By now, you all should know that you have total control over your blog’s comments, right? You can choose to allow only registered users to comment, delete any comment you want, edit any comment, and do the same for trackbacks. While it helps to have a good comments policy, you still have total control over who, what, and how people comment on your blog.
I recently discussed ways to protect your WordPress blog from hackers and other nasties of web life, and today I cover how to protect your blog from the attack of the mean commenter.
First, let me say that except in cases of libel and defamation, anyone has the right in most “civilized” countries to say what they want about you – on their blog not yours. It’s their playground, so if they want to play nasty, it’s their right. However, you do not have to let their sand spill into your sandbox.
Again, you have the right to delete, edit, and control comments and commenters on your blog. You have the “right to refuse service”, so to speak. You also have the right to respond or not, it’s up to you. Just remember, many mean commenters live for your response. They thrive on the negative attention, so by responding, you may be throwing fuel on the fire. Think your response through thoroughly before you take action. Make sure you will have no regrets for the actions you take.
How To Stop Commenters From Commenting On Your WordPress Blog
There are several ways to handle nasty comments and commenters. One is to ignore them. However, then your readers have to look at the nasty comment. And you have to look at it for a long time as it sits there, fermenting on your blog. Do you want that?
Here are some of your options for handling nasty commenters and comments on your WordPress blog.
Manually Delete Nasty Comments
You can manually delete or edit any comment from the WordPress Administration Comments panel.
You can also mark it and submit it as comment spam, though I do not recommend you take that action, no matter how much you may want to. It’s “revenge” thinking.
Judge the comment and not the commenter by simply deleting the comment. The comment and commenter may be offensive, but that is no reason for you to make their life miserable by attempting to add them to the comment spam list on Akismet or another comment spam fighting tool. If it is comment spam, mark it appropriately.
Just delete or edit the comment and be done with it.
Require Comment Registration
While I am not in favor of this option, if you want to seriously restrict and control comments on your blog, you can require registration in order to comment on your blog.
In the panel for Options > General there is an option for Membership. To enable the option for Users must be registered and logged in to comment, click the check box to turn it on and click Update Options.
To disable this and open your blog to comments from anyone, make sure this check box is unchecked.
Block The Commenter From Within WordPress
When a person comments on your blog, their IP address is recorded in the comment’s information, seen only in the Comments panel. You can use this, and other comment form information to block the commenter from within WordPress.
With the information in hand, go to Options > Discussion and at the bottom you will find Comment Moderation and Comment Blacklist.
In the box, you can add information that will be added to a filter that every comment must pass through before being released onto your blog. If any of the information in the box is found, the comment is marked automatically to be moderated, if in the Comment Moderation box, or as spam, if the information is in the Comment Blacklist. Take care and add the information to the appropriate box.
The information you can add to the list in the box includes:
- Words: You can use any words in the Comment Blacklist to filter out comments. The traditional “nasty words”, swear words, and comment spam words are already filtered, but there may be some specific words or phrases you will not allow on your blog. Add them one line at a time to the list. Take care, though. The example given is that if you include the word “press”, all instances of “WordPress” will be filtered. Avoid common words or parts of words to avoid filtering legitimate comments.
- Names: Add names of the commenters to the list to moderate or mark them as comment spam. Like words, take care that the name is fairly unique. Adding “John” to the list does more harm than good, but “John Goodenov” is fairly unique.
- URL: If the mean commenter includes their URL, the domain name for their blog, in their comments form, you can add this to the list.
- Email: Like the URL, you can add their email to the list to filter their comment.
- IP Address: From the comments form, you can copy and paste in their IP address to add it to the filter. IP addresses can be faked and changed, so don’t rely upon this if you truly want to filter out an offensive commenter.
The key to really blocking a mean commenter is using a combination of information. For instance, you can block a person fairly securely if you put the following in the Moderation Blacklist:
Fredrica Spaghetti 123.45.678.910 email@example.com http://www.fredrica.com
Block IP Address in the .htaccess File
While possible, but not recommended, you can block their IP Address in your .htaccess file for users of the full version of WordPress. This, however, blocks them totally from your blog, not just from leaving comments on your blog.
In the .htaccess file, add:
order deny,allow deny from 123.45.678.910 allow from all
This is a serious step and should not be taken lightly. It blocks them from access, but they can easily change their IP address and be back to do more harm. Use this cautiously and wisely.
Remember: Do No Harm
Remember to take the “high road” on mean commenters. Be better than they are. Rise above, don’t lower yourself to their level. While they have the right to say what they will, to a point, you do not have to participate. It may hurt, but it will heal in time. All things will pass.
Not all mean comments are meant to be spiteful. Maybe the commenter was in a bad mood. Maybe they just like the negative attention. Maybe you are in a bad mood and reading the comment wrong. Anything is possible. Take time before taking action.
However, do not tolerate mean, spiteful, and vindictiveness wherever you find it, even on the web. There is no place for it, whatever its intention, especially on your blog.
You are editing your blog for you and your readers, so think of their comfort zone, too. Should they have to read nasty comments to you, about you, or your blog post on your blog?
Blog safe and happy.
And consider adding a comments policy to your blog, just in case you need something to point a finger at.
- Does Your Blog Have A Comments Policy?
- Do You Kill The Blog Conversation?
- Editing Your Blog Comments
- Is Your Blog a Conversation Blog or Answer Blog?
- Time Wasting Blog Comments, Comments Policies, and Comment Etiquette
- When Your Comment Inspires Posts
- What Is Sucking Your Blogging Confidence Away?
- What Do You Put in the Name of a Comment Form?
- Does Dofollow Influence Your Willingness to Comment?
- Are You Becoming a Little Over-Sensitive Over Comments?
- Comments on Comments
- What is Comment Spam?
- Comment on Blogs Anonymously and Surf Invisibly
- Mean Spirited Comments and Blogging
- You Must Be Logged In To Comment
- Monitoring Blog Comments
- Your Comment Has Been Moderated – Stay Tuned for Approval
- How NOT to Comment on Comments
- One Year Anniversary Review: Comments on Comments
- One Year Anniversary Review: Comments on Comment Spam
- Blogging Challenge: Comment on 10 Blogs
- How Not to Tick People Off and Keep Them Coming Back For More
- I’m Winning the Battle Against Comment Spam
- Would You Do Business With a Comment Spammer?
- Battling Comment Spam: Human Versus Human
- Are Blog Comments Getting You Down?
- WordPress Plugins Battling Evil
- WordPress Plugins for Comments
- Blog Comments: On or Off and Why
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.