How Do You Want Me To Handle Comments?

Matt McGhee posted the comment policy he uses on Small Business SEM in response to questions from his readers. I think Matt’s policy is generally a good one, but I wanted to ask what you thought and also ask how you’d like me to treat comments here.

Last night’s post on increasing comments got me thinking. Most posts here get a few comments and I’d like to thank everyone who takes the time to leave a comment, but I’d certainly like to see more. I have a few ideas and wanted to know you what you think.

First Matt’s 5 point policy:

  1. Comments are not no-followed
  2. You must register and be logged-in to leave a comment
  3. Your first comment will be moderated by default
  4. Any comment with a link in it will be held for moderation
  5. Frequent commenters are rewarded with pretty stars

Numbers 3 and 4 above are fairly common for most blogs. I actually moderate for more than one link, but it is a way to prevent spammers from dropping links. I’m more interested in your thoughts on the other three policies.

Comments here do have nofollow added as it’s the default for WordPress, but I’m considering removing the nofollow and joining the dofollowers out there. I assume you’d all like that. Nofollow does not prevent comment spam, but I wonder if it does help prevent noise. One thing I’ve always appreciated about comments here is that you all write some good comments. They’re clearly well thought out and intelligent. I wonder if removing the nofollow might lead to comments only for the link. I don’t expect that would happen with anyone who’s already commenting, but it is a risk with new people looking for a link.

One of my thoughts is to only remove the nofollow for anyone who’s made more than a certain number of comments, maybe 10. You get to 10 comments and no more nofollow added to your name.

I’m generally not a big fan of requiring registration on blogs. I know it keeps me from commenting less when I need to register and login, though it hasn’t stopped me commenting in some places. How would you feel if registration would be a requirement for commenting? How about if I offered some kind of incentive for registration like removal of the nofollow or the pretty stars? I’m thinking I could set something up where registration isn’t necessarily required to comment, but offers some added benefits if you do decide to register.

One addition I am planning on adding is to show a top commenters list. I would place the list on the home page and your name would be a link back to your site without a nofollow applied. It would be a way for me to reward the people who comment the most often each month. I first saw the idea on Marketing Pilgrim and I’ve wanted to add it here ever since.

Another idea I’m planning on implementing is the ability to reply to specific comments. I’d like all of you to be able to reply to each other directly and start your own conversations within the post. I’ve always liked the idea whenever I’ve seen it elsewhere and thought it would be a nice addition.

One other change you’ll likely find here in the future is a notify via email to allow you to know if someone else has commented after you. I promise to make it opt in so you will only get the notification if you want it.

Those are some of my thoughts for comments here. Do you like the ideas? Any preferences on which you’d like to see most? Any you’d prefer I not add? Do you have any ideas of your you’d like to see to make the comments more rewarding?

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  1. I removed the nofollow, activated Akismet, and I’ve been fine. I have to check it 2-3 times a day for false positives (maybe half a dozen of about 1800 total), but it generally works out well.

    I’m not sure about the star thing. It just seems gimmicky to me.

  2. Thanks Adam. I’m not worried about spam comments, but I thought removing the nofollow could lead to more noise obscuring the signal. My guess is it wouldn’t be a problem, but you never know. I figure anyone who’s commenting because they want to comment will eventually make 10 comments. Maybe I’d reduce that to 5 before the nofollow is removed.

    I agree about the stars. It’s not something I’d likely add, but I would like to reward the people who comment here the most with a little something. Maybe the top commenter thing on the home page would be enough.

  3. I like the idea of “top commentors” thing and the nofollow. They will definetly push your comments a little bit. I also think you should install the plugin for notifying commentors of any new replys to their comments ( I don’t recall it name now :-) ). It comes handy because otherwise, the commentor should go and check every now and then to see if anyone else replied to his comment or not.

    But the most important thing is that you should keep in mind that ppl like to see some comments in a topic before start commenting themselves. I guess there should be some incentive for the first commentor on a post (like some kind of points).

  4. Thanks Tony. I’m definitely planning on adding the things you like. I’m working on a new design and already have added some of these. That’s interesting about something extra for the first to comment. I’m not sure what it should be or how to implement it, but I’ll see if I can come up with something.

    The notify thing is a plugin called, you guessed it ‘notify’ or something like that. I’m also going to add a plugin to allow everyone to reply to each other. I’d like to build a community around the blog and the comments and I thought it would be nice if people could reply directly to each other.

  5. I’ve seen a blog with a top commenters list and I must say it appealed to me. However, I’m not sure how to do that. Is there an available widget that I can just plug into Blogger that does this?

    I also definitely agree that registration requirements totally turn me off from commenting. C’mon, I’ve already registered to about a hundred sites. I don’t need another one. 😉

    • Chris I used that for awhile, but all it seemed to generate was more spam so I removed it.

      I think the plugin/widget you want is called “top commenters” if I’m remembering correctly.

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