Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some changes to my blog

I have decided to make some improvements to the comment system used by this blog. The previous commenting restrictions were put in place after a spate of automated comments aimed at "link spamming". Now that Blogger (Google) have put in place a comment spam filter I have been able to free things up slightly whilst not having to change to an external comment service (and lose all the existing comments).

Here are a summary of the changes:
  • You no longer need a Google account to leave a comment, but there is a message encouraging you to leave a name/URL so people can tell your comments from other people's. Sadly there is no way to force this in the blogger comments system currently.
  • I have removed moderation. All new comments will be instantly posted to the blog.
  • I have removed the captcha barrier for posting comments (but may reintroduce it if spam becomes a problem).
  • I have modified the "x comments" link that appears on each post so it encourages people to leave a comment.

Lets see how it goes. My guess is that I will need to re-enable captcha at some point, but Blogger's anti spam system may be good enough to not require that.


  1. Indeed. Not sure how comment subscription works without an account though. Presumably it needs to be added manually. Blogger really needs to make name/email/url a default option. I believe the reason they can't is related to their security model which has all the comments held as seperate files in different locations.

  2. Well, it didn't last long. Not spam, but a string of vitriol and general nastiness.

  3. Having experimented with Disqus and Intense Debate I found that Disqus was probably better but neither can currently import comments so old posts had to keep the Blogger comments system. I also notice there are a lot of feature requests going into Google about a better commenting system for Blogger so I have decided to leave any change until either Disqus can import comments from Blogger or Blogger improves their comment system.

    I have switched comments back to requiring login because removing this led to lots of comments under username "Anonymous" which could not be differentiated from each other.

    Logging in just requires OpenID or a Google account (Gmail) which most people will have.

    However, I have kept two changes in place:

    1. Removed captcha (no longer necessary due to Bloggers spam filters).
    2. Removed moderation (ditto).

    I think this is a good compromise.
    In light of my change of job I am going to need to add a disclaimer that the views here are not those of my employer.