Comment moderation options in Blogger

Comment spam has become more sophisticated and now involves actual people and not just spam robots. All my blogs suffer from comment spam of varying volume but nothing on a scale that requires an investigation of 3rd-party plugins. So I make do with the existing tools in Blogger and WordPress.

I have several blogs on the Blogger engine and examining my options there.  Since I don't like having to force the rare commenter to jump through hoops, I allow "Anyone" to comment (i.e. no login required) and do not require "word verification/CAPTCHA" (so no additional steps after you click submit). 

I am forced to turn on comment moderation in some blogs, e.g. Cycling in Singapore. This has a relatively heavy load of comment spam, typically in Japanese for some reason. 

Comment moderation in Blogger is quite straightforward – I receive an email notification with the entire comment. To approve, I simply need to reply the email. Pretty neat since I needn't get out of the inbox. 

I can either click the reject link in the email or simply ignore the email which prevents publishing. A "comment moderation" page in Blogger will list unprocessed spam comments which I can visit later to "select all and reject".

Legitimate comment approval is more important than rejection as this encourages a real commenter who can enjoy viewing his contribution and help create online conversations. So I try to process comments in my inbox when I can. Since there isn't much, its easy. However, this still introduces a time delay which can slow down a conversation.  

So I tried turning off comment moderation in a very low traffic site – Mac Meetup Singapore. We meet about once a quarter but its active after a meetup with quips and observations. I opted for email notification without moderation when a comment is posted.

When the site is dormant though this adds clutter to my inbox. E.g. this morning:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: 文辰 <>
Date: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 9:49 AM
Subject: [Mac Meetup Singapore] New comment on Mac Meetup Jan 2010 – iPhones galore.
文辰 has left a new comment on your post "Mac Meetup Jan 2010 – iPhones galore
": ……………………………………………………
Posted by 文辰 to Mac Meetup Singapore at 9:49 AM

Clearing spam this way is tiresome – the blog post link brings me to the comment view section of the post online. If I am logged in, clicking the trash icon beings me to a moderation page. Here I have to select the "remove forever" option and then click "Delete Comment". I get a warning which I have to click before it's done. 

This is a tiring, multiple step process to clear a large number of spam comments. A solution is to enable moderation only for posts older than a fixed number of days, e.g. 3 days. This seems to be ideal for the Mac Meetup Singapore blog with its intermittent activity. 

The large number of inactive but useful project blogs which I still keep open have a mild spam volume. Enabling comment moderation and ignoring spam appears to be the best solution for now.