Blog comments comes in all shapes and sizes (well, not literally), all forms of goodness or nastiness, spam, trash, useful comments, long essays, offtopic, completely nonsensical, and what not!
I’ve been blogging for a while now, so trust me, I’ve seen them all!
If you’re a blog owner, the question then really, is how do you deal with some of the comments and the commenters? I’ll be looking at 5 different types of blog comments and how you, as a blog owner, can and should deal with these comments:
Spam comments are usually totally random, completely off-topic BS, stuffed with links which are meant for promoting commercial websites. Usually, these links direct you to porn or pharmaceutical websites. Spam comments are often bot-generated comments, and spammers are actually getting sneakier and finding clever ways of getting through, when once it was as simple as using a plugin to block spam. Solution? Delete on sight! If you’re on Wordpress, use Akismet or other plugins for the purpose.
2. The Troll
Troll is someone who takes particular pleasure in posting inflammatory, controversial or off-topic comments, and on purpose, with the sole purpose and intent of provoking others into an off-topic or emotional response. In addition, trolls often criticize people, products, the blog or just about anything else, and end up instigating people as well. Dealing with trolls can be tricky. You could choose to ignore them (aka. ‘do not feed the trolls!’), and/or simply ban them (by banning their IP) from posting on your blog. Your call! But remember that sometimes trolls too might have something useful to say, even if they don’t say it how they should!
3. Legit Commenters
These people are a rare commodity! Something that every blogger hopes he can get. Legit commenters, as the name implies, are people who post genuine comments, which are on-topic, thoughtful, relevant, and above all, add value to the post itself. And even when these guys disagree, they tend to do it respectfully. In short, they’re every bloggers dream! The only way you could deal with these guys is making sure you respond to any and all their comments, each and every time that they comment.
Once again, as the name implies, skimmers do not read the entire post, rather tend to skim through a post, picking up a couple of things in the 2 minutes that they took to read a 1000 word post, and base their comments and/or argument on the few keywords that they picked up during the process. So how exactly does one deal with skimmers? Well, for starters, you could tell them to read the whole post before commenting. However as a blog owner, be polite when doing so! The fact is, if they didn’t read it the first time, they probably won’t do so again.
5. Generic Commenter
Generic comments include annoying comments and one-liners like ‘Interesting post, thanks for writing’ or any one of its variants. Honestly, if I had a penny for each of these comments, I’d be a billionaire by now! Generic comments, while being polite, add nothing to the conversation, and lack substance of any sort. The only purpose that they do serve is acknowledgement. Such comments can also be spam, simply written to include links in the comment. The best way to deal with such comments, is to add a ‘like’ button to your blog, and delete all ‘nice post thanks’ comments, since the like button basically serves the same purpose.
Bear in mind however that unless you are absolutely certain that the comment is spam, deleting it could actually put off genuine commenter and/or a visitor, adversely affecting your traffic.