Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dealing With Inappropriate Comments and Those Who Make Them

I quickly learned that allowing comments on my blog would result in undesirable comments at times.  These comments fall under two categories - spammers and inappropriate.  Readers of blogs are usually familiar with unmoderated and moderated groups.  Anything goes on unmoderated groups like usenet although certain things can get the poster into hot water with their ISP.  That meant an abundance of usenet trolls and folks who thought they could be as offensive as possible under the guise of anonymity.  Moderated groups and forums attempted to circumvent the problems of unmoderated groups.  Moderators would watch the posts, screening out spam and problems before they started.  If a poster proved themselves they would be unmoderated only to be reigned in if they started causing a problem.  When blogging came onto the scene, the general consensus was allowing comments would help the blog traffic grow.  However, it quickly became apparent that if you cared about quality comments, comment moderation was a must.

Comment moderation doesn't stop the spammers or inappropriate comments, it only stops those types of posts from going live without being approved first.  Some readers, feel it is their right to make whatever comment they want on a blog WITHOUT realizing that commenting is a privilege not a right.  They have no problem trying to attack or provoke other commenters or the blogger themselves.   They have no problem being rude, nasty or threatening.  If comment moderation is in place which it should be, these types of posters will in many cases escalate leaving multiple comments because they don't see their original comment posted.

Bloggers DO NOT have to tolerate this type of behaviour on their blogs.  You, the blogger, own your blog so ultimately it becomes a 'your blog, your rules'.  Keep comment moderation turned on.  In most cases, after a few attempts, they will move on to greener pastures simply because they have no idea whether their comments are even being seen by the blogger or simply filtered to the trash.  In the event a reader becomes rude, nasty or threatening they can be reported to their ISP.  This type of behaviour is against most AUP and TOS so their ISP will act on the complaint.   If it persists, you can block their IP from accessing your blog.  If the person is targeting only one or two posts, turn off commenting on those posts until the problem is resolved.  You can also turn off commenting for your entire blog if the problem is severe but in most cases you shouldn't have to do this.  At no time should you ever engage in a battle of words with them or communicate directly with them via email or otherwise.  Remove your contact information on your blog so the only way they can communicate with you is through the blog commenting system. 

Keep in mind that the comments are from someone seeking attention so don't take it personally.  If they don't get a response from you they will quickly move on to somewhere that they will get attention.  It is just a matter of carrying on as usual without giving them the satisfaction of attention. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reporting Back on Solution for Technorati Spam Comments

I recently wrote about disabling comments on one problematic post.  The post in itself is not the problem as it is only a maintenance post with my Technorati code.  The problem is this post that is of no interest to readers has for some reason gained the attention of spammers or more specifically their spam bot.  After a couple of weeks of receiving multiple daily attempts at spam commenting on this particular post, I finally disabled commenting.  I am pleased to say the problem is now solved.  It has six days now with no further attempts on that post but more importantly, the spam bot has not been diverted to other posts on that blog.  This confirms my belief that it was a spam bot not an actual person trying to leave the comments.  Peace has been restored to my inbox!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Disabling Comments on One Post

Yesterday, I wrote about the amount of comment spam one particular post on one of my blogs was drawing.  Considering it is a post for the Technorati code only there is nothing of any interest for any reader so no reason for comments.  I opened my mailbox this morning to discover several more pieces of this type of spam.  The good news is because of comment moderation the spam never sees light of day but by now even deleting the spam from my mailbox is getting annoying.  So, I went to that blog's posts and pulled up the post, clicked edit then in the right side bar, clicked on options and turned off comments then hit update for the change to go into effect.  Essentially what this does is prevent the spammer (more likely spam bot) from leaving a comment on that post without affecting other posts.  Problem solved!

Turning off comments can be done prior to the post going live or anytime after the post has been published.  This handy little feature is something I haven't used enough but in all honesty until this past couple of weeks, really did not have a big need for it.  However, there are some posts that may be best with comments disabled if they have the potential to draw a lot of negative or spam comments.  I don't have many posts across my blogs that fall into that category but it is something to keep in mind.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Technorati or Not

Back in 2006 when I was setting up my first blogs, I added a post with nothing but the code for Technorati.  This code tells Technorati that the blog is mine and to track it.  Technically, since it should be getting no attention other than from the Technorati bot.  Well, over the past couple of weeks the Technorati post on one of my blogs has gained a lot of attention.  I'm not kidding!  The spam comments on this particular post are rather impressive, coming in at four or more a day.  I suspect that the spammers think linking their comment with any "Technorati" post will gain a bit more attention even if it is only a blog maintenance post.  It would be quite easy for spammers to set up a bot targeting any post that mentions Technorati. 

This is just one more reason to keep comment moderation in place.  In the long run, it saves a lot of time in having to remove comments posted without moderation.  It also prevents the creation of a huge PR hole.  Had I not had comment moderation in place, those comments would have been instantly published.  All of them contained links that definitely would have created a PR hole.  The real problem would have been had I been away and not had comment moderation in place!  I suspect many a decent blogger has lost PR because of this very problem.  At this rate, there has been no harm done.  I'm just curious how long the onslaught of spam comments on the Technorati code post will continue.