When Comments Go Bad

Are there blogs you read where you completely ignore the comments? I noticed today around half of my blog reads have lousy comment areas. On the other hand there are one or two blogs where the comments are part of the appeal.

You can recognize the poor ones right away. They looks something like this:

  • “Buy Pills!”
  • “Me-too”
  • “Nice post”
  • “Link Link Link Link”
  • “Irrelevant off topic nonsense”
  • “SEO Real Estate Chicago Lawyer”

If your comment area looks like this what can you do?

Obviously the spam and the sneaky link dropper has to go. If you neglect that job then there is little point in working on any other aspect. Also jump on any kind of comment abuse or blatant link drops. Keeping one spammer happy is not worth it if you are annoying the rest.

Next you need to actually engage your readers in discussion. Ask leading questions. If your questions can only be answered with a single word answer consider a poll instead. You want people to expand on your conversation, not simply agree to it.

If you want a master class in comment management, take a look no further than Liz.

Don’t expect comments to magically transform overnight, it is a gradual culture change.

Are any blogs comment areas (or lack of) getting you mad? What do you do to create a better comment culture? Have you had any success in growing your quality comment count? Have you given up on comments entirely?

Please share … in the comments 🙂

6 thoughts on “When Comments Go Bad

  1. Ughhh…spammers are driving me nuts! As much as I love spam-filtering mechanisms, I’ve been having issues with posting comments, myself. My ISP uses dynamic IP. And there’s this one particular IP address which causes blogs to mark my comments as spam. I’ve been wondering for a while why my comments here and in Deb’s blog vanish as soon as I post them. Looks like my IP’s the culprit. Thing is, I always get assigned that IP 99% of the time. As a result, networking has been doubly hard for me. I know this is way off the subject; just wanted to share my frustration!

    Mariella Moon
    I Twit
    I Stumble

  2. I have a multi-pronged approach to spam on my WP site. It keeps 99.9% of the bot spam out. I use Akismet, Bad Behavior, and Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam (captcha).

  3. I have a few articles–e.g. a review of Windows Live Writer–that constantly receive blog spam. I have bots that have a spam link associated with the user, but the spam bot will only write “cool” or “sorry” or even “nice work.” For some reason, WordPress fails to catch it.

    I have not employed any captcha systems or deterrents to blog spam besides Askimet, but I am going to employ something when I redesign my site with Drpal.


    Unfortunately, social sites like Digg and Reddit almost deter users from commenting on blogs. They will instead comment on Digg or Reddit. There are a few issues I have with that, but I have been thinking of ways to combat it. Building off your suggestions Chris, I think these might be of use to new bloggers:

    1. Reward your users for commenting on your content

    Figuring out how you reward them is the trick, and that is an entire article in itself.

    2. Allow comments without having to register!

    90% or more of the comments I leave on blogs have been written without signing up. If I had to sign up, I would not comment. Performancing, on the other hand, has several features that I enjoy. Primarily, I do not mind signing up for a Drupal site, but the reasons are probably biased. So, moving on…

    3. Make the user’s opinion count, or, for those of you who are evil bastards (I’m kidding!), at least promote the user’s opinion as being important.

    Prompt for response. That is something I did on several occasions while working at Mashable. I was so good at it that I had an incredible amount of comments on my content. It requires great content and the other points I state here. Anyone can do it.

    4. Almost a continuation of #3, relate your content to the user.

    Whenever I write an article, I have the intent of writing it so that the users has a reason to read it. I want it to impact them. I want it to build reactions. I want them to have some sort of involvement directly or indirectly with what I am writing. It works well when done right.

    5. If all else fails, be the first to write a comment to your work.

    It is common logic that if there are existing comments on an article, other people are more willing to share their opinion. If you have a blog that does not generate many comments, try asking for opinions in the comments section, or add an afterthought.


    Hopefully those tips of use to some of you. Sorry about the spelling as my eyes hurt from being up for 21 hours straight. I need some sleep.

    So, what are your opinions about all this? (#3 in action!)

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