Thursday, January 20, 2011

Genealogy Blogs: A Comment on Comments

What if a sweet little old lady with generations of research of your family tree stumbled onto your blog? Wouldn't that be great? What if she had trouble leaving a comment and got so frustrated that she left your blog without saying a word? This is my worst nightmare. In my genealogy fantasy world in my head, I picture this lady out there somewhere. I call her Betty With All the Answers. When she does find my blog and wants to share all her notes, I've made it easy for her to contact me.

This got me thinking...and it's always dangerous when I start thinking...

I'm curious to know how your blog is set up to receive comments from others. I have some questions to ask all of you. These are in bold, and I've put my responses below them. If you want to answer as a blogger or reader of blogs, I would love to get your input. Leave a comment below.

Do you have your email address on your blog? Why or why not?
I do have my email address in the top right corner of my blog. It gives readers a way to contact me privately. Sometimes, as a blog reader, I want a way to share family history information or other details that I'd prefer not be in a public comment. I'm assuming some of my blog readers feel the same, so I've given them an option to contact me off the blog.

Do you allow comments from only those who are registered or have special accounts, such as a WordPress account or Google for Blogger? Why or why not?
I comment on a lot of blogs, and I notice that some require readers to have an account in order to comment. This is to curb anonymous commenters and possible junk, I'm sure. However, it also blocks regular people who don't have special accounts. I don't have a WordPress account, so I can never comment on those blogs with that setting.

My blog is open to all commenters. You can be anonymous and don't have to have a Google account, otherwise my own parents would never be able to comment on my blog. I've found that most people provide their own names, or familiar nicknames, and I rarely have a real "anonymous" commenter. This open commenting setting is important to me because it's one more way Betty With All the Answers can reach me.

What's your take on word verification?
Many, many blogs have this feature turned on. My blog does not currently utilize word verification. Here's why:

1. The Blogger word verification feature is not entirely reliable. Sometimes it plain doesn't work. I can't see a word in the box, there's nothing for me to type, and therefore I can't comment on a blog. Everyone loses.

2. The squiggly letters are getting more difficult to read. People, I'm in my 30's and I can't make sense of the letters sometimes. I can't imagine my wise elders with worsening eyesight are faring any better in deciphering them. One less headache in my book.

3. The purpose and process of word verification isn't as easy for our readers to comprehend as we think. Two different family members of mine expressed confusion with the word verification process. I don't want readers dealing with the same experience, and I sure as heck don't want Betty With All the Answers to be confused.

Blogger has been really good about sorting junk comments into the trash bin. I've only had one junk comment get into my blog since turning off word verification, and it was easily spotted and erased from the "comments" page on Blogger. I really hope I can continue to keep word verification off as long as possible. So far, so good.

Do you manually approve your comments before they are published on your blog? Why or why not?
I only require this of comments that are over 14 days old. I have a couple of blog posts that are magnet for junk comments, and this controls that. However, I may turn this switch off as well and see if Blogger can handle it.

On this here old blog, it's important to me that I provide a welcoming, friendly space for a someone to contact me. It's scary to contact a stranger out of the blue and I want to ease that process. Comments are just too important to me. I know my Betty With All the Answers is out there and I want her to contact me when she finds me.

I read a ton of blogs and comment on a daily basis. Usually there are 2-3 blogs a day where I am unable to comment due to restrictions put forth by a blog owner. Perhaps this is their preference, but it is also a lost opportunity to connect.

Does tight management of junk comments come at the expense of real blog readers? There is no one-step solution for all. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to manage blogs, as everyone writes for a different purpose or audience. I just wanted to comment on comments and invite you to do the same.

What say you on the subject?


  1. Hmmm... now you've got me thinking as well! These were all very good questions you raise. I think I may need to loosen the reigns on my blog a bit.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

  2. I allow comments from anyone.

    I don't moderate comments because it could be a full day or more before I'd get to it because of lack of internet connectivity. I've been "lucky" and not had too many inappropriate comments and those get deleted as soon as I see them.

    I get an email whenever anyone leaves a comment for two reasons: one, so I can read all comments and two, so that if I get an inappropriate comment I can delete it asap.

    Although I *seriously dislike* the captcha feature I had it turned on - - until a few minutes ago when I disabled it. I'll see how it goes and if necessary turn it back on.

    I really don't want to have to moderate comments and I think people like seeing their comment appear immediately (I know I do).

  3. Oh, yeah. I have an email link on the blog (upper right corner) as well as on my blogger profile. And sometimes I'll put the email address directly into a blog post.

    I want to make it as easy as possible for someone to contact me, especially if they are related in any way!

  4. Yes, I have a email contact in my right hand column.

    I chatted about this on my post on tuesday,

    No Captcha on my blogs now. EMail notification only.

    anyone can comment.

    this has been working well for me now for several months.

  5. I have my email address displayed in my sidebar, allow anonymous comments, and don't use a captcha. (Some captchas also don't leave an option for those who are blind to comment.)

    However, I do moderate all comments. I actually see this as a plus, since there are many individuals who do not understand that including email addresses in blog comments can lead to receiving a lot of spam.

    If someone includes their email address in the comment, I treat the comment like an email, and respond via email. I don't publish it to the blog. (If Blogger allowed me to edit comments, I would just delete the email from the comment. Comment editing is the one feature Wordpress has and Blogger doesn't for which I yearn.)

  6. As a beginning blogger, I have been frustrated trying to leave a comment and not being able to because of all the hoops I have to jump through. I also know that many of my family members may also have problems, so I want it to make mine as accessible as possible. Especially for them.
    I first tried OpenID to my WordPress Blog, and
    I was told I did not own that identity using Open ID.
    I will try name/Url.
    So from the side of someone just beginning, the easier the better.

  7. I have my email address on my blog under the "About Me" tab. Anyone can leave a comment without word verification and without approval from me first. The only time a comment comes to me for moderation is if the commentor left a link - and if you've done that and I approve the comment, the next time your comment won't require moderation even if you have a link in it. The reason this is so effortless for me is because I use Wordpress, and they have a fantastic spam catcher. Spam VERY RARELY makes it to a comment - maybe 5 times vs 10,000 spam "caught".

  8. In my opinion, connecting with those cousins who are researching the same people is one of the main reasons for an online presence. There's a link to my email address in the upper right sidebar on my blog. I also have a link there to my family tree website which has email links in numerous places.

    I allow anyone to comment.

    I started out moderating comments and requiring word verification both but finally realized that was overkill. I removed the word verification but still moderate comments. Even though I haven't received very many inappropriate/spam comments, I just like being in control of what shows up on my blog.

  9. Oh, do I have opinions on this!

    1. I don't have my actual email address (because when I did I got about 5000 pieces of spam a week, seriously). I do have a "contact me" page where people can send me an email. I still get spam on it sometimes, but it's manageable.

    2. I allow anyone to comment. I cannot understand why anyone would require an account. The whole point of blogging is dialog...why would you want to discourage that?

    3. I loathe word verification. I feel like having a blog is like hosting a party; you don't ask your guests to do the work for you. It's my job as the blogger to wade through spam and ensure it doesn't go live; it's not the guest's job to do my spam filtering for me by squinting at unreadable letters. It takes me about two minutes a day to check my blog's spam filter. It's not that big of a deal.

    4. I manually approve comments only if it's the commenter's first time leaving a comment (or for a very small list of people who have been nasty in the past and need to be babysat). Once you've shown that you're an upstanding citizen, you're good to go. I have a Blackberry so I can approve comments when I'm gone, so they don't usually sit for more than an hour or two (and even that is rare for me).

    For me, the best part of blogging is that it's a two-way conversation, not a broadcast. I'm willing to put work in to make sure people feel like they can comment on my blog. It's really not that much work...but even if it was, I think it's totally worth it.

  10. Becky, I get an email for every comment, too. It's just my way of monitoring what's being said. Kind of like quality control.

  11. One of the reasons I don't use comment moderation is because I like seeing my comment on someone's blog pop up right away, and I like to believe my own readers prefer it, too.

    I want to see what others are saying right now, especially on *hot* blog posts that generate a lot of talk.

  12. The only kind of hoops to jump through on my blog was the captcha feature.

    When I leave it off, I get inundated with spam. My blog isn't hosted on any of the blogging sites, so I don't think my blog has as much spam protection as those sites give. I turned off the captcha today, I don't want people to be too annoyed to comment. I was just trying to protect my webhost from being bombarded by spam.

    I'll see how easy it is for me to manage though, because I do want commenting to be fun and not a "chore". I'm trying to learn more about the software I'm using so this is just another reason for me to stop putting it off and to just learn already!

  13. Glad to see you're hanging on to the "I'm in my 30's thing", I look at it as the pre-40's. Love your blog. Dad

  14. Lol, Dad. To translate into old-fart language, that means I laughed out loud at your comment.

    Yes, I am hanging on to my 30's by the tips of my fingers, though I have considerable gray hair. I'm trying to figure out which side of the family to blame for that one.

    Once I turn 40, I'll start the countdown to AARP eligibility. I want my discounts!!!

  15. I have a contact email on my About page, though your post caused me to double check and I realized the mail link was broken. Oops. That's been fixed now and I've edited that page to make it clearer. So, thanks!

    Anyone can comment on my blog. It's still pretty new so I don't get many comments that aren't spam. At this point I approve each first time commentor. As my computer is usually close by, I'm pretty prompt on that. If I ever start getting more comments, I'll probably let the computer do more of the work.

    Not a big fan of word verification so I don't use it.

    Essentially, I want things to be quite straight-forward for encouraging contact - that was the whole point of starting blogging!

  16. Do you have an email address on your blog? Why or why not?

    No I don't. It's not a standard feature with LiveJournal because LJ presumes everyone reading is an LJ member. But after a comment I got yesterday (another "cousin" found me, and it's on a really hard to research line), I'm thinking of updating my initial post, with my email address in it. Thankfully, he gave me his email address in the comment, but I am thinking others might not want to do that.

    Do you allow comments from only those who are registered or have special accounts, such as a WordPress account or Google for Blogger? Why or why not?

    I allow comments from everyone, even anonymous comments. There are several other bloggers reading my blog who don't realize that they can use their Wordpress or other Open ID to comment if they do not wish to be anonymous.

    What's your take on word verification?

    I. Hate. CAPTCHA. Aside from the squigglies to which you referred, sometimes it take two or three tries to get the daymned thing to display. And don't get me started on accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired whose screen readers have to pick up on the audio symbol...

    No CAPTCHA on my comment screen unless the notorious LJ Russian spammers catch on to my genealogy blog.

    In which case, I'll probably move it somethere else, and tell LJ where to go after they give me my money back...

    Do you manually approve your comments before they are published on your blog? Why or why not?
    Only anonymous comments are screened on my blog, and they require me to unscreen them.

    If I get a commenter bent on a flame war, depending on the tone of the comment (I do not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), I may leave the comment up so that other commenters can take on the troublemaker...

    Bottom line for me is that I want to make it as easy as possible for people to comment, and to express themselves freely...

  17. My entire reason for blogging is to communicate with any and all who are interested in my family. So yes, you can email me (link in side column, address in profile, on family tree website and in skywriting if I could find a way to keep it up there) and leave comments. I do screen them, but haven't had a problem to date beyond my own inadequacies of deleting rather than publishing.

    I am frustrated however trying to follow comment discussions. Some platforms (ie, Wordpress) have so many hoops to jump through to follow comments that I get frustrated and quit.

  18. Nolichucky Roots, you bring up a good point about following comment discussions. I find WordPress a challenge there as well. To follow a comment thread, I have to manually subscribe to each and every post in which I have an interest. Needless to say, I'm following less and less comment threads on WordPress blogs.

    With Blogger, all I have to do is check a box next to my comment. Easy.

  19. Amy,

    Lots to think about. Thank you.

    A couple of items are reasons for me to consider moving from to Blogger. I find Blogger to set up and maintain. The Publish at a certain time is more reliable on Blogger.

    Printing a Blog in a friendly format is frustrating to me. Some Templates on Blogger will not print friendly.

    The one comment to add, is that I try, and hopefully do, Post a Reply to folks leaving Comments. Usually it's just a Thank you, but some times helps with conversation going.

    Great reminder.

    Thank you.


  20. I use self-hosted Wordpress, so my experience is different from the majority of you Blogger users.

    Anyone may comment, no account anywhere is required.

    I use Akismet to block spam comments, and it does a great job.

    I moderate new commenters, but one approval will get you on the "good" list and comments will be posted immediately from there on out.

    You can check a box to be e-mailed followup comments, no hoops, just check a box.

    I use an encoded e-mail link, have not had a spam problem.

    I actually have a Google account just to comment on blogs, but I hate that I can't use Name/Url on some.

  21. 1) My e-mail address is spelled out on my "ABT This Blog" page, but I don't have an active e-mail link on my blog. I worry about the spam a direct link might generate, as I already get enough junk at that address! Wanted to ask GrannyPam if she could explain what an "encoded e-mail link" is. Thinking I should move the address to the front page, but still not sure I want to make it active.

    2) I allow comments from anyone including Anonymous (I use Blogger).

    3) Word verification - HATE. Enough said.

    4) Comment approval - I did have it set for moderation on posts older than 14 days (simply because that is the setting on my library's blog that I moderate, which gets spammed a lot). I turned it off today though as I don't want to discourage people who might find an older post they want to comment on.

    I don't have many followers though so comment spam has not been a problem - yet. If it becomes a problem I might have to turn the moderation-on-old-posts feature back on.

    I wish Blogger allowed you to approve the commenter the first time and then let all that person's comments go through automatically.

    I also wish Blogger had a setting to automatically delete comments in certain character sets (like Cyrillic or various Asian languages).

    I get e-mail notification for every comment I get. I do need to get better about responding to comments, even if only with "thank you for taking the time to comment"!

  22. My blog is also a self-hosted Wordpress blog. Askimet is a lifesaver (and Kathleen, it looks like you are on as well, so if you want help figuring out how to install it, let me know).

  23. I figured it out Kerry! I had Akismet installed but for some reason I was worried about the spam comments even though they aren't on the site, they're actually in a queue until I delete them.

    I don't know what I was thinking! Thanks a lot for the offer though, I'll let you know if another question comes up!

  24. What a timely and thought provoking post - sometimes I just don't evaluaate what I do. Thanks for prompting me to rethink. As blogging is a two-way street ( and interactive medium we must make it easy for other little old ladies like me.
    My bugbear is blogs that don't allow comments -so frustrating.
    Like Angie I am going to loosen the reins on Geniaus right now.

  25. Amy, Thanks for putting some of these suggestions out in front of us bloggers. I didn't even realize that I didn't have my email address on the blog - although it's accessible via my Google profile. Thanks to your post, I've added a Contact Me page. Bravo!

  26. This is embarrassing to admit, but I used to think that my e-mail address WAS on my blog until I realized that it only shows for me after I log in. I have a note at the bottom on how to contact me - it directs readers to go to the "About Me" section, link to my profile page and find my e-mail there - but this may be a bit complicated, so I may put it in the About Me Section the way you have spelled yours out.

    I cannot moderate comments for a large part of the day, so I left Captcha on, especially when we were all getting spam comments with links to questionable sites in Chinese characters. I also like for the comments to appear right away so that commenters can "talk" to one another if they want to. I may experiment with turning it off for a while and see what happens.

    I get e-mails for all comments because I try to answer them all eventually.

    I got a Wordpress account just so that I can comment on Wordpress blogs.

    I really want to make commenting and getting in touch with me as easy as possible. So - there will be probably be some experimentation and changes coming on my blog in the next few days....

  27. Amy, thanks for a thought provoking post. As a new blogger I had set comment moderation as a manual operation. After almost a year without getting any spam, I will now turn it off. I also didn't have my e-mail address on my blog. I also got rid of captcha. Thanks for helping me clean up my act.

  28. I actually had a "Betty with all the Answers" contact me about one of my family lines. But actually, she wasn't very computer literate and had to have her daughter find me on facebook and contact me. That experience made me re-evaluate the way I present my contact information on my blog. It's scary to think that this lady almost couldn't contact me - she was a gold mine!

    I assumed that anyone who wanted to contact me would look at my blogger profile to find my email - but when you think about it, that's not exactly an obvious thing to do. I added my email and widgets from many of the social networks I belong to. And comments are open to any and all. I get very little spam, which I can easily delete anyway. And I just realized that I could turn off word-verification, which I quickly did.

    Like Linda and others said, one of the main reasons we write these blogs is to connect with others who can help you with your research. I want to be as accessible as possible.

  29. I have three self-hosted Wordpress blogs and one blog. Amy, your post has made me go back and check the settings on all of them, because I don't think they are consistent. I do NOT have an email address on my blogs because I get overwhelmed with spam from them as it is from when I did. My oldest blogs are about 4 years old, and they have attracted so much spam that I had to do something.

    All the self-hosted blogs use Akismet to catch spam comments, which works very well. Most have a contact form, which sends me an email. I approve comments from new users, although I think this is not consistent across all the blogs.

    I do find that family and other interested people comment on old posts because that's what Google found for them, so I would never make them jump through more hoops to do this.

    I use Captcha on my professional blog but not on my personal one. The professional blog is the one that gets by far the most spam and that has decreased since using Captcha. I don't mind using it on other blogs - it's all good practise for reading handwriting!

  30. Valerie, so Betty With All the Answers really does exist?! I can't wait for mine to find me. :)

  31. Do you have an email address on your blog? Why or why not?

    Not yet. I'm still new to this and am getting used to everything. I also need to put aside some time to look into blogger seriously and customize my page and figure out what I can do.

    Do you allow comments from only those who are registered or have special accounts, such as a WordPress account or Google for Blogger? Why or why not?

    I believe anyone can leave a comment. It is another thing I need to check into.

    What's your take on word verification?

    It is annoying but I have somewhat gotten used to it. A lot of good points have been brought up so if it is up on mine, I'll likely deactivate it.

    Do you manually approve your comments before they are published on your blog? Why or why not?
    Only anonymous comments are screened on my blog, and they require me to unscreen them.

    Not currently. I haven't had too many comments yet, but if the numbers go up I may need to look into it more.

  32. E-mail address on blog? yes

    Comments allowed from: anyone

    Word Verification: Okay, I've turned it off for now, but if I get a bunch of nonsense, it's going back on. In defense of Word Verification, I have to point to Bill West's lexicon of word verification "words" and their "definitions." Hilarious (see at West in New England). I'm 63, my eyes aren't as good as they used to be, but I do not very often have problems with word verification, myself. It is an unfortunate consequence of the fact that we live in a world where there just are some irritating or annoying or downright awful people with too much time on their hands.

    Moderation: Yes, I moderate. I have gotten some grossly inappropriate comments. I have also put up a notification that I will allow posts only in the two languages I speak, those being English and Spanish. I have had people post in other languages, and I do not have the faintest idea what they said, which could be anything, relevant, irrelevant, proper, improper, or incendiary. I want to know what they said, and I want control of my blog. I don't always get to moderating right away, but I don't get that many comments, anyway. I also have e-mail notification when I get comments.

    Yes, it is nice to see your comment pop up right away, but again I understand the tenor of the times and the need for people to be sure their blogs aren't being hijacked or at the very least disrespected.

    The e-mail address I have on my blog is my "public" e-mail address. I have a "private" one for family and friends, and the "public" one is for commercial and organizational e-mails, and is also my "spam trap."

    Great discussion!

  33. Looks as though many of us will be spending the weekend updating our blog settings. Thanks for the great information and to everyone who added useful ideas about the subject at hand.

  34. I'm about to launch my blog so just wanted to say thanks for all this interesting discussion.

  35. One thing to remember about Captcha codes: While they're common in the genealogical blogging community, they're much less common in most other niches. That means that your visitor may not expect them, and therefore may leave before they even show up.

    I was visiting and commenting on genealogy blogs for a couple of weeks before I realized that my comments were not showing up anywhere. I'd write my comment, click "Publish My Comment," and then move on to the next blog before a Captcha code even loaded. So my comment never went through.

    If you insist on using a Captcha code, at least make sure it's on the same page as the part where the commenter types in his/her comment, so they know to look for it.

  36. I have an image with my email address on my side bar and my About page. I also provide my email address on my Blogger profile page. I'll have to rethink the sidebar location or, I really like Becky's suggestion of adding it at the bottom of each post. Right now it links to the image provider which is probably confusing & needs to be changed. Using an image keeps spammers at bay.

    Comments are open to all.

    I use word verification and I still get spam. I have comments sent to my other email and they sometimes end up in my spam folder which is very frustrating. I will be without an internet connection for the next few weeks but may try turning it off when I get back online.

    I do not like moderated comments. If I can't see what others have said and I comment and then all the comments get approved and then my comment sometimes appears as if I had no idea what the conversation was. If I have to go through word verification and then comments are moderated besides I may not comment in the future.

    Something not mentioned yet is in embedded post comments verses a pop-up box like you are using. I prefer the embedded but have had to go back to the pop up because some people were unable to comment with embed option and I wonder if others have had this problem or know if Blogger has fixed this?

  37. I'm not sure I understand the problem that some folks are having following comment threads on Wordpress. I subscribe to all the comments on my WP blog via an RSS feed - no need to "subscribe" to each post you want to follow the comments on. Maybe some WP blogs don't have the "subscribe to all comments" feature prominently displayed, but you can do it.

  38. Donna, here's my experience as a reader with many WordPress blogs:

    1. I comment on a WordPress blog.

    2. I'm interested in following others' comments on the post, so I check the box that says "subscribe to comments."

    3. I then get an email inviting me to confirm the subscription.

    4. In that email, I have to click a link to confirm said subscription.

    Repeat these four steps every single time I want to follow a comment thread on a WP blog. Why can't I just subscribe to the blog's comments once? Why every post?

    I don't manage a WordPress blog, so I don't know if this is a setting that can be changed or not.

    I still comment on WP blogs, but I rarely monitor comments. If the writer replies to my comment, I'll never know because I've grown tired of jumping the comment tracking hoops.

  39. Regarding tracking comments on WP platforms - I must admit I don't actually want to follow ALL comments on a particular blog. It's all I can do to follow the the blogs themselves - if I start reading all the comments as well I'll never get anything done.

    However, there are times when I want to track a thread of comments - this thread on Amy's post is the perfect example. And she's explained precisely why I don't if the blog is on a WP platform.

  40. As a Blog reader and commenter, I decided to comment on this blog. First thank you for the thought provoking questions about accessing comments on blogs.

    The Blogger comments lack information for the nice old lady to know what an OpenID, Name/URL, etc. is. I always thought I had to sign in with my Google email and password. In fact, I got one just to comment on blogs.

    Thank goodness you don't use word verification. For one Blogger that I comment on, it always comes up disabled and I have to submit at least twice to enter it and each time I have to also reenter my password. If you do use word verification, I prefer the ones that use no CAPS and are easy to read. Some are so ornate, I can't even make out what to enter.

    In Blogger, to follow a thread, I have to preview my comment and then click on edit to return to the comment page and then it shows me a box that I can click to follow the thread. This is not an easy method.

    My favorite is Dick Eastman's blog because I can read the article and directly enter my comment, email and name. Altough I still can't figure out how to be notified if others comment on this thread.

    Even on Blogger, you have to click a link to comment and on some blogs the link can be difficult to find.

    My ideal would be scroll down, enter comment, name (maybe email, too) and check a box to follow. No extra keystrokes.

  41. Whoops, I forgot to check the box to follow.

  42. This is such a timely post for me. I am moving my "everything else" blog off LiveJournal to a new platform, so this discussion is very helpful for me.

  43. I'm on Blogger, and I do have my email address on the blog, as well as a contact page. I tried allowing anonymous commenting (with captcha off) and received so much spam. But since I do manually approve every comment, maybe it will be worth it to allow that again. After reading your post, I think I'll give it another shot!

  44. S. Lincecum, you should try again. It's only been fairly recently that Blogger implemented some spam controls that catch a lot of the garbage automatically.

  45. Well...after reading your post and all the comments I am definitely going to remove word verification.

    I allow anyone to comment.

    I get an e-mail for every comment, which I like, but only after I approve the comment to be publish so I'll change that and see what happens. In almost a year I've only received 2 spam comments so I'm happy about that.

    My e-mail is there on my main blog but it's down a bit on the page.'s time for some improvements I think!

  46. Well you've got me thinking. On one of my blogs, Conversations, I was having such a problem with a spammer and ended up putting such tight controls on it that at one point no one could leave a comment. I recently took some of those off and haven't had any more problems, yet.

    I think it's probably time to evaluate some of the other controls I have in place.

  47. I allow comments from anyone.
    I only moderate comments on posts over 14 days.
    I just disabled word recognition so the cousin with the info can get in touch.
    I do show my email address.

  48. I allow comments from anyone. I do not use word verification.

    To avoid spam I do not have an email address on my blogs, but I will now add a 'text gadget' that says, "My postal address and email address are on"

    I do not get many comments, so hopefully not many people are inconvenienced because I 'moderate all'. But I guess I could try 'Moderate comments on posts older than 3 days' (or whatever - not necessarily the default '14 days'). Some comments, though not actual spam, are slightly inappropriate. In such cases, instead of publishing the comment, I delete it but write my own comment with what I hope is a helpful response.

    Changing the subject slightly... Have other Blogger users found that turning on the new Mobile Templates deletes the email address that you had entered in BlogSend Address?

  49. I KNOW a sweet little old lady that does complain about not being able to comment on blogs because it's so hard. Glad to see you address this.

  50. I don't have my email readily visible on my blog - I need to correct that.

    I don't have that word verification. I don't like having to enter it so I won't use it.

    I let anyone comment, just put in a name and email address (the email is not published).

    I do moderate all comments. Right now, I'm still getting quite a bit of spam and don't want all that on the blog. I hope that I'll be able to move away from this as my spam filter improves.

  51. I allow comments from anyone, but I do have word verification enabled. It never bothered me at anyone else's blog, so when I started getting spam comments, I set it up with no second thoughts. I haven't revisited it since Blogger's new spam filter came into effect, so I think I'll disable it tonight and see how that works out. I do have comment verification set up for any posts older than 14 days, but that's mostly because I DON'T use e-mail notification, and I want to make sure that I'll see comments on older posts.

    I have my e-mail address listed on a sidebar as kathleen.scarlett.ohara AT gmail DOT com, to deter spam, but it's always worried me that replacing the AT and DOT might prove to be too much for some computer-illiterate old lady who had never used e-mail until her grandson set an account up for her last Tuesday, and that I'll never hear from her. I don't know if there's a better way to go about that, though.

  52. I changed my mind and added a Text Gadget that says, "To email me, click HERE', with a mailto: link to a new email address that I set up for this purpose. If I get too much spam I will re-think that decision.

  53. Great post Amy!

    Earlier this week after reading Carol's post over at Reflections From the Fence titled, "To Captcha or Not to Captcha, Tuesday's Tip" I turned word verification off.

    Now I have moved the "About Me" widget to the top of the page and included my email. Previously you had to click on the About Me widget to get to the link for email. Too many steps for Betty with all the Answers. I thank you for pointing out that weakness!

    I do have comment moderation turned on. I'm just to paranoid about getting spam or something inappropriate.

    This is going to be a very helpful post (and comments too) for a LOT of people. I had just "followed the bounding ball" when setting up my blog initially without really understanding what I was doing. I'm sure a lot of others do the same. Now that I've got more experience I am comfortable making the changes and understand why.

  54. Just changed my blog post template to include a "click here to e-mail me" link (to a brand-new e-mail address that will forward to another, so I don't have to check it separately). This appears at the end of the post right after the copyright clause. Hopefully that will make it easy for anyone who has private info to share with me after reading a post. Thank you, oh social media evangelist Amy!

  55. You have brought up some very good points. One problem is like "Betty" I may not be the most savvy at setting things up in blogger so I 'Go with the flow" of it. I do like moderating, but blogger has beefed it up at 'catching' junk these days. I get junk and I hate it. but other than that perhaps if I can figure out how to make it how to turn off the sign in with account? I better get busy!

  56. Amy, I enjoy your blog and I have nominated it for the Ancestor Approved Award.

  57. Could someone remind me how to turn off the verification, I was just looking for it and didn't see anything mentioning it. I also find it extrememly annoying, as I have had to do it more than two times. Often walk away. I noticed the other day that I had to do it for follow as well, disgusted I quit.

    You make such good points. My blog is okay for other bloggers, but I am after the average reader, who doesn't have a blog. So I want to be accomodating as I can.

    I also have found private blogs, and I sit and wonder who is invited and who is not?
    All very interesting, and many comments to read.!

  58. My settings are just like yours. I changed them a while back after reading a similar post on a DIY blog. It makes sense to make commenting easier for readers and Blogger did, in fact, catch 2 spam comments with links in them and not post them. I was pleased to find this happened. When someone posts a comment, I get an email notification too, so I can reply to commenter. I read all comments people post and enjoy engaging people with a reply.

  59. My self hosted wordpress blog is set up very similar to GrannyPam's (see her comments). I allow comments and the askimet plugin handles the spam. Most of my cousin connection contacts come in the form of a comment on a post.

    Your blog post did make me realize my contact info is rather buried under my "about" page. I need to get it front and center under the names I am researching. Thanks for bringing this up.

    As for how one comments on a blogger format posting - I urge all of you to allow Name/URL posting especially for folks that don't have a blogger type blog.

  60. Do you have your email address on your blog? Why or why not?

    No, I admit I had never even thought about it before. I know that if someone clicks on my profile they can email me that way.

    Do you allow comments from only those who are registered or have special accounts, such as a WordPress account or Google for Blogger? Why or why not?

    No, anyone can leave a comment. I opened it to anonymous. But I find people are too confused by the other options to notice anonymous.

    What's your take on word verification?
    Again, I haven't thought of it much. I think I followed someone's advice when I set mine up but can't remember who that was now. I just checked and it was on so I've turned it off. We'll see how it goes.

    Do you manually approve your comments before they are published on your blog? Why or why not?

    No, only on posts that are older than 7 days.

    What say you on the subject?

    You really got me thinking so I wrote a response on my blog! :)

  61. Thanks to your post I checked my profile and my email available. Like most of you I thought mine was easily used through my profile.
    However, I don't enable Outlook email. When ever I see one on outlook, I copy paste and use it that way on email of my choice. Sometimes it doesn't work anyway.
    so today I thought I mightuse "" click here for email. but then how do I link to my email acount. I think this is my senior moment, because I am not thinking of the way to accompolish it.
    naturally I am going to google a bit.

    My son says outlook is a no no. so still virus free I will agree with him.

  62. Amy, I didn't know so many people didn't like captchas! I will see how it goes without them (and keep my fingers crossed for no spam).

    I don't have my email address on my blog but I do have a contact tab on the side. People use it! (Putting my email address is just a little too public for me.)

    Thanks for a thoughtful post.

  63. Thanks Amy for this post!! Very helpful. I did not have my email address on my blog, but when I leave this comment, I will add it straight away!!

    As for word verification, I don't have it for when people post comments on my blog (or at least I don't think I have it and hope it isn' there) but I do come across it at other blogs. I will use it, but if the word is really difficult then I end up leaving the blog with no comment made.

    As far as I know (I think I have it set right), anyone can leave a comment but I do have it so that I can moderate it. Unlike some here, I have had lots of spam, rude stuff and all sorts and I really don't want that being left on my blog unmoderated, in case I can't get in quick enough to delete it.

    I have a WordPress blog and as far as I can tell, you can click on subscribe to comment, but it does not give me the option to change it any other way, so you would only go through the motions once instead of several times.

    I think the way I have my access to comments set up is working ok. I have been reached by several "new" cousins through the blog who have left comments so I know they have been and it's wonderful to have found them that way.

    I'm off to add my email address to my blog now. ;-) Thanks for the very good post.

    Kind regards,

    Christine (rootsresearcher at So That's Where I Get It From - on Wordpress ;-)

  64. There's nothing more frustrating than having an idea you are dying to share with the blog owner, only to find that their blog has so many defensive hoops you have to jump through, that you lose interest by the time you can comment.

  65. Thanks for this post Amy! As a new blogger, I've enjoyed reading the many comments and learning what works for fellow bloggers. I switched from Blogger to Wordpress as the wordpress themes seem to offer more of what I was looking for. However, about a minute after I wrote my first Wordpress post I got smothered by spam comments. I started moderating, but there was so much junk email it was a big time waster. Then I discovered Askimet and I haven't had a problem with spam since. I don't require registration for making comments and I'm not using word verification, but so far so good.