Initially, I activated my blog setting for ‘approving comments before publishing them.’ Considering the spam I was getting from time to time, I felt confident it was the right choice. In fact, at one point my blog was so flooded with spam that I called WordPress on their inability to effectively detect and block the ‘invasion.’ WP responded, and I’ve never experienced the problem to the same extent; these days, spam tends to fluctuate in a ‘normal’ manner—sometimes a few per blog post, sometimes none at all.
In another reality at a later stage, disappointed with the lack of feedback to my posts, I decided to reconsider the setting for ‘approving comments before publishing them.’ I wanted to remove all possible obstacles not only to readers’ ability to comment but to make sure traffic converts to subscriptions. I’m not sorry; since then, my blog traffic has been growing consistently, lively discussions are gracing my posts, and subscription is growing steadily.
My own experience on other blogs leads me to believe that this is no coincidence, that the perceived need to protect a blog from undesirable comments may have an unfortunate result—people are busy so they have to be selective with their reading, and if they’re confronted by a screening mechanism that blocks them from taking part in a discussion, they might feel frustrated and not return to that particular blog, especially if that mechanism is faulty. My pet peeve is the “prove that you’re not a robot,” which requires you to type the distorted word that’s supplied in a block next to the comment block.
I start getting irritated after I have to sign into my WP account in order to publish under my blog profile and am then confronted by another need to ‘pass the test.’ And maybe it’s my deteriorating eyesight, I don’t know and I don’t care, but if I get that stupid distorted word wrong and am prompted to ‘re-try,’ I…well, I don’t, not anymore. On a few occasions in the past, I’ve alerted the blogger (or guest blogger) to my difficulty to post a comment, and almost every time the response has been, “Sorry; try again later.”