16 Jan 2010

Moderation Whitelist and User Profile Update

Nothing ruins a vibrant comment thread faster than a link to buy cheap Xanax and play online poker at a porn site. Even worse is the friendly spam that can sometimes slip through – you know, it says “great site, I’ll be subscribing to your blog” but it’s really a link to a spammy website.  With that in mind, we’re doing some major work on our backend to improve the IntenseDebate spam filters and Akismet integration.

While there’s still work to be done, the good news is that we’re making excellent progress to improve the effectiveness of our filters. The not-so-good news is that our filters are sometimes too strict, and legitimate commenters are flagged as spam. This is happening because either the user’s past comments have been marked as spam, or their comments are confused as friendly spam. While we’re working to correct this issue, we’ve added a User Whitelist to serve as an immediate fix.  Adding a user to your whitelist will automatically approve all of their comments.

Your User Whitelist is located in your Moderation Settings Page at http://intensedebate.com/edit-site-moderation. To add a user to the whitelist, just type in their username and select the “Whitelist” button. Then make sure to click the save button at the bottom of the page.

User Profile Update
We’ve also made a minor change to the display name links in the comment section.  If you have added a blog or website to your IntenseDebate profile, your display name will now link to that instead of to your IntenseDebate profile page. If you haven’t added your blog or website to your profile, you can add it at http://intensedebate.com/editprofile.

Don’t have a blog or website? Don’t worry! Your display name will link to your IntenseDebate profile. You can still access IntenseDebate profiles by selecting “View IntenseDebate Profile” when you hover over an avatar. This was a popular request so we’re happy to provide this update!

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

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  1. I was kinda shocked when I first went through the post, LOL! 😛

    Nice image, haha!

    And congrats on the news. Both are very welcome, guys.

    Keep it up! 😉

    Comment by Rafael Fischmann — January 16, 2010 @ 10:42 pm
  2. Thanks. Hope you don't mind! 😉

    Comment by Michael Koenig — January 16, 2010 @ 10:53 pm
  3. Heh, I was delighted when I appeared in a screenshot in the post a few months ago about copying permalinks xD

    Comment by donnacha | WordSkill — January 17, 2010 @ 12:07 am
  4. cool thanks great update. akismet has always been a problem with intensedebate. tons of spam which akismet would directly catch is ignored by ID based akismet… good to see that you are working on improving that. 🙂

    Comment by operamaniac — January 17, 2010 @ 12:04 am
  5. Finally! Both features I've been waiting for! Well done

    Comment by db0 — January 17, 2010 @ 12:04 am
  6. With regard to whitelists, it would be good if I could opt to automatically whitelist commenters who have been whitelisted by a lot of other people – surely one of the main advantages of a distributed commenting system is that you gather the data necessary to form a "web of trust".

    It would also be good if some sort of translation functionality was built into the moderation interface – I often see comments that contain two languages: English that seems innocent/relevant enough, but then, also, a paragraph or two in some other language, clearly not spoken by the website owner or any of the other commenters. I generally presume it is some form of spam or propaganda, targeted at other speakers of that language, but it would be good to be able to check and ensure that I wasn't unfairly marking something as spam.

    Comment by donnacha | WordSkill — January 17, 2010 @ 12:19 am
  7. Thanks for your feedback. A system-wide whitelist is a cool idea, but could be problematic. Sites using ID are extremely diverse (especially when it comes to religion and politics), and a commenter could be considered appropriate on one site, but inflammatory on another. That's one of the reasons why we haven't built a system-wide blacklist. But we haven't dismissed it as an option.

    A translation feature built into the moderation interface is a very cool idea, and would be pretty handy. We're working on some really cool projects right now, but we'll keep this in mind moving forward. Thanks! 🙂

    Comment by Michael Koenig — January 18, 2010 @ 4:50 pm
  8. Is there an option in the works, that will allow a user to ignore posters he selects; a killfile, in other words?

    Comment by RedWhiteAndJew — January 18, 2010 @ 2:25 pm
  9. Not at the moment. A user-specific filter is an interesting idea though. We'll keep it in mind for future development.

    Comment by michael — January 18, 2010 @ 5:04 pm
  10. What about white listing by email for non intense debate users that comment on your site?

    Comment by Aphroditi — January 21, 2010 @ 8:51 am
  11. Has this come up as an issue for you? Can you please send me details at support@intensedebate.com? I'll take a look.

    Comment by michael — January 21, 2010 @ 6:24 pm
  12. I have a big problem with the "Add Blog/Website to profile feature". Now I have users commenting on my blog with links to porn/spam sites in their user names.

    The last thing I want is to be giving backlinks away, and I dont have the time to research what sites every user commenting has!

    How can I disable this?

    Comment by Aran Seaman — January 24, 2010 @ 7:29 pm
  13. Hi Aran. Sorry for the major delay, I unfortunately overlooked your comment. Unfortunately we don't offer a way to disable this, but we'll consider it for a future customization option. In the meantime I'm happy to help troubleshoot. The easiest way is to email me at support@intensedebate.com.

    Thanks for your patience.

    Comment by Michael Koenig — February 12, 2010 @ 9:17 pm
  14. Hey Michael,

    Just wanted to clarify why I think the profile URL link is not a good idea:

    1.) In Intense debate's moderation panel you can not tell if the user's name is linked to their profile page / their personal site. This means you have to go to the blog post on your site to see what they are linking to.

    2.) The user can post a seemingly legit comment "Great Post!", but their profile name links to a porn site, or a spam site. You cannot tell what site they are linking to unless you hover over/click their name in the comments.

    3.) What are the SEO implications of this? I understand that currently intense debate is does not affect your site re: seo (not crawled), but if this changes in the future the ramifications are that I now have thousands of outgoing links on my site to places I have no control over. The last thing I want for my own personal SEO game is tonnes of outgoing links. The VERY last thing I want is tonnes of outgoing links to spam sites!

    Please, revert this update! Change it back so that the user profile link only goes to the user profile!

    Comment by Aran Seaman — January 24, 2010 @ 7:53 pm
  15. Hi Aran. 1&2 are legitimate concerns. We're looking at adding URL's to the moderation page and email notifications. Thanks for the feedback.

    3. You can setup no-follow links in your WP backend to avoid any SEO implications. With our WordPress plugin we output the WP comments in the noscript tag so if you you setup no-follow links it will still be no-follow.

    With most standard comment systems (like WordPress), commenter display names link to the URL so this isn't anything new. This update is intended to reestablish a standard commenting feature that publishers and commenters lost out on with IntenseDebate. We don't want to punish commenters and deprive them of link-link love to their blogs just because they commented in IntenseDebate.

    Thanks for your feedback though. I'll look at adding an FAQ entry on this. Sorry again about the delay.

    Comment by Michael Koenig — February 12, 2010 @ 9:31 pm
  16. Thanks for the reply – great to know there may be an option for this in the future.

    It's amazing how many innocuous comments I am finding on my blog that actually link to malicious websites.

    I am just interested in protecting my users.


    Comment by Aran Seaman — February 22, 2010 @ 5:07 pm
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  19. Is there an option in the works, that will allow a user to ignore posters he selects; a killfile, in other words?

    Comment by bpolidoro — December 14, 2011 @ 5:04 pm
  20. There are no plans to add that, but thanks for the feedback!

    Comment by Michael — December 17, 2011 @ 7:37 pm
  21. Dumb @ss that I am…. I'm still trying to figure out how to link my user name to my website/blog! What am I doing wrong?

    Comment by Max Jaramillo — January 8, 2012 @ 1:45 am

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