This is advice for fellow blog administrators. If you don’t have admin privileges to the comment moderation utility on a blog, then ignore this post.
Many bloggers (feminist bloggers are a favourite target) get targeted by gits who like to pile up abusive comments on many posts, even when they know they’ve been put into permanent moderation, because they get a kick out of the idea of the blogger(s) reading the comments anyway. It’s hatespam. If you have email notification for posts in moderation, then you get the abuse sent to your email, a thought which they also love. It’s a particularly insidious form of cyberbullying, with the goal of intimidation and silencing of voices that bother them.
The first answer to controlling such comments is to enable the options where comments are only autopublished if that commentor supplies an email address and has had a previously approved comment (more on that later). That will catch any new gits posting abuse to your blog. Then killfiling (aka blacklisting* or spaminating) the malfeasants bypasses the moderation queue entirely – usually sending them to the spam bucket. The instructions below are specifically for WordPress users (com and org) but other platforms should allow similar kill-filing (if not, I suggest you change to a more flexible blogging platform – there are several).
Once you send a hate commentor to the spaminator then you won’t have to read it in your moderation queue, and for [edit 2009-03-17]
WordPress users there’s another option to make checking the spam bin for false positives even better: a Firefox Greasemonkey browser script that puts all your spam on a single page, only shows the first 50 characters, and identifies multiple messages from the same sender. Install the Firefox Browser + Greasemonkey scripts + Akismet Auntie Spam for WordPress (all explained at Auntie Spam’s page), then you will only ever see the first few words of any hatespam. If the same email address or IP number (more below) posts many comments Auntie Spam will redlist them and you won’t even see those first few words. [no longer updated for latest versions of WordPress]
The first thing to notice with hatespam commentors is that they do tend to morph their email addresses, so moderation or kill-filing on email addresses alone is ineffective with this type of poster. You may think that you’re getting abuse from lots of different posters, but go to the dashboard and choose the Comments tab and check the IP numbers that are listed next to each comment. Copy the IP number of an abusive commentor in the moderation queue into the Search function on the Comments Page. You may well find that all those nasty comments resolve down to only a few IP addresses, or maybe even just one. So, the answer to a hater who uses continually morphing email addresses is to kill-file their IP address, as IP numbers change infrequently, even if they are using dynamic IPs.
Method (for the current WP.com configuration):
- Got to the Admin Dashboard & choose the “Settings” tab over on the right:
- Then choose the “Discussion” tab:
- Scroll down the options to “Before a comment appears” and make sure that these two are checked (check all three if you want even more comment control, but it will slow down discussion amongst your trusted regular commentors):
- Scroll down further until you come to “Comment Blacklist*” and add the IP number:
- Then (very important) scroll down to the bottom of the page and Save your changes:
If you have a wordpress.org installation the method might differ slightly if you are not running a 2.5+ version on your blog. Other blogging platforms will organise their admin interface slightly differently, but the logic should be generally similar.
Any questions? General questions about moderation welcome as well as any clarification needed on the specifics of kill-filing.
*yes, I do wish WordPress called it a Kill File instead