Why is your comment awaiting moderation?

9 Oct

Gandalf and Balrog you shall not pass

If you pop a comment onto this post today, you will see it appear immediately. Almost as immediately (because I believe in replying while you’re still around to read it), you will have a response from me.

Writers appreciate comments. They start a conversation. Most of us don’t write to pontificate, but to open dialogue.

For some reason, a surprisingly robust number of bloggers employ comment moderation, which means you can wait a day, often several, before your comment actually appears beneath the post, if in fact it ever does. Some time after that, a reply may come.

You might as well be sending a letter to the editor of your local paper.

What do bloggers fear about letting comments appear instantly?

Spam? I have seen nearly 3,000 comments on my posts over the years and can count on one hand the number of spams that have managed to sneak past Akismet, the WordPress spam filter. One of those came from something called Midget Albino Porn Star, which was like a gift from the gods!

Contentious content? My position is to let every comment through, no matter how inflammatory or mean-spirited. They offer ripe opportunities for a colourful retort.

Because the comment makes you look foolish? If someone makes me look foolish, it’s because I earned it. I suck it up, learn, and try to make amends.

If you want to control spam, might I suggest you build-in a type-this-word filter instead. For other tips, read this.

If you can’t bear the thought of a comment appearing on your blog before you’ve decided whether or not it’s inappropriate or threatening to your self-esteem, I encourage you to lower your defences and live on the edge! Instant commentary makes your blog come alive. Conversations that flow from differing or rabble-rousing opinions can be far more entertaining than a quiet stream of agreements. They give your other readers a chance to weigh-in as well.

I urge you to disagree with me now – and I won’t moderate it!

(Stunning artwork by Ivan Koritarev of Bulgaria)


22 Responses to “Why is your comment awaiting moderation?”

  1. Chel October 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I appreciate that you write, and that you share tips and lessons with others, Doug. I’m still not at blogging comfort-level yet, so I’m happy to live vicariously through you, living life on the edge! 😉
    You’re right – the artwork is stunning!
    ps. Despite your best encouragement, I haven’t managed to wean myself of exclamation marks..yet! 😉

    • Doug Brown October 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      You mean my comment on your post will await moderation! Why don’t you try blogging without the net for a week and see how it works out for you? It may keep you on your toes, but that’s why we blog I guess. Thanks for reading and leaving the comment and the exclamation marks Chel.

  2. Andrea October 9, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    Do you purposefully write each post in a manner that’s designed to evoke responses? If so, what are some of your tactics? I used to always pose a question at the end and I know some people remove the final paragraph they have written in order to leave room for a discussion. However, I still see a lot of clients/friends who don’t get many comments and it leaves them discouraged. From your experience, do you have any tips on how to best create conversations on a blog so you’re not just the crazy guy mumbling alone in the park?

    Ps. You should know I thoroughly enjoy about 90% of your posts even though I’m sure I only comment on about 5%. Be assured you have a nodding and smiling reader on the other end.

  3. Andrea October 9, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    That last thought actually raises an entirely new area of discussion: How do you know when your customers ( or in this case readers) are actually happy? Or better yet are loyal? You can poll them every once and a while although you’ll only get a small percentage of your client base actually responding. You can try and track clicks ( or return visits to a store) but you can’t rate the degree to which they liked a post or recent visit. I think this is a problem for most large corporations and their core business functions. As a marketer, I fear most the silent customer who is only content. I’d wager a guess too that about 80% of most client groups fall into that category. Write a post on this?

    • Doug Brown October 10, 2012 at 5:12 am #

      There are a number of metrics you can evaluate to determine the success of a particular post Andrea: comments, views, shares on Facebook and Twitter, new followers. But these are also governed by variables, such as the time of the day you post or the day of the week. I published a post two days ago, Zombies vs Bacon, which had historically low views and no comments at all, but prompted 5 new blog followers and 3 likes, both of which were high.

      The fact is, you have to take everything into account. Since this is a blog about my personal passion, I anticipate a niche audience. When I introduce other niche sub-categories, like zombies, into the mix, my potential audience shrinks further but also becomes more loyal and committed.

      A word about my audience: there are students of advertising, local businesses, my family and friends (who may not really care about advertising much but don’t mind an occasional peek behind the curtain), other bloggers and some advertising professionals.

      Ultimately, this is something I do because I want to. I don’t get paid. Writing this blog keeps my antennae up and provides me with an avenue to explore the good, the bad and the ugly in my industry. I take note of what doesn’t click with my audience and am always hunting around for that elusive topic that manages to push all the buttons: likes, follows, shares, comments and views. Why? Because I want to engage people and stimulate them to think and talk about communications and advertising, if only for a moment every few weeks.

      You asked whether I posed a question at the end of my post to encourage responses. I’ve found that only works sometimes. There is nothing more disheartening then asking a question and getting no replies! So I try instead to stick to topics that are likely to interest. I usually know when I’ve finished a post whether it will entertain or create conversation, or hopefully both. But I’m still learning!

      Your comment sure got me thinking and I love your suggestion about the potential blog topic. Consider me on it like a hound. Thank you Andrea – for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts. Appreciated!

  4. Chel October 10, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Your audience also includes me, who doesn’t fall into any of the categories listed. I found you via a brilliant post written for the now-defunct CC. I stay for the thoughtful and intelligent writing.
    I understand Andrea’s point about bloggers becoming discouraged, and can offer nothing profound, but just to encourage them to continue. Even if they’re only seeming to touch a few, perhaps that reach is deep and important to the reader. 🙂

    • Doug Brown October 10, 2012 at 6:09 am #

      Let’s call you a Social Media friend! Thanks for the kind words Chel. What I find interesting is to come across a blog that’s got a dozen posts in it, nothing particularly earth-shattering in the content, and read the publicized followers at 1,200! Or 5,000. I don’t know how they do it. But the best audience is one you build up one at a time, so I agree with you. You’re a valued reader to me, and generous with your comments and your shares. Better to be talking clearly and cleanly with one person, than have a hundred delete your post without reading it when it hits their inbox.

      • Chel October 10, 2012 at 6:28 am #

        There you go – you eloquently stated what I was trying to say. 🙂
        I wonder about bloggers who have a view ticker (I didn’t check if you do – oops!). Is it sometimes more for their own ego, or an attempt to impress others? I couldn’t give a whit about being the x-th viewer, but I do care about content! Then again, I don’t tend to be a sheep, blindly following the rest of the flock. Sometimes I think it’s infinitely cooler to stumble across small niches of brilliance and intelligence, than to blindly go with the flow.

      • Chel October 10, 2012 at 6:36 am #

        And thank you Doug, I’m honoured to be a social media friend. 🙂
        Your blogs often have me stop and think about actions and perceptions. Sometimes serious, other times with humour.
        Going back to points Andrea brought up, I refer to that first blog that reeled me in. I have e-mailed, mentioned, and referred to that. multiple times since I first read it. I have used it when talking to businesses, friends and family. So while the original count might not seem high, I’m sure it’s reach has been extensive.

  5. Doug Brown October 10, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    I don’t like the view-tickers myself. I prefer to imagine the writer values me as reader, rather than being one in a flock of thousands, as you mention. So I wouldn’t bring that experience to my readers.

    Do you hunt around WordPress Freshly Pressed or Reader? That’s where you find stuff you never knew you were looking for – those small niches you wrote of.

    And out of interest, what was that first post that connected us?

    • Chel October 10, 2012 at 6:50 am #

      lol See? I don’t have that blogger mindset (yet, bwahaha). I know not of which you speak. I usually stumble across things via Twitter, or when googling (yes, I know I’m using it as a verb) a subject, and find some random post on a topic I didn’t even know I wanted to read! 🙂

      • Andrea October 10, 2012 at 9:50 am #

        Me too! I want to know what the original post was. This is another example of my point really. Doug as a “business”, you put out a great product. Chel obviously was a fan and spread it through her network – both online and off. This is brand advocacy at its core and yet we’re not sure what specific blog provoked so much good. Nor that so much good was occurring. So how to repeat? Maybe it’s because I value human reactions so much as a measure of success but I find it hard to measure incremental success with no interpersonal feedback.

      • Chel October 10, 2012 at 10:44 am #

        Sorry you two, I went off-line to join a friend for breakfast. Got your message, Doug. Thanks.
        The original post was on CC, regarding the Rise of the SuperConsumer. I take the power from it, but also as a cautionary tale that too much power is not good either! 😉
        It made such a lasting impression on me, that I finally contacted Doug to tell him that. He kindly pointed me to his own blog, and here we are.

  6. Doug Brown October 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Here we are indeed. Thanks Andrea and Chel for the stimulating convo today around dialogue, audience and advocacy! THAT’S why I blog.

  7. Graham October 17, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Sometimes I have noticed that it doesn’t matter what blog I am trying to comment on (blogger, WordPress, etc), for some reason every single one of my comments seems to be awaiting moderation. I was wondering what might cause this. For the amount of blogs I comment on I don’t think that it is just bad luck. There must be something wrong with my comments or something. Any suggestions??

    • Doug Brown October 17, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      I know the feeling Graham! But it didn’t happen on this blog, which means the author of the post is responsible for the barrier, not the blog host and not the commenter. All the blog writer has to do is to go to his Settings, select Discussion and un-tick both comment moderation boxes under the “Before a comment appears” heading.

      Occasionally an IP address sends off alarms with the Akismet filter, and comments from that address are bundled into the spam box. But that’s not your case because your comment to me got through. Too many writers wanting to control their comments, if you ask me. Good luck!

  8. Five Drunk Rednecks January 14, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    “I urge you to disagree with me now – and I won’t moderate it!”

    We disagree with you because, if you moderated your posts, you wouldn’t be dealing with five drunk rednecks. And we know we’re not so drunk or seeing double or something because Brian just counted us on his fingers on his right hand and had a finger left over, so that’s how we know there are definitely five of us.


    • Doug Brown January 14, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Yes, but if I had moderated your comment, think how much less entertaining the comments section would then be. 🙂

      • Five Drunk Rednecks January 14, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

        The section would be more entertaining if you served beer or is this a BYOB post?

        Seriously, you wrote a good article and, other than having fun with it, can’t add much more. As the five of us, we run two blogs and one of us runs two other, let’s say less controversial, blogs and not one of them has moderated comments. The simple captcha thingy keeps the spam away, but, of course, none of the four blogs are popular so we don’t have to deal with the trolls and flame wars that can get out of hand. Of course, we’re the type that if we like the blog, we keep reading the blog and ignore the comments that “get off topic”.

  9. Doug Brown January 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    I’ve spilled beer on my computer before but that’s the closest I’ve come to serving it on the blog… sorry! But thanks a lot for the nice comment on the post. Good luck with yours. I will check them out! Cheers.

  10. bang February 21, 2014 at 9:33 am #


  11. hasola February 27, 2015 at 4:58 am #

    bogo a ani http://www.kayata.com

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