27 Feb 2013

Comment Moderation 101

In our last post, we focused on commenting etiquette, so this time, let’s move across the table and talk about moderating your comments.

Your moderation options

IntenseDebate offers some powerful moderation options. On your Moderation Settings page, you can customize your settings to filter and moderate by keywords, the number of links in a comment, and commenters’ email addresses or IP addresses.

You can also enable a profanity filter, ban specific usernames, and automatically approve comments from users who meet a minimum reputation score, which you can specify in your settings.

Comment moderation 101

Sure, you’ve set up your moderation options, but that doesn’t mean you’re done. Comment moderation is a regular part of the blogging process. The discussion you generate is just as important as your content. Here are some moderating tips:

  • Reply to comments. Your job doesn’t end when you hit the “publish” button, right? When readers leave comments, keep the conversation going in real time. Use the Reply-By-Email feature to respond swiftly to comments via email — especially when you’re on the go — before your thoughts slip your mind.
  • But don’t reply to every comment. If you receive a lot of comments and you reply to each with a simple “thanks,” your discussion will suffer. These comments, while friendly, are terse and ultimately meaningless. Where’s the debate? Your replies should always add something substantial that builds on the conversation, so avoid stagnant, dead-end comments.
  • Keep it error-free. Carefully read every comment you approve and edit if needed. While these are other people’s words and thoughts, this is ultimately your site, so treat it like a newspaper or publication. Ensure the copy, whether in your own posts or in the discussion threads, is clean and free of mistakes and misspellings. Trust us — errors looks bad. Period.
  • Police, but do so politely. We know you love lively debates, but don’t encourage nasty and abusive comments. They intimidate new readers, derail conversations, and distract you from good blogging. It’s your site — set your rules! Give people polite warnings, but if they continue on with offensive comments, ban them. Your commenters also have the ability to report abusive comments with the “Report” button.
  • Post commenting guidelines. If you feel like a sheriff on your own blog — how not fun, right? —  consider posting commenting guidelines. It’s a transparent way to let readers know what comments you approve and delete and helps to deter unwanted behavior. (Check out the WordPress.com News blog’s guidelines as an example.)
  • Play around with the keyword filter. The keyword filter tool on your Moderation Settings page is handy. Entering a keyword will flag any instance of that particular word, including partial matches, so be careful when adding two or three letter keywords — “the,” for example, includes words like “theme,” “theory,” etc. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, this filter tool becomes quite powerful.
  • Knock on your neighbors’ doors, too. Networking and developing intellectual and professional connections with your readers is one of the best parts of blogging. If you have loyal commenters, visit and comment thoughtfully on their sites as well, keeping in mind the commenting tips you’ve learned.

For more details on moderating comments, visit the moderation support page.

As for IntenseDebate updates, we’ve upgraded servers to PHP5.4 to improve performance, removed OpenID, and fixed a bug with Facebook Connect that prevented you from logging in using Facebook if you were already logged into Facebook. 

If you have questions or comments about IntenseDebate, send us a note.

Posted by Cheri Rowlands in features


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