Every WordPress user has had to face comment spam at one point or another. It is a frustrating and time-consuming thing to deal with. In order to combat spam, many WordPress users install multiple anti-spam plugins. This normally removes the majority of spam. The problem is that it sometimes works too well.
One of the problems of using strong anti-spam measures is that legitimate comments can get marked as spam. You may feel that this is a small price to pay if it means no spam is published on your website; however I strongly feel that deleting legitimate comments is worst than letting the odd spam comment slip through.
I review my comments on this blog every few days to ensure that real comments have not been placed in the spam folder. Not everyone does this.
Last week I left a comment on Brian Gardner’s personal blog on an article about WordPress news websites. It was not a short “Great post!” type comment. It was several hundred words long and took me twenty to thirty minutes to write.
After submitting my comment, I got a message saying that my message will be moderated. Moderating comments before publication is something many WordPress websites do. It guarantees that no spam comment is published as the owner of the website reviews every single comment before it is displayed to others. I have never been a fan of this as it can slow down a discussion considerably. Comments encourage more comments. Therefore, if comments are only reviewed every few days, the conversation slows down as a result. I believe it is much better to allow all comments and then delete spam comments afterwards.
I checked the article on Brian’s website the following week and saw that my comment was never published. Therefore, I messaged him on Twitter and asked if he could approve my comment.
As you can imagine, I was disappointed to hear that my comment had been marked as spam and then deleted without review. Brian advised that this happened because he bulk deletes his spam.
Brian is a really nice guy, so I know that he would never delete a legitimate comment intentionally. As the owner of StudioPress, he also has a lot on his plate. I suspect he bulk deletes his spam comments because he simply does not have the time to review them. I can understand this position, however I also believe that by doing this, you will always delete real comments.
Deleting comments from loyal subscribers will discourage them from submitting another comment. They may even stop subscribing to your blog. This could inadvertently lose you product sales later on.
I have had to deal with large volumes of comment spam in the past, therefore I recognise the difficulties that popular blogs face with spam comments. I do, however, believe that bulk deleting spam comments is not the way to deal with things. I would recommend taking five to ten minutes per week to quickly scan your comments to ensure that legitimate comments are not deleted. Your readers will thank you for it.
Do you actively review your spam comments?