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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Commenting - Keep it Simple and Secure



As anyone who regularly reads my posts, on this blog, will appreciate, I usually try to keep things plain and simple, safe and secure. I believe that if you stick to the basics, you, like me, will have trouble-free blogging. It's when you try to perform miracles with your blog, that things can go awry.

When I started blogging, I was lucky to develop a good rapport with Nitecruzr, who probably lost most of his hair because of me, and the questions I asked. However, everyone who blogs will have a learning curve. Some steeper than others. Mine was lessened in severity because Nitecruzr gave me some basic advice. Things like keep it simple, slowly slowly, think it out, remember what you do, how you did it, etc.

Commenting - adding Comments to blogs, and allowing people to comment on your blogs, is one facility which is also best kept simple. There are simple steps to achieve this. To lessen any future problems, there are simple security measures to observe, also.


Allowing Comments on YOUR BLOG

Many bloggers, who visit the Blogger Help Forum, could not possibly have any knowledge of Settings, otherwise they would not have to ask questions. Blogger Settings are like a blueprint for your blog. Yes, I know that the template doesn't appear there, and Colours and Fonts don't appear there, but just about every basic structural component can be controlled from the Settings. Check them out! Don't be afraid to click on them and learn about your blog!

Settings - Comments is easy to follow and understand. The screen can be divided into parts. The 'top' half is mainly concerned with ...
  • 'Showing, or Hiding Comments',
  • 'Who will I allow to comment on my blog?',
  • 'Where, or How will I display Comments?', and
  • 'Will I allow Comments on New Posts?'





The first option in the above image allows you to Show, or Hide, comments which have been made on your blog. By 'Hiding' comments, you can have some form of control over security. If malicious commenters do not 'see' their comments published, they will (hopefully) discontinue commenting. Spammers are a different bucket of slime. Naturally, Comment Moderation is the best for this purpose. You never lose your comments by hiding them, either. They can be 'recovered' when you click 'Show'. Note: Comments can also appear, or be hidden, by use of the Blog Post Page Element - Configure Blog Posts - via the 'Design' screen.

The second option is 'Who Can Comment?' There are four options here:

  • Anyone - includes Anonymous Users. This means 'anyone'. If I chose this option, I would definitely be using Comment Moderation and Word Verification (see below).
  • Registered Users - Includes OpenID. This is probably the best option to use, and the one I choose to use. A Registered User means anyone who has some form of recognisable account, like an Open ID, Google, Yahoo, etc. I still use Word Verification and Comment Moderation, though.
  • Users with Google Accounts. Specific to Google IDs.
  • Only Members of this blog. Specific to Private Members of a Private blog.


The third option is Comment Form Placement. This option is self-explanatory.


The fourth option is Comments Default for Posts. This option dictates whether, or not, you are going to allow Comments on New Posts. This option is also present in the Post Options on the Post Editor - see: - Reader Comments - Allow / Don't Allow.


Note: I will not be including any information about 'Backlinks' in this post series. Why Blogger includes this on the Comments screen confuses me. I think it should be on the Basic Screen.


The next section starts with Comments Timestamp Format. It also contains, what I believe is a MUST for Comments ... SECURITY!




It is important that your Date Timestamp is correct. Self explanatory, again.


You can add a stock-standard Comments Form Message in your Comments box, if you like. This section is well worthwhile. It allows you to explain to your readers about Word Verification and Comments Moderation, like I have above.


Here is the main Security feature - Comments Moderation. Even though you may utilise the New Comments format on Blogger, for it's SPAM facility, (which is essential, I think), Comments Moderation is also essential, if you want control over which comments appear on your blog. Every comment will be sent, via email, to you for approval. It's simple to use. Simply enter your email address in the box.

Word Verification (a Captcha), is also essential. Why? Well, with a word captcha, there is some chance that mechanical Spamming may be reduced. It tries to prove that the commenter is, at least, human. I use it and have had no objections from my readers. Naturally, the author of the post will not be asked to complete this task.


Commenting on ANOTHER BLOGGER'S BLOG.

Commenting on someone else's blog requires:
  • The owner to permit Comments. Which level of permission is essential.
  • An ID - either Blogger, Google, OpenID, or 'anyone'.


The process of leaving a comment is roughly the same as for leaving a comment on your own blog.








Now, the last section of the Settings - Comments screen gives you the opportunity to include an image on your comments, when you place them on your own, or someone else's blog. It's called Show Profile Image on Comments? The image will be that of the Profile you use, Blogger, if you select your Blogger ID, Google if you use that. It's up to the blog owner if he/she wants profile photos on the comments of his/her blog!




The last option is to notify up to ten (10) email addresses of Comments placed on the blog.

Of course, if you want to delete an offensive comment, see this article,, by Nitecruzr.

See? Simple!


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