I admit I have learned a lot about blogging after starting ThinkSaveRetire.com. I thought I was fairly experienced in this business (and in many ways, I am), but this experience has taught me a few things about running a successful blog, and specifically how to make it just a bit different than every other blog out there.
For example, I used to be a pretty big fan of the Disqus comment system. Now, not so much. Truthfully, it had nothing to do with its feature. Rather, my problem was with the added requirement that users have an Disqus account before they can comment on my blog. In essence, in an online world where we have way the hell too many user accounts as it is, I was requiring that users maintain yet another one just to comment on my site.
As you can see below, I’ve fixed that and now use the default WordPress commenting system that comes built-in. It’s simple. It’s easy. And best of all, it does not require that my readers have an account anywhere. So long as you type in your name and email, I’m good. Comment away, sparky!
Just today, I learned something else about making it easier to comment. On virtually ALL blogs out there (mine included), comments from new readers are moderated, which means that the comment won’t be displayed on the web site (generally, only the first time that the reader comments) until the blog owner manually approves it.
What’s so bad about this? Well, several things in fact:
- It makes me wait until the blog owner gets around to approving comments
- It makes it seem like the blog owner doesn’t trust me to comment responsibly
- I will almost NEVER comment on other articles until my comment is approved
- I will probably never share that article until I know that the blog owner is involved enough to approve my comment in a timely fashion
I have held these very common blogging habits for years – but holy shit – I never truly thought about how these same techniques are most likely used on my site as well. Screw that.
And to be perfectly honest, I had never actually deleted a moderated comment anyway. I finally realized that this whole comment moderation business was nothing but a giant waste of time.
What did I do about this?
As of today: This entire web site is completely, 100% unmoderated.
That means comments will, by default, appear publicly on the site immediately after submission. No more emails asking me to approve a comment (which I generally did via my cell phone, increasing the time that I was mindlessly staring into my pocket-sized personal computer).
What about the spam?!?
It’s called Akismet, which is a WordPress plugin that does an excellent job at weeding out what it considers to be spam comments without me even seeing those comments. Seriously, unless I log into WordPress and look in the spam folder, I never once see any of them. It works in the background without any intervention on my part. Like magic.
What if inappropriate or spam comments get through? I’ll delete them, no big deal. I am fairly active and keep up with my blogs fairly closely, so an inappropriate comment would never sit around very long before I am able to address it appropriately.
I understand the desire to minimize spam, but honestly, comment moderation for me has turned into much more of a negative burden than a positive safety measure – and I never even realized it until I thought about it a little more closely.
I used the same principles that I use in my daily life. Is approving comments making me happy? If not, is there a compelling reason to continue doing so?
In both cases the answer was a resounding no.
And so, new and seasoned readers of ThinkSaveRetire.com, enjoy a completely unmoderated commenting experience on this web site. Comment as you wish, I trust you.