Why Anonymous Comments Do Not Appear Immediately on Talk of the Sound

Written By: Robert Cox

I get this question regularly and it came up again today — why is my comment not on the site. As I have explained many times, if you want your comments to appear immediately (i.e., without moderation) simply register for the site, login and comment. Your comment will appear within a second or two of your pressing the “submit” button. There is one caveat to this; regardless of whether or not you register we have some minimal standards as to what we will permit on the site — bad language, the use of all caps, hate speech and troll comments are all prohibited and will be deleted if published or simply not approved if posted anonymously.

This still does not, however, explain WHY we do not allow legitimate, anonymous comments to appear on the site without moderation. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words so maybe providing readers with a glimpse of the admin section of Talk of the Sound will make things more clear. Below is a list of comments from this morning. As you can see there are about a dozen comments that appear to be from real people (unchecked, not highlighted). There are another couple dozen that are clearly not from a real person because the subject is a random series of letters (checked, highlighted). Those comments with random series of letters are what is known as “spam comments” — they contain links to sites that are seeking to surreptitiously advertise on Talk of the Sound by embedding thousands and thousands of links into our site.

Those comments with random letters are obviously spam. Less obvious are the spammers who will actually take the time to respond to a particular post and THEN insert a bunch of spam links. There are even some spammers who will register for the site. Because of this we need to actually review EVERY anonymous post. The first step is to delete the obvious spam and then cull through the rest. ALl of this takes time which further adds to the delay of posting the legitimate anonymous comments.

Eventually we will get rid of this problem altogether by disabling comments for unregistered users. The short-term effect is to decrease the amount of discussion taking place in the comments but eventually the amount of discussion actually increases as the quality of the comments improves as the anonymous cranks are weeded out.

In any case, you can hopefully see by now that if we did not require manual approval of anonymous comments not only would we get the 12 legitimate comments but many more spam comments. Worse, wants the spammers realize that their spam comments ARE appearing on a site, they massively increase the amount of spam comments sent to our site. Not only are these spam comments intrusive, they are often ads for very bad things or rip-offs and, when they flood a site they can actually block real readers from even viewing a web page.

So, next time you post an anonymous comment and it does not appear on the site please realize that you are on this list, pending approval. I have a little application on my iPhone that tells me when there are comments waiting for approval but, for now, no iPhone app that allows me to easily approve the legitimate comments. Until that day comes, I have to be in front of my laptop to approve comments so when I am not at my desk the comments tend to back up. If you do not like waiting the solution is simple — register. Otherwise, you will just have to wait until I get a chance to approve your comment.

A Comment Queue Full Page.jpg