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ProBlogger Comments Policy

I’d like to take a few minutes just to talk about leaving comments on ProBlogger as the past week or so I’ve had a number of interactions with readers that have left me wondering if we’re all on the same page.

I’m beginning to see that there is a real spectrum of ways in which blog readers view and use the comments sections of blogs.

These range from ignoring them completely through to abusing them completely by automatically posting thousands of self serving and irrelevant comments with links to often pretty crude sites.

Along the spectrum between ignoring comments and spam are many many different approaches to comments by readers. Each blogger has their own standards of what is and isn’t acceptable on their blog – some allow virtually any comment – others have language standards, others don’t allow signature links etc.

I’m totally fine with the variety of approaches to comments – however I want to communicate to readers of this blog where I stand:


1. I love comments on this blog - they are as important as anything I write myself. They add to the knowledge and community that we have here. If you want to comment then you’re more than welcome – whether you feel you are a beginner or an expert – feel free to have you say.

2. I delete spam – I have spam filters in place which automatically catch the majority of automated spam comments. I don’t put up with it and if any slip through the filters I delete it immediately.

3. Relevant links in comments are actively encouraged - if you’re leaving a comment on my blogs and want to point to a link on your own or someone else’s site that is relevant to the topic then please feel free to do so. This adds to the conversation and improves the blog.

4. Irrelevant links are not encouraged – if you leave a comment with a link in it that has no relevance to the post you’re commenting on it could be be deleted. This is a trend that I see happening increasingly on this blog. If you really want to annoy me then the way to do it is to do this on multiple posts. If you engage in this practice I would encourage you to think about the impact that such an approach has upon your reputation. Build your blog’s profile through genuine interactions and participation in the community here by all means – but spammy linking in comments could do more damage to your reputation than it is worth.

5. I allow signatures in comments - we had a debate over this a few months ago. My gut reaction to signatures in comments is that I don’t really see the need for them and see them as verging on the spammy end of comments. However after seeing the debate that came out of expressing this opinion I decided not to delete comments with signatures as long as the comments were relevant and added something to the conversation. ie if you write a comment that says ‘nice’ or ‘good post’ or ‘great blog’ or ‘try viagra’ and then leave a signature on your comment then it could well be deleted.

I don’t want to be a grump and come down on readers of this blog – but I also don’t want to be taken for a ride and have my blog (which I put hours of work into each day) used in ways that don’t add value to it or the community around it. There is a fine line in moderating comments – and I want to be transparent as to my stance. I wish I didn’t have to have a comments policy – but unfortunately it’s come to this.

My advice to those commenting on blogs (not just mine) is that in a sense you’re visiting someone else’s home when you leave a comment. Comments have the ability to build up our tear down your reputation. They are a permanent record of who you are and what you stand for – so take care – be gracious – make sure they add value (not only to the blog you’re visiting but also to your own online profile).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Vikram says:

    I got it wrong completley.I have started my blog on keywords and tried to gain traffic by mentioning it here.But i got deleted.Wonder why?My blog is absolutely about adsense only

  2. I can understand a debate about signature lines. I’m keen if they leave a link to their site (since that means I don’t have to hunt for it to take a peek) but drawn out adverts are a little much.

    It’s hard to know where to draw the lines.

  3. Savitha says:

    I am a relatively new blogger and my site is new too. But I did get a couple of junk comments early on. I put in a similar comments policy last December.

    Not reached a stage where the comments section need to be disabled. I am a long way from there.

  4. Efren A. says:

    Comment policy is really needed when you open a comment page to the public especially those with high PageRank. Spammers search for this kind of opportunity to place their nonsense comments and links, not just one but many which really annoying. Hope you will not count me as one of them.

  5. Gary & Val says:

    Hi,

    We’ve only been going a few months and the intention was to build an on-line passive income from the internet following whatever channels are open yo us. We started with Ebay and got to Powerseller level but got a bit tired with all the p&p duties involved so started to explore digital products like eBooks, which led to Affiliate Marketing so we decided we needed a site. We set our first one up with Blogger with a Bulgarian theme and then started expanding into other more general areas and now have about 7 Video sharing sites which are slowly building an AdSense income stream and we plan to just keep adding more and more of these for particular topics.

    We haven’t to date sold much by way of affiliate links (about $100) and now noticed the Paid To Blog option with the site we tagged in the headline. If you go to that site it will eventually lead you through to ALL our other sites and links :-)

    Any the question is this … with trying to keep things as low cost as possble we are heavily using FREE sites but just wondered if we were to build something which provides a significant income are these sites likely to just disappear one day or would we be forewarned so that we could shift all content across to other
    site(s) …. ?

    ALSO what’s your view on the Paid To Blog scenario as we’re thinking that we may as well use this type of site for ALL of our future site builds ?

    Cheers,
    Gary & Val

  6. lassaad says:

    - Hi Darren
    I today post two comments to your blog one of them have a mistake but I did not understand how to delete the first.
    How can I do? things

  7. Robert V. Edwards says:

    I’m sure I’ll learn about this – but why the note “your comment is awaiting moderation.”?? So I checked ‘ProBlogger Comment Policy’ to find out – hence I’m here leaving a further comment.

  8. Power says:

    I’m a relatively new reader to your blog and it has quickly become a staple in my daily browsing routine. One suggestion — you state that you would like to minimize off-topic comments yet you allow URL promotion in messages. Cutting out HTML and URL inclusion would minimize pointless comments and make the blog more enjoyable for everyone, less spammers.

  9. SMT says:

    its always great to read this blog. and this is the second time i was trying to comment on a topic. I saw comment policy and

    like it lot. I hope everybody in the world will follow them. And after all this is we “readers” who will get benefit of this.

    May be this could be one reason why people commenting on a topic again.

  10. Sydney says:

    You know, this is the first time I’ve really even thought about the set-up of the comments section at any length.

    I think how you gear your comments is likely going to be predicated upon the content/context of your blog. My blogs are just that, mine. They are not about anything but writing about whatever I want to write about, whenever I want to write it. I do not censor myself in terms of type posts. You may see an essay one day, something similar to a news article the next, and frequently, just a public diary of my life.

    To me, a blog is a “weblog.” On a ship, the captain keeps a log where he preserves certain events and locations to commemorate the trip. My blog is a weblog. In essence, pieces of my life, written down, as disparate in format and content as a human life frequently is. At this time, my last name is not even listed.

    Should I ever decide to use a blog for business purposes, and there may come a time when that is helpful in my industry, it won’t be either of the two blogs in which I currently post.

    But due to my own lack of self-censorship, I typically do not censor my commentors either. I delete spam unless it is particularly amusing spam, which does happen from time to time believe it or not. Also, I allow anonymous posting because I encourage discourse. I must say though, that I’ve always thought anonymous posters to be a fairly spineless lot. “Not really willing stand by that statement publicly Mr. Anonymous?” I usually leave the comments up nonetheless.

    Business blogs or professional blogs are different though. Thinking about it in that context, I can see how some comments might need to be removed just to improve the flow and more particularly, to preserve the image of the site. Malicious posters could definitely do damage in that type of construct if not managed well.

  11. Alvin says:

    It took me lots of time to read your articles but I never regret.
    I’m not a frequent commentator but I know that comment policy is truely required to prevent spam.

    There was once I wrote my comment in one of your article and I saw “your comment is awaiting moderation.” .
    Then, I came here to read the policy and I know and understand it.

  12. Mike says:

    hey I love the posts they are informative and have a lot of good context. your tips are greatly appreciated as we all need to help eachother out. I am an internet marketer as well and though Im not making 6 fig .. (not even close) I am trying to. I recently stumbled across IM a Little while ago and have been playing around with this type of business to make money .. I LOVE IT. Even though i am having some trouble with making money I still have my head high. I have actually started an experiment.. To keep it short I am attempting to see how many people I can reach with my blog Its basically about what I am trying to acomplish. All the information about IM got me courious and If you could just send this link or publish it and maybe give me a hand on simply gettin people to look at my blog . (its not a sales page) here is the Link http://thetest-mike.blogspot.com any help that you could give me would be greatly appreciated..

    thanks!
    mike

  13. Sir,

    I think you have concluded the article well

    you’re visiting someone else’s home when you leave a comment. Comments have the ability to build up our tear down your reputation. They are a permanent record of who you are and what you stand for – so take care – be gracious – make sure they add value (not only to the blog you’re visiting but also to your own online profile).

    I have been taking care of that, since I ventured into this micro-publishing we all call blogging :), hope others will be doing too

    regards,
    Gopal,
    India

  14. Etienne Teo says:

    I have just came across your comment policy, which took me awhile and i guess i am going to have this plugged in my blog also http://profit-line.blogspot.com and this is by far the best article i have read and when i get result, i will surely have you blogged!

  15. CoolLion says:

    I am regular reader of yours blog and i am really expecting this so i searched for the policy and m here. Comments really give lots of views…..but i am thinking abt adapting same policy

  16. MajoTajo says:

    What If I have 4 blogs and I post 4 links related to your blog , like for example you asked how many blogs do you own ?

  17. cup beans says:

    Laura thanks for the link for the stop smoking site I deal with the issue and like always to read others too.

  18. Darren,
    I enjoyed your rules on Blogging. My web site is relatively new, and I am struggling with ways to get the traffic up. I am considering a blog.

    I had not even thought of “rules” or many of the issues with running a blog that you have brought up.

    I wanted to add a separate page to my existing web site that is just a blog. Is that hard to do, or do I need another URL to do this?

    Also, can I get a posting text messaged to me on my cell phone since the posting may be from a prospective customer?

    Thanks,
    Dick Hourigan
    http://www.RichardHouriganInc.com

  19. Rahul Bansal says:

    Hi Darren,
    First I like the completeness and language of this comment policy. I came here looking for a guide while writing commemt policy for my own blog.
    Now I have few questions…
    -Can I copy part of this with credits of course?
    -OR can I link to this page from my comment policy page?

    Thanks,
    Rahul :-)

  20. Cathetel says:

    From time to time old blogs need to be refreshed, otherwise the comments just keep building up, and I always have this fear that the blogger must have died and be long gone. I see the cobwebs starting up already in some comments.

  21. joe says:

    pro blogger comments must be professional?

  22. Dimitri says:

    Thank you for clarification, Darren. I will implement similar strategy on sites as well.

  23. Rodney Dunn says:

    Hi Darren

    Have been visiting your site for some time now and as a newbie blogger I find your common sense open approach refreshing. Viewed your site tonight to see how you deal with comments moderation as I need to formulate something. I don’t personally like too many regulations but I guess it’s wise to set out some ground rules.

    I work in real estate and have had my own website for many years. I set up my first blog late in 2007. I hope to generate income from my blog but it’s minimal at this stage. Using adsense but it only gives me pocket money, Will read through your adsense advice section when I get time.

    Have included a link to your site on my blog as my visitors (many of then real esate agents could do with some help, including me) We are light behind you guys when it comes to blogs but I intend making a name for myself out there. My blog already has an OK Google ranking as I keep the content pumping.

    I find adsense somewhat frustrating as the variety of ads seems some what mininal here in New Zealand. We only have a population of 3.5 mill whereas if I could get more exposure in a larger market like the US or UK perhaps I’d earn more. Is there any way around this?

    Like yourself I have an interest in photography so I hope to incorporate this within my real esate blog in the near future, .
    Do you feel its better to expand my current blog or to start a new blog devoted to this. I know you’re busy but any feed back appreciated. If you wanted to comment on my blog that would also be wonderful.The only ones who have commented so far are friends and family, and thats fine but …..you get my meaning. Keep up the good work!

    Cheers.

  24. Wekie says:

    Hi Darren,

    I like your pointers as they provided a balanced viewpoint and objective examination to the “Comments or no Comments” issue.

    It’s also great that I get to read your personal opinions as they come with useful insights. Thanks very much!

    Here’s wishing you a life that always Excel Beyond Excellence!

    Warmest wishes,
    Wekie
    http://wekie.com

  25. David says:

    If you get too many rude or irrelevant comments, do you ever create an htaccess file to block either the email or IP?

    Just wondering.

  26. Hello Darren,

    Just found this post of yours. Excellent points there. There are simply too many spammers out there.

    You are absolutely right about this statement of yours:

    “Comments have the ability to build up our tear down your reputation. They are a permanent record of who you are and what you stand for”

    P.S – Bought a copy of your book sometime last week to see what it was all about. I’ve been very impressed by your writing skills. Great job!

  27. Midland Texas.

    Dear Darren Rowse
    You right, the spectrum of ways in which we comment on blogs have changed since I became aware of the blog phenomenon.
    Thank you for the invitation to comment on your blog- my first comment ever! .

    Cheer.

    Your in spirit .

    Maria SImpson.

  28. Hi, Darren Rowse, I read this article and it was helpful in that I simply hadn’t thought about the impacts of comments. So I have since decided to make sure that my comments add as much value as possible whether I put my signature or not.

    It made me reflect on the many comments I’ve seen that say things like, “good article” or “i agree”. I would say to myself that’s stupid, why did they even bother to write something. However, I’ve never had it explained as you did. Thanks, I’m going to use the comment policy on my sites as well. Don’t have the readership yet, but I believe it will be a great foundation to building a quality relationship with my readers.

    Theresa Goodman

  29. Is it true that when a blog doesn’t put “nofollow” tags to the comments (websites), then the websites attract more traffic, and if yes, then what are the possible damages that the webmaster or blogger can face, other than clearing a lot of spam?
    Can u plz mail me the answer, as I may not remember to check back again :)
    You can write a post on it too, and send me the link plz.

  30. Violet says:

    Hi I just was looking for ways to make money extra. I am going through a divorce and as I happened upon your site, I was curious of how this works and if it would be something that would help me. I feel dumb as I don’t have a clue of blogging is or does. I use the internet for work mostly. Let me know if you think I could do something like this to help me out financially. Thanks. Violet

  31. Serena says:

    Very well said! Unfortunately, it probably won’t influence the spammers much. The people who need information like this the most are always the ones who ignore it in favor of their own agenda.

Trackbacks

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  3. [...] 5. Set Boundaries – I noticed that shortly after I set the rules for my comments section (with a comments policy) that my comment numbers jumped up a little. I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence or whether readers responded to knowing what was and wasn’t acceptable. It’s just a theory but I think a well managed and moderated comments section that is free of spam and that deals with well with people stepping out of line is an attractive thing to readers. I personally don’t mind people expressing different opinions to one another in comments but when I sense things are getting a little out of hand and too personal I often step in to attempt to bring some order to the situation (I rarely delete non spam comments). I find that people have responded to this and that comment threads generally stay constructive as a result. [...]

  4. [...] ProBlogger Comment Policy. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  5. [...] I’ve noticed this trend on a several blogs and even my own – and I’m not even giving away pens to top commenters like John does. I don’t mind it really but I don’t have any delusions that these people are all that interested in my posts. Maybe I’m just being cynical but when someone pops in one day and makes 10 comments within a two minute period it’s hard to be a little suspect of their motives. ProBlogger suggests that there’s some value in having a comment policy where you can lay down some ground rules and feel free to delete any comments that don’t comply. [...]

  6. [...] 4. Control the comments: anything that is published on your blog is your responsibility; that means that you should control not only the information that you include on the posts and articles but also what your readers add through the comments. First of all you could create a comment policy and attach a link to the comment form. This will ensure that readers are aware of what they can and can not say in a comment. You can check an example of a comment policy on Problogger.net. [...]