Moderate Comments

When I reinstalled Moveable Type in the aftermath of the November Random Thought Meltdown, I was looking forward to the comment-handling capacities of the new version of MT. Even without Blacklist, which I expect I’ll install someday but haven’t gotten to yet, MT 3 promised to be a great deal more manageable realtive to unwelcome commercial comments than was MT 2. I’ve found my expectations amply fulfilled; it’s indescribably easier to find, select, and delete unwelcome comments.

There’s a cost, of course; the intervention of comment moderation probably damps the willingness of some visitors to leave comments (that was certainly what people said when SixApart introduced TypeKey), and I understand that. We’ve already seen visitors leave duplicate comments, since they weren’t sure that their original comment had been recorded. Moreover, I’m sure it’s frustrating to write a comment, only to see it disappear into a pending-moderation void. I wish I could conveniently pre-approve the regulars, so my friends could post directly, without awaiting moderation (presumably they could register with TypeKey, but let’s assume that they’ve already considered and declined that option). Commercial comment-bots would soon develop the capacity to spoof approved identities, anyway.

Short of a comprehensive solution to DigID problems (on which David has a cogent side-commentary at Worthwhile), we’re left with more or less satisfactory half-measures. So far, the frustrations that accompany comment-moderation don’t outweigh the ease with which the new version of MT fends off unwelcome commenters.

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2 Responses to Moderate Comments

  1. I don’t think it’s ported to MT3 yet, but one of the members of my Honors committee (and a good friend of ours) wrote a plugin called BotBlock that seems to be better conceptually than any of the other solutions. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before software gets good at answering questions, but it’ll take longer for that than it took for bots to read those wonky numbers in GIFs.

  2. Matt says:

    In WP 1.5 (which went beta yesterday) we have a feature I call “emergent registration” which is just a fancy way of saying “if you’ve approved someone before allow their comment through” and “allow trackbacks/pingbacks from people on my blogroll automatically.” What it doesn’t do well yet is notification that your comment was held for moderation, which bugs me too.

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