A week ago I started a poll here at ProBlogger.net asking readers whether signatures in comments should be allowed on blogs.
The poll was in response to a post that I’d written arguing against the practice which generated a lot of comments both agreeing and disagreeing with my argument. I realized pretty quickly after the comments started rolling in that this was a touchy point and that while many agreed with my stance that quite a few felt passionately that I was wrong.
I wanted to test this in a more anonymous way (I suspected that some disagreed with me but were not comfortable to do so publicly in comments) – so I started the poll.
My suspicion was correct. It seems that quite a few readers are Pro signatures in comments – 56% in fact with 35% against them and 8% undecided.
While I will admit to being a little perplexed by the result (when I wrote the original post I was convinced most would agree with me) I’m willing to publish the result and say that I’m in the minority. I’m not sure there is really a right or wrong here – but after the discussion and poll I’m a little more open to the idea of signatures in comments.
I still have these reservations about Comment Signatures:
– I still have concerns that such practices makes fighting spam comments difficult
– I do wonder where the practice will end up (I really hope we don’t end up with comment threads being like the terrible mix mash of signatures that we see on many discussion forums)
But I do take on board the arguments of many of my readers in the comments of the previous post and can see that if used responsibly it could be argued that signatures are a good thing.
I have decided to change my policy on them here at Problogger a little. If you’d like to leave a signature I’ll allow it if your comment is relevant to the post concerned. I will delete links in comments that are obviously just trying to get a link from my blog or who leave too many comments that don’t really add to the conversations taking place. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m happy to give you a link in return for your comment and participation on this blog – but please don’t abuse the privilege – if I sense you are your comment will be edited or deleted.
Commenters should also realize that I have spam filters in place which may or may not regard comments with links in them as spam. They filter comments on numerous factors – links in comments are one of these factors so you do increase the chances of being filtered with signatures. I use these filters because I get thousands of spam comments on my blogs per day – I’m sorry for the inconvenience but its a sad choice that I’ve had to make to use them.
A Final Piece of Advice
Lastly let me say that I’d urge bloggers to consider the fact that 35% of bloggers are anti signatures in comments (a further 8% have indecision about them). This is good to keep in mind as you comment on blogs (this one and others). It means that over a third of the blogs you leave comments on could be offended, annoyed, angered or put out by the practice.
I’m not sure about you – but this figure alone is enough to make me hesitate before engaging in the practice. My advice to bloggers is to only do it if you know its ok or if you have some kind of relationship with the blogger concerned. I only ever leave links in comments if they are relevant to the topic of the blog concerned – and even then I think before I add them.