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WordPress Discussion Settings | Allow Comments or Not?

Basically, the WordPress Discussion Settings Tab in the Admin sidebar is the central hub to configure different settings for your WordPress site sections. It also contains multiple sub-panels. More so, a majority of WordPress plugins also add their settings page as a menu under the Settings tab.

WordPress Discussion Settings is the place where you code your site to handle your blog comment submissions and publication. Bearing in mind, WordPress comes with a default built-in comment system. That allows for community interaction around your content.

How to Adjust WordPress Discussion Settings

Of course, your weblog readers like to see comments appear on your post as soon as you hit that little colored submit button. But, as an administrator, you want control over what is published on your site. Hence the blogger’s dilemma — to let the comments flow freely or send them for moderation before publishing.

What Is Blog Commenting?

Blog Commenting is defined as a relationship between blogs, bloggers, and blog readers. It is a great way to exchange ideas, thoughts, or opinions about what people feel about a particular topic or a blog post. Blog comments help the blog to attract traffic and make it social.

Well, if you own or run a blogging site (like jmexclusives), chances are you have encountered a little – or a lot – of spam. The more popular your blog becomes, the more spam it is likely to get. Unfortunately, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to spend a lot of time moderating your blog comments.

Especially, in order to determine which ones are spam and which ones are legit. So, how do you identify spammy comments? And, should you allow WordPress discussion comments or not?

How to Identify Spammy Comments in a Blog 

In reality, the main reason why many bloggers adjust WordPress discussion settings is very obvious. To avoid spammy comments and unrelated discussion texts, or marketing links. A Comment Spam is also called a Spomment. It’s a portmanteau of the words ‘Spam‘ and ‘Comment‘.

So, how do you tell if your blog has spammy comments? Usually, these are typically characterized by the presence of replies that are irrelevant to the blog entry. Along with a link that leads to the commenter’s website. In the world of online blogging, the likelihood of encountering spam comments is inevitable.

It’s a problem for everyone and unfortunately, there’s just no escaping it. Furthermore, if your blog is popular, the chances of it receiving spam comments are higher. You can read and learn more about how to identify spammy comments in a blog in detail.

Learn More: How To Prevent Comment Spam | Google Search Central

Before we even go further, I’d like to define a few terms you need to know first. In relation to what you will see in the WordPress discussion settings panel (the Comments section). And then, thereafter, we’ll look at the types of comments in the WordPress platform.

We’ll also discuss more details about the role of settings and if third-party comment systems control spam. As well as the settings plugins you can use in the base of the WordPress comments system to help moderate spam.

The discussion section includes:
  • Comments – Comments are created when someone uses the comment form on your blog post to engage with your content.
  • Pingbacks – Pingbacks are automatically created when someone links to your blog post from one of their blog posts.
  • Trackbacks – Trackbacks are manual notifications by one blogger that they have linked to your blog post within theirs. Pingbacks were created to automate this process.

There are two types of comments within the WordPress blogging system: comments and pings. WordPress currently refers to Trackbacks and Pingbacks as Pings when you attempt to filter your comments. We’ll start with Pings.

A Ping consists of two types:— Pingbacks & Trackbacks.
  • Pingbacks are automatically generated when another blogger links to one of your posts (which is something you want to encourage) or if you yourself link from one of your blog posts to another one of your posts on your site (also a very good idea).
  • Trackbacks are manually generated from one blogger to another to alert you that they have linked to your content. Pingbacks were created to automate this process.

You can tell the difference between a comment and a Pingback fairly easily. Pings, (both Trackbacks and Pingbacks), will have the title of the post that was linked to, a link to that post, and an excerpt from the external blog post that the ping is coming from.

A comment will have the comment author’s name, email address, website URL if they have entered it, their IP address, and their comment. So far, how can you tell which blog comments are legitimate and which ones are spam is still not very straightforward.

The key features include:
  • Sketchy author names
  • Email doesn’t look legitimate
  • Dodgy website URLs and links
  • Generic or unrelated comments
  • The commenter’s name looks fake
  • Comment contains a weird link or the website URL is bad
  • The comment itself is generic and could apply to any post or topic

When we talk about spam, it can be anything. From an audio/video post on cleaner agents to an advertisement for purchasing a house. It’s anything that does not relate to the content posted on your website. Making it precisely nothing more but a spam message.

Why are Spam Comments bad?

Now that we know the different types of comments and how to identify them we will discuss why having spam comments on your blog is bad. While spam comments are annoying, it is important to spend a little time monitoring them.

In an effort to increase the number of comments present on their post, some bloggers will approve all their comments regardless if they are spam or not. This is a bad idea. Why? Even if the email comes from a legitimate domain like gmail.com, it doesn’t mean the email address exists.

Luckily, you can use an email checker for this reason. A very useful tool for checking if an email actually exists or not. Below are more reasons as to why spam comments are bad for your blogging site. So, make sure you follow them to the letter.

Search Engines Watch

Almost all SERPs returned by Search Engines like Google, Bing or Yandex often pay attention to bad links. The safety and security of the user are high on the list of priorities for Google.

If you allow bad links on your site, you are telling Google, and your readers, that you aren’t too concerned about the quality of content on your site even if it’s just blog comments.

Apathy & Indifference

Lack of moderation demonstrates apathy and indifference. As I mentioned above, the safety and security of your visitors are important factors to pay attention to. If your blog is littered with spam comments, it shows a lack of maintenance and care.

Would you want to live in a neighborhood where no one maintains their lawns and the streets are littered with trash? This is the same impression that spam comments give to Google and your readers.

Trust & Authority

Spam comments affect your trust and authority. In addition to security and safety, trust and authority are also important factors for staying high in Google rankings.

Taking the time to moderate your blog comments and ensure your content is safe for visitors says you care. It also instills trust, which goes a long way in establishing yourself as an authority on the topic you are writing about.

Community & Readership

Comments are a great way for website owners to build community and readership. Unfortunately, they’re often abused by spammers and nogoodniks, many of whom use scripts or other software to generate and post spam.

If you’ve ever received a comment that looked like an advertisement or a random link to an unrelated site, then you’ve encountered comment spam. This type of spam can be harmful to your site in several ways

Some of the after-effects include:
  • Low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings.
  • Spam can distract and annoy your users and lower the reputation of your site.
  • Unintended traffic from unrelated content on your site can slow down your site and raise bandwidth costs.
  • Google might remove or demote pages overrun with user-generated spam to protect the quality of its search results.
  • Content dropped by spammers can lead to malicious sites that can negatively affect your users.

It’s important to find ways to protect your website from this kind of malicious spam. With that in mind, you can see some ideas for reducing or preventing comment spam on your website in detail. In nutshell, as you run your WordPress blog, you’ll have a handful of different options for comments.

To Allow WordPress Discussion Comments or Not?

On one side, although this may be true, Blog Commenting is still a very beneficial web tool. In fact, Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income Web argues that blogging isn’t really blogging. Not unless you enable or allow comments on your blog.

His site has attracted over 15,500 subscribers in 28 months and he welcomes nearly 80,000 visits to his site per month. Pat regularly attracts over 50 or 100 comments per post and has written two posts with over 300 comments. Pat will be arguing why you should allow comments on your blog.

On the other side, several high-profile blogs have decided to turn comments off in recent years. Zen Habits is one of the biggest examples. Seth Godin doesn’t allow comments on his blog either and never has. He even has a shortlist article about why I don’t have comments for you.

Learn More: Blogging Without Comments: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Everett Bogue who too writes at Far Beyond the Stars is another good example. His site attracted over 8,500 subscribers in just 16 months. Everett’s site also attracts a huge audience of 70,000+ readers per month. He turned comments off as an experiment while he was traveling over the summer and decided not to turn them back on.

The debate on this comes in four parts. First, Pat’s argument that comments should be allowed on most blogs. Next comes Everett’s argument that comments shouldn’t be allowed on most blogs. And then, finally, you’ll read Pat’s rebuttal to Everett and then Everett’s rebuttal to Pat.

Similarly, when Neil Patel (see source) averaged out comments per post, he found that the overall word count on each page with comments went up.

What Is WordPress Discussion Settings?

For beginner webmasters, there are numerous types of WordPress discussion settings to consider for your blog. So, in this chapter, we will study more about WordPress Discussion Settings in detail. The WordPress discussion settings are defined as the interaction between the blogger and the visitors.

Oftentimes, these settings are done by the site admin. In order to have control over the blog posts or web pages comment that comes in through users. Basically, the WordPress discussion settings define how your readers interact with your site and how your site interacts with other blogs.

Learn More: 8 Blog Commenting Mistakes You Need to Avoid at All Costs

Furthermore, you can even configure all discussion elements such as Pingbacks and Trackbacks. This helps you define whether readers can post comments or not. And if so, you’ll control how those Comments are moderated and displayed on your site or that of your clients.

Personally, I think comments are terrific, and they are the key attraction for some blogs and some bloggers. Not for some, though as I’ll elaborate later. Forthwith, let’s first consider some of the reasons why WordPress discussion settings are important.

Why are WordPress Discussion Settings important?

Comments on the aspx pages (like in javascript etc.) are slowing down their web pages. Because it’s content that needs to be downloaded. For JavaScript, the solution is to use a minimizer and have a minimized version of the javascript on the production system.

But, for the C# code, it does not make a huge difference. Since the comments are not compiled into the assembly. If the comments are on the .aspx page, it will depend on whether they’re HTML comments or server-side comments. HTML (!<--) comments have an impact because they get transferred over the network.

The only exception is when you have an exorbitant amount of HTML (<!--) comments. Simply, because this will require extra time to transfer your HTML over the internet. All C# comments will be stripped when compiled. Generally speaking, the more that gets sent to the browser, the longer it will take your pages to load.

Learn More: How to Write Comments That Stand Out (for the Right Reasons)

It also puts additional load on your server — or even increased bandwidth usage. And most likely, a small increase in CPU load. Obviously, because the server has to work harder to send more data. That’s why ASP.NET supports server-side comments.

If, for instance, you use the !<%-- … --%> syntax instead, the contents of the comment will not be sent to the client. And, in that case, the best way to know for certain what’s actually being transferred is to View Source in the browser. In order to see what came across.

In Lexical analysis, comments are skipped, it is basically like you didn’t write anything. So, they do not affect performance in any way.

How to Adjust WordPress Discussion Settings with or without a Plugin

First of all, let’s consider you own a website and it has a comment section for your viewers/visitors. The one thing that you should be looking out for is unwanted network traffic. Particularly, that leaves spam messages on your website.

Secondly, as I said, spammy comments can play a vital role in creating detachment of your avid users. And in the end, it can even result in a major decline in your online presence. The first thing is to trust your intuition. If it looks like spam, smells like spam, tastes like spam, it’s probably spam (OK, maybe not tastes like spam).

Even with all the proper filters set up, things will still get through and it’s something you’ll want to stay on top of. So what can you do on the base WordPress comment system to control spam and moderate your comments effectively? Well, you can have a look at some basic settings to use in detail.

Related Topic: 11 Best Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins for Securing Your Site

Alternatively, in order to reduce the number of spam comments you receive, you can use some of the best Anti-spam Plugins for free. WordPress has massively simplified digital businesses. With its increasing popularity, you can almost find any kind of plugin in its respective repository.

Having said that, in this article, you’ll find some of the best anti-spam plugins for your WordPress website. That can make your day-to-day life hassle-free and give you an amazing user experience. But, you can go ahead and perform your individual-level research. However, it may cost a lot of your precious time.

Therefore, that’s why the wpblog team has simply saved you all the trouble of doing that. By handpicking out the best anti-spam plugins for WordPress —and not just any plugins, but those that are taking the largest market share.

Do Third-Party Comment Systems Help?

One way people try to combat spam is by using third-party comment systems. Popular third-party systems for WordPress include Disqus, Livefyre, and Facebook Comments Plugin. Third-party party comment systems often offer a variety of features such as:

  • multiple comment moderators,
  • requirements that visitors login before they comment,
  • the ability to find one user’s comments throughout your blog,
  • added tools to moderate user’s comments simultaneously,
  • as well as a centralized dashboard, etc.

While these things can help you moderate comment spam, they by no means eliminate the problem.

In fact, some spammers enjoy the fact that, with some comment systems, they know they will be automatically approved simply because they have an account. When it comes to third-party comment systems the following are some key considerations.

Here are some other things to keep in mind  

The effects of a third-party comment system on your overall site loading speed. Pingdom did a study of four popular third-party comment systems vs. the base WordPress comment system and noted that blogs with the base WordPress system loaded faster than those using third-party systems. Facebook increased load time the most.

Who controls your comments. When you consider adopting a third-party system, be sure to find out what happens to your current comments and what will happen to comments made on that system if you decide to change it down the road.

How user-friendly the comment system is. Will your regular readers want to register with a third-party system just to leave a comment? Sometimes adding a third-party comment system does nothing but reduce the number of legit comments.

Final Thoughts,

By all means, when it comes to comments on your blog, you’ll need to consider whether they help or just hurt your site. After all, blog commenting is a question that’s been asked since the beginning of blogging.

On one side, there’re those who are adamant that comments help you maintain credibility and stay connected to your audience. On the other side, there’s this camp that argues that the time it takes to manage comments is unnecessary.

Especially, considering the overall payout. So which side is right? Unfortunately, there isn’t a black-and-white answer here.

Related Topic: Why are WordPress Post Revisions important? How it works 

And as a result, this event helped his traffic numbers from Google rise above fold. At the time, his comments brought in around 16% of his search traffic.

That’s a pretty decent number, but it’s nothing mindblowing. So, do you think it’s really worth the time and effort it takes to moderate comments? Well, feel free to share some of your opinion thoughts, suggestions, contributions, or even questions in our comments section below.

Finally, if you’ll need more additional support, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can help you.

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