Comment spam isn’t all bad. That’s the message I took away from a fellow writer’s passionate remarks against erecting barriers to comments. She also made me think about my anti-spam strategy, which consists of using Akismet and Spam Free WordPress. A complete absence of comment spam may mean that some legitimate commenters are being discouraged from leaving comments.
Guest blogger Mridu Khullar Relph made her remarks in response to a private forum question asking about newbie bloggers’ mistakes. I’m delighted she gave me her permission to share her comments.
Newbie blogger mistake:
Making it hard for people to comment
By Mridu Khullar Relph
Oh, I just thought of a HUGE mistake that people overlook and that I’m coming across a lot lately: Making it difficult for people to comment. There are a few blogs that I really like and that I’d actively comment on if they didn’t make it so damn difficult for me to do so. (Unsurprisingly, these bloggers often have 0 comments on their posts.) Don’t make me sign in to WordPress or Blogger or whatever fancy software you’re using. All I need to be able to do is fill out my name, e-mail address, URL and comment and if you make it more complicated than that, you’re losing readers.
Oh, and those prove-you’re-a-human screen thingmajigs that make life easy for you but difficult for your readers because these things are timesucks and almost always barely visible? I’ll do it once because I’ll have written out a comment by the time I get to one of these, but never ever again will I comment on your blog. Perhaps even visit. Because you’re making your life spamfree and easy AT MY EXPENSE.
Mridu Khullar Relph is an award-winning journalist and has written for The New York Times, Time magazine, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade.com, Marie Claire, Ms. magazine, Elle, and many more. Visit her blog and comment painlessly at www.mridukhullar.com/journal.
DEC. 6 update: If you’re looking for a solution that will cut spam without scaring away readers, Roger Wohlner tells me he has had good luck with Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin, which uses a simple checkbox. My solution, which I mentioned in my introduction to this piece, also seems to be working.