While taking the time to research and write posts is probably the biggest time sucker for most bloggers, moderating comments can be a close competitor.
One of the real keys to running a professional and respectable blog is to find a way to generate a congenial conversation in post comments. This post looks at ways to do this with WordPress.
The screenshot below lists three checkboxes within the admin section of a WordPress blog that help control how comments are published. The combination of checkboxes is what I’ve come to prefer for WordPress blogs I’ve run. I’ll walk you through each box below:
“An administrator must always approve the comment” – I’m not a fan of this because it creates more work for me. I don’t want to have to log into the admin section of my blog to approve comments from friends or colleagues of mine. I trust them and I’m confident that they’re not going to say anything that’s overly offensive about me or my fellow readers. Why create more work?
“Comment author must fill out name and e-mail” – It’s nice to know who’s dropping comments. This choice doesn’t guarantee that the person is who they say their are, or that their email is their real email, but forcing something for this field makes the third option choice work better.
“Comment author must have a previously approved comment” – So, you’ve decided you won’t want to approve every comment on the site. How does WordPress know if someone’s commented before? Based on their name and e-mail address. For example, assume you have a regular reader who’s normally friendly but decides they want to go off on a fellow reader anonymously. While their comments are normally automatically approved, they’ll suddenly fall back into moderation mode for their rant, allowing you to moderate that on both your and their behalf.
The one frustrating thing about this setup is the lack of immediate posting for first-time commenters. They would have a better experience if they were able to see their comment go live immediately. Future posts in this Blogging Tips series will look at ways to make up for this.