. Which blog is that Bram?

  16. OK, Squire, you have me convinced. It didn’t take much convincing. I was thinking this very thing, but I was taught to moderate – of course,that was back-in-the-day! Now that I know how to be sent email messages when ever a comment is left, and with the spam filters, there is no reason to moderate!
    Thank you!!
    Linda

  17. Hi Sire

    I agree…mostly with what you are saying ;-) I moderate first time commenters. I have found even with GASP and Akismet, there are still people who get through the net. Also I do like to see who is just on my blog for the first time and like Steve give them a welcome.

    After first time they can comment as much as they like. Like you I reply to every comment so I would see if they start being spammy. Also I have been to other blogs where people whose sites I have checked out were outright ads only and join my program and others give them the okay and welcome but I have deleted them.

    So it depends on your neighbourhood and what your own criteria is for your piece of virtual real estate. Mine….smelling like the lovely lavender :-)

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. No plugin is perfect and low life human spammers always find some way to get through. Personally I would rather let them through and then delete them when I come online. This let’s them believe that they got through, when in reality I sent them to Akismet’s spammers hell. :devil_tb:
      Sire recently posted…Of Good Hosts And Bad Hosts- Beware The Bad HostsMy Profile

  18. I’m using GASP plugin because it can reduce the spammer
    that use automated software or bots

    1. That’s a smart move Linda.

  19. Hey Sire,

    I think Steve Youngs’s way is the best. Because those who spam usually leave a comment and then never came back or just leave tons of comments the first time they come.
    So doing this scheme + having GASP with akismet as a backup will protect your blog from spam and keep your moderation queue small, while the “regulars” can keep their comments coming without going in the queue.
    Alex recently posted…Avion de cascadoriiMy Profile

    1. There’s nothing wrong with doing it the way Steve suggests and it’s great in that it reminds him to send out a thank you not to new commentators. Other than that I feel it’s unnecessary.

  20. GASP can provide relief from automated bots but it still cant stop ‘human bots’ who mindlessly comment with great post or a brazen ad pitch for some keyword without even a attempt at commenting. Akismet is good at stopping these but then it goes into overkill mode sometimes and ‘real commentators’ get punished too. From your replies, Sire it seems you have been lucky enough to get it to work properly. But i cant say the same in my experience..

  21. I do agree with you. It is always best that comments will be posted immediately for the sake of discussion. I am always checking my blogs from time to time and I am happy when people are writing their thoughts regarding what I’ve written. What is the purpose of blogging if you don’t want to share and make the visitors react after all. Of course it will always depend on the blog owners’ preference.

  22. Hi Sire,

    I’m finding even with GASP and Askimet I still get spam that goes into pending instead of spam box. They are probably human spam.

    So, if I didn’t set comment moderation on, they would have been approved comments. I don’t put moderation on for every comment, just for the first time someone comment, and they need to pass the my test for approval. If they do, then no problem, all their future comments automatically get approved.

    So, I’m still not convinced to turn moderation off.

    Ben Wan
    Ben Wan recently posted…8 Tips to Get Your Blog Comments ApprovedMy Profile

    1. As you’re probably aware Ben I get quite a few comments, and yet the amount that get through that I have to delete is minuscule. I don’t think they’re worth putting my commentators through the hassle of being moderated.

      However, if a blogger doesn’t have the time to physically keep an eye on his blog on a daily basis then perhaps moderation is necessary. Having said that though, it seems pretty harsh keeping someone in suspense for more than a day.

      Before writing this post I kept links to several blogs where my comments went to moderation. It’s been a couple of weeks now and they still haven’t been approved. Sure ain’t going to those blogs anymore.

  23. Hey Sire,
    I use GASP but I have disabled Akismet. I see a spam comment straight away (after being spammed hard once, lol) so I just move it to spam myself.

    I have commenting rules on my blog so as soon as I see keywords instead of a name or some short generic comment >> spam folder.

    I just wanna say I love GASP :)

  24. Good evening to you Sire,

    This is a rather bold move but I see the benefits of it. I have been to a few blogs today where my comment is published immediately. It is, as you infer, quite refreshing and rewarding to experience it.

    GASP has made a tremendous impact on my daily spam war. In fact, it has been reduced from triple figures – on some previous days – to an low average of … zero spam. That is not to say nothing at all, but over a week, one or two spam is manageable.

    I think I will give your suggest a go and change a few other things at the same time and see how it goes.

    Thanks and cheers, Michael

    1. Good on you Michael. I would also suggest having Akismet catch out those human spammers as well so that you have more time to concentrate on more important things.

      1. Sorry about putting 4 keywords after the @. I just read your conditions below :-( Can I leave it like that? After reading one of the other comments, if I change it WordPress will think I am someone else.

        Also, thanks for the extra tip. I do have Akismet active but with GASP very little spam is making it through for it to work on.

        I also just remembered, as it was last year I did it, that I have a plugin installed that allows human comment authors to approve their own comments!

        It is very empowering for genuine comment authors. It is another barrier for the rare human spam comment author and it reduces my workload :-)

        Michael.

        1. It’s all cool Michael, I would have changed it if I had a problem with it before I replied to your first comment. That rule is there so that I have another excuse to delete those comments that I feel add little value to the post. I’m pretty sure you know the ones I mean.


  25. Twitter:
    The problem is that although most of us use some kind of plugin to combat the spammers, many times spam comments get though somehow. I used to not moderate comments at all. But, soon I realized that was a mistake as my blog was getting full of spam comments full of links and comments that had nothing to do with the actual post.

    I think one way you could make it easier, would be to change your setting to where after someone has a few approved comments, then their comments can be published without approvals. I have mine set like that and so far its working great.
    satrap recently posted…Get Paid to TweetMy Profile

    1. The worst of the spam is put out automatically by robot scripts, and when it comes to these GRASP is an excellent plugin. The rest are due to human spammers and Akismet deals with those. Very few get past these two plugins and those that do I send to Akismet so that it will add it to it’s spam database for next time.
      Sire recently posted…Reviewing Two More Auto-Responders MailChimp Still WinsMy Profile


      1. Twitter:
        You mean “GASP” lol :lol_tb:

        And you’re right, this thing about too much spam that so many people are worried about is over the top. I mean, look at our blogs and our rank and how much spam we were getting, and it’s almost nonexistent right now. Could most of these folks be getting all that much more spam than us?
        Mitch recently posted…Facebook Applications – How Trusting Are You Of ThemMy Profile

        1. Yeah, I meant GASP, slip of the keyboard I reckon Mitch. And you are right, if we can deal with the little spam we get I’m sure it won’t be too much of a problem for other bloggers.
          Sire recently posted…How To Make Money Off A Popular PostMy Profile

  26. I love GASP; however, it doesn’t deal with human spammers. So yes, I still moderate.

    Ana

    1. Which is why I still have Akismet.

  27. I completely agree! I hate modded blogs because nowadays there are so many spam filters, and if I leave a comment that would warrant being blocked or anything else, I’d be the agent of my own destruction in inviting negative reactions from other commenters! The blog owner would be saved a lot of grief :mrgreen_wp:

    But then, I think we’ve been online long enough to know what’s good behavior and what’s not. Thanks for this!
    Delena

    1. I agree with everything that you’ve said except for the last point. Even though people have been online long enough it seems that a lot of them just don’t give a damn.
      Sire recently posted…How To Make Money Off A Popular PostMy Profile

      1. Yes, I do have to agree. There is that whole online jaded attitude rampant wherever you go. And we’ve been so inundated with advertisements and sales pitches and trolls that we’ve really learned as a collective to turn a blind eye to it. Acknowledging it only feeds the trolls. I forgot about that.

        But I’ve also seen whole groups of commenters flock together in defense of a blog writer against one rude commenter. That was really neat to see, too.

        Delena

        1. Yep, it’s great to see people sticking up for each other. I’ve seen that happen too and it always brings a smile to my face.

  28. With a plugin stoping spam, i think you can let people comment, and then, if you see something really don’t add to the overall ambient of your blog, you can delete it, or erase a link.

  29. I can think of at least 10 other things to do with my blog rather than checking and deleting spammy comments. This is why I use Askimet. I did not know about the other plugin you mentioned.

    I wish people would not resort to this type of spam activity on the web but I guess there are always those who want to take shortcuts to getting backlinks and they ruin it and make things harder for everybody else.

    1. You should try GASP Sandra, you’ll really like it.

  30. Like you said, there is no really need for moderating a blog, since there are plugins like akismet. The main reason why they use moderation is that they may not want excess links in their comments. If it have over 100 outbound links, that page can be taken as spam. Its bad for their seo.

  31. I might try this GASP as it sounds like a great idea. It would be nice if these plug ins could bounce all spam back to the originator, which would jam their inboxes and take their time. What do you think of that idea, Sire?
    SenseiMattKlein recently posted…Why I Love Teaching Kids KarateMy Profile

    1. That would be a good idea Matt but then one would have to assume that they used a legitimate address.

  32. Moderation for first time comments is a must because if you have an auto approved blog, in no time will you see your pages filled with comments and that too to spam websites. Using Keyword Luv and Comluv along with a dofollow auto-approved blog=Asking for Big Trouble.
    Akhilesh Sharma recently posted…Cool Keyboard Tricks Windows – Make a DiscoMy Profile

      1. I had read the post but I said that because I would never leave any of my blog on the mercy of plugins because plugins won’t effectively track the website to which the author is linking using his name on a dofollow blog. Suppose the author sells pharmacy related products and links to his website using anchor text-“My website” and gives a 100% genuine comment. The plugin would allow it but when search engine spiders come visiting and see bad neighbourhood, you are likely to be penalized.

        Got my point.
        Akhilesh Sharma recently posted…Cool Keyboard Tricks Windows – Make a DiscoMy Profile

        1. That’s your choice. I have over 7 blogs and I’ve never had a problem not moderating them. On the rare occasion that one slips through I spam it via Akismet so that it doesn’t happen again.

          1. So, what you are implying is that you also recheck the comments approved by plugins. If that is the case, why do you support automation in moderating comments if you yourself don’t trust them fully?
            Akhilesh recently posted…Cool Keyboard Tricks Windows – Make a DiscoMy Profile

            1. Lets look at it this way. GASP stops all the robot spam. Aksimet stops the human spam. Hardly anything else gets through.

              As a matter of course I also get notified every time someone leaves a comment via email. That email shows the commentator, their email and their site. If I don’t approve of their site I will either delink or delete the comment.

              Seeing as how I have all this help from the plugins and the information from the emails why on earth would I want to hold the comments in moderation? I much prefer my commentators to have instant gratification from seeing their comment approved and I will worry about the small amount of spam when and if they happen.
              Sire recently posted…10 Essential WordPress Plugins For The Smart BloggerMy Profile

  33. I agree with the GASP plugin, it definitely is a good partner for akismet. With Akismet alone, there will still be spam comments that goes through.

  34. But in my first comment, I just said that you only need to moderate first time comments and not each one after that. So why the hell are we arguing when I would also prefer auto approved comments? Going by the commenting system on this site, I feel that you too feel that way.
    Akhilesh recently posted…Cool Keyboard Tricks Windows – Make a DiscoMy Profile

    1. Not arguing Akhilesh, we’re having a civilized discussion. :wink_ee:

  35. Thank goodness we have the tools to deal with spam comments these days. It was not too long ago when I would have to spend at least 30 minutes a day cleaning up my blogs because of it. I think it’s important to have a system in place so people can naturally leave comments without us having to babysit each of those comments.

    1. You are so right Sandra. I’ve never moderated comments and it was such a pain to delete the spam manually, now all the hard work is done by the plugins and for that I am very thankful.
      Sire recently posted…Do You Want To Outrank The ProbloggersMy Profile

  36. hummm, actually no I don’t agree with that at all, I’d rather take a preventive action and moderate ALL the comments that are posted, rather than let everything go through and remove them afterwards (a lot more time consuming + you may have to leave them if someone else wrote a “genuine” reply to the spammer’s comment).

    And spammers are getting “clever” – I just came from a couple of blogs (that use GASP) where some idiots just copied half of the content from another comment – it got through and had a friendly reply from the blog owner who didn’t notice.

    1. That’s your choice Leo, but as far as I’m concerned those plugins do such bloody great job that it takes all the work out of having to moderate leaving me time to do more important things.

      1. Yep, I know. I am not saying that in 6 months to a year if/when I get more regular commenters I might not reconsider, but at the moment, I can’t see it changing :)

  37. I’m thinking about opening up my blog to commenting but really I’m not sure how much USEFUL traffic it will provide me. I sell beats on my blog/website and I don’t think people coming to comment will be a big part of my conversion rate.

    1. Well it can’t hurt James and it shows your prospective customers that you’re available to answer questions and concerns if they have any.

  38. Hi Sire,
    I have heard alot about GASP but I have not try it yet.I am now going to download it and will let you know how it works for me.

    1. Or you could buy CommentLuv Premium which has that and many other features incorporated into the plugin.

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