Today I noticed a lot of comments appearing concerning the poem Fog by Carl Sandburg (I had a copy of it on my poetry page). It seemed to be from a small group of people, possibly from a class or chat room. All of the comments were initially coming from the same IP address. It seemed to consist of several males “pooh-poohing” the poem (literally and ad nauseum), and a few females trying to defend their appreciation of the poem. It was the first flame-war I have seen in a long time, and reinforces my habit of avoiding situations where such things occur. The level of maturity of the guys was also abysmal.
After about thirty posts going back and forth I decided to shut things down. This was the first time such a thing had happened to me, so I had to go hunt through the WordPress dashboard for possible methods to eliminate or reduce the problem. Here are a few of the things I found useful.
- Dashboard > Options > Discussion then go to Comments Blacklist. Here you can list names, IPs, URLs, and email addresses to blacklist. For today’s problem, with 3-4 annoyances involved, this expedient was a good try. But somehow one of the gremlins was still getting through. So then I tried…
- Dashboard > Options > Discussion then find Before a Comment Appears and check the third box (“Comment author must have a previously approved comment”). This will send messages from a commenter not previously approved to Dashboard > Manage > Awaiting Moderation. There were advantages to this method. First, after a few minutes I checked it and found those people who were being sensible and allowed their comments to be posted. Second, I had a ball watching the idiots trying to get through, and I fully appreciated their frustrated comments as they discovered they were shut out. After a few minutes of chortling and rubbing my hands together I used the batch method of labelling their comments as spam, and so far nothing has made it through, even to the Awaiting Moderation page. QED.
- To minimise further problems, go to Dashboard > Options > Discussion then find Before a Comment Appears, and then check the second and third boxes. The second box (“Comment author must fill out name and e-mail“) helps you if you decide to blacklist someone as described in the first tip. The third box(“Comment author must have a previously approved comment”) reduces the number of people that you have to screen.
Finally, I would like to thank three of the brave souls who fought the good fight. They were the aptly named Dragoness, the cool-headed Ice Princess, and the appreciative Sahara. I think some of them don’t back down from an argument. Keep reading the good stuff, and don’t let the turkeys get you down.