Commenting: The new default is off

As with many other blogs, this one has seen a lot fewer real comments in recent months and years than in the past.

As with–I’d guess–many other blogs, this one sees far too many spamments.

In the good old days (waves cane in the air), I would check the spam logs and restore comments that were mistakenly trapped as spam (which happens once in a while, usually because a person includes more than one link in comment).

But once I started getting more than 60 spam attempts a day, I just wasn’t willing to take the time to check each one.

More recently, I’ve sometimes remembered to go back and turn off commenting for those posts for which it’s clearly irrelevant (which seem to attract the most spam elements). That seemed to be helping: I was down to 20-60 spam attempts per day.

Then, last week, things went straight to hell and have stayed there: I’m getting some 200 spam attempts a day (most of them in non-Latin scripts).

Meanwhile, while there are a few actual comments, there are very few.

Giving up

So I’m giving up. WordPress’ interface doesn’t allow me to choose whether or not to allow comments as I’m preparing a post. I have to post it, then go into the dashboard, call up Posts, and do a quick edit from that list. I tend to forget to do that on the “no comments required” posts.

So I’m switching the default. From now on, new posts will not allow comments by default. If I remember and it’s appropriate, I’ll go in and turn on commenting (for 60 days) after publishing the post.

Sorry if this further discourages real comments, but there are so few of those compared to the flood of presumably autogenerated spamments (I particularly love the ones where the spammer doesn’t bother to run the generating software, so you get random-generation clauses rather than text)…

If you actually have a serious response and I’ve forgotten to turn on comments, you can always send me email. If it’s my goof, I’ll turn on comments and post your email as a comment (unless you tell me not to).

5 Responses to “Commenting: The new default is off”

  1. Walt,

    Turning on/off commenting on a per-post basis is available, just hidden by default.

    Open up a new post, then click on the Screen Options in the far upper-right corner of the page. From there check “Discussion” then close the screen options.

    You should now have two new items under the compose box: “Allow comments” and “Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on this page” which you can check/uncheck before publishing your post.

  2. Walt Crawford says:

    Thanks! One area of the interface I hadn’t checked.

    OK. I’ve made that change. I’ll leave the default as Off, but it will be a lot easier to turn commenting On for posts where commenting is plausible. Which I will try to remember to do.

  3. Walt Crawford says:

    There’s another commenting mystery: I find that most successful spam attempts–those that show up until I clobber them–do not cause notifying emails, which are supposed to be generated for all comments. I wonder why that is?

  4. Walt Crawford says:

    Here’s another one: How do I get my picture to show up? (This is a LISHost wordpress install, not, and adding a Gravatar doesn’t seem to do anything.) [Hmm. Apparently it works, but just takes a while to show up. Never mind.]

  5. No idea on the comment e-mails. I get e-mails for the “successful” spam on all my blogs. (Most LISHosted also.)