A blog should always be a two-way street for both you and your audience. As much as you like to keep the interaction one-sided with only you putting out content for them to see, engaging with your audience works better if they can leave their input. For this, the comment section does wonders. It’s not without its downsides, though, there are certain harmful comments your blog needs to be moderated.
Because if you leave a mini-open forum for people to share their thoughts and ideas to, chances are, they’ll resort to anarchy. Anonymity can be a powerful thing, after all. These harmful comments can often undo the freedom you allow your audience when you chose to give them a voice on your website.
That’s why staying vigilant by using your astute judgment or some automated plugins can help filter out these negative and harmful comments. You might find that some of them can even go through the hardiest of security plugins. That means most of these comments require your attention. Watch out for these.
We’ll be honest with you, you don’t deal with spammers, you just bar them from your website. These are the users you probably see commenting the same link of how they earned X amount of money working an hour from their home. Most of the time, those things lead to websites or domains laden with viruses.
They not only harm your website’s credibility and authority but also your legitimate audience who somehow get enticed and fooled by the scam. Simply download an anti-spam plugin (it’s easier to find if you use WordPress) and let it deal with those. You might still find some comments that get through from legitimate users; their accounts might have been compromised and you’ll have to delete those manually. In any case, dealing with spam comments is easy and the least headache-inducing.
Internet trolls and their comments thrive on negative publicity and attention so the best way to deal with them is how you deal with spam. It can be trickier, however, since trolls aren’t necessarily bots– some are definitely bored individuals on the internet looking to start their own digital bushfire. They’re usually easy to spot since their comments are mostly unrelated and scandalous.
While you might not be able to deal with them like you deal with spam due to their being legitimate users, you can moderate them by installing a website comment moderator plugin. This can ensure that any comment has to go through your watchful eyes before being posted so that trolls never get a chance to harm your legitimate users.
3. Impatient readers
Not all users to let out abrasive or confrontational comments are trolls. Some of them might actually be legitimate audience who merely went straight for the comment section to blurt out their thoughts without reading or watching your content. If that’s the case, promptly tell them the error of their ways; also ask them to view the content you worked hard to publish.
Chances are, they might not even reply to your response since they’re “too busy” but always remember to be mature while handling them. If there are too many of them since you might have picked an alluring yet cryptic title but a lot of the audience never got past that, you can always deploy a moderator plugin again to handle them.
4. Incomprehensible comments
If you have visitors on your website that aren’t too familiar with your native language or your website’s language, the line between spam and nonsense comments can get a lot thinner. Sometimes you might find people of other nationalities asking questions in broken language or leaving something incomprehensible in your comment section.
With any luck, your responsible audience might take care of them (assuming they’re not spammers). If not, then it’s up to you to be patient and politely ask them what they mean. There’s a chance they might be spammers who got through your plugin or trolling users. So it’s up to you to judge their relevance on your blog’s comment section; don’t be too quick to delete them, who knows, they might even increase engagement.
In addition to spam, promotions are some of the more common annoyances in a blog’s comment section. They’re not always products or services, however; some might even be other bloggers who are just starting out. In that case, they might be trying to get their boost by self-promoting in your comment section.
These are not necessarily harmful– you just have to check out which is being promoted, maybe even check their website authority; you don’t want anything too suspiciously low (pornsite levels, i.e.). If it’s a fellow blogger and that’s how they want it, it’s up to you whether you want to give them a boost or not; a little fraternity and community spirit shouldn’t hurt.
How toxic your blog comment section can get depends entirely on the content you produce or the niche of your blog. Certain niches attract certain kinds of people. In that regard, you’ll find no shortage of combative and intentionally harmful comments on political blogs or the like. This can happen even if your content doesn’t incite arguments or confrontations.
Since it’s your blog, a certain portion of responsibility still falls on your plate. It’s up to you to ensure that no one gets harmed (not physically, of course) in a comment section argument. After all, you still want a healthy ecosystem and community within your blog, right? This is where you’ll have to play referee in your comment section as you want to cultivate engagements yet in a positive manner.
7. Destructive criticisms
As it is, your whole blog or authors are also not exempted from argumentative discussions in the comment section. You might find some users are a lot more negative about certain decisions, changes, or content on your website. While some of their criticisms can help improve your blog or content, you have to watch out for their ideas or how they convey their message.
People who usually resort to insults or violent vocabulary shouldn’t be allowed to go rampant in your comment section as they’ll only make it toxic despite their points. A censorship plugin can work wonders to filter out those who resort to destructive criticism.
While you can ignore destructive criticism, threats are something you simply shouldn’t disregard. Legal threats, hacking threats, establishment warnings, even death threats sometimes– all of them you shouldn’t snub. You might even need some professional help to track where these threats are coming from.
It’s not just you who needs to be protected, of course, but also your users who might get digitally threatened one way or another. In any case, make sure you watch out for all these harmful comments on your blog no matter how big or small.
First published on October 2019; updated November 2021