Blogger = Moderator: The Ultimate Solution To Comment Spam?

Great post on “Comment Spam” at Weblogging for Poets:

“Most of all, though, we should push back any time someone even remotely mentions ‘blacklist’ and ‘weblog’, or ‘blacklist’ and ‘internet’ in one breath. Always. These words, they don’t go together.”

I’ve been doing a lot of work in (legitimate) e-mail marketing for the last 7 years and it is incredibly frustrating to see honest e-mail lists getting blacklisted for arbitrary, unchallengeable reasons. And equally frustrating that willing subscribers do not receive messages they are expecting because someone upstream has decided a block of IP addresses aren’t worth bothering about.

I also remember days and nights (including Christmas and New Years) logging in to the Sony Music Online BBS back in 1994 as we fought an unending war with the kids posting trash all over the discussion boards. So I’ve come to appreciate the need for the unsung heroics of moderators.

It seems to me that comment-enabled blog owners need to think of their blogs more as communities or discussion boards and their role as being a moderator. Most moderators quickly realize that truly open systems are unworkable because there is no check against anonymous abuse.

IP banning is one way to check that anonymous abuse, but a flawed one, as Shelley discusses in her post.

So serious consideration must be given to one of two options:

1. Pre-post Registration by commenters

2. Pre-post Comment Approval by moderators

While many may argue both of these go against the intent of open dialogue and limit the speed at which ideas flow, these solutions are undoubtedly the price we will have to pay to get a signal-to-noise ratio that is acceptable.

Believe me, after spending a few years babysitting tweens who spend all non-school hours posting “ sucks” on your discussion board, you don’t want to have unfettered access to your space!

Of course, the other option (which I’m currently using) is not allowing comments on the blog, but rather encouraging others to blog responses and link back.