Some of the most equally insightful and mind-numbing conversations or arguments you will ever read take place in the comment sections of news articles or on social media. Most of us are well-versed in this, understanding that if there has ever been a topic to discuss, someone on the internet is willing to argue about it.
When running a website of your own, this can pose something of a problem. After all, it’s nice to welcome user interaction on your posts, no matter if you write articles, news stories, blog posts detailing your family life, write reviews, or accept reviews for your business. Yet it’s also true that some standards need to apply here, otherwise the conduct of certain users can, unfortunately, reflect back on your website.
To us, that’s relatively unfair. So – learning how to clean up the comment section of your website with care is a good way to balance the odds in your favor, and to nurture the kind of environment you wish to see. Does this mean you have to remove every criticism of a post you’ve made? Of course not. But there’s a difference between this and spam, bot links, toxic discourse, and outright hate.
So – let’s discuss how to clean up the comments of your website and pre-emptively remove the difficult discourse ahead of time:
Bot Detection Tools
Bots, that is fake accounts run by scripts used to spam links and post other unwanted content, are the bane of the internet. That said, they can be countered with worthwhile bot detection tools so that these can be caught, limited and banned immediately. This way, you can stop the same links from being posted over and over, limiting spam and even cybersecurity attacks on other customer or user accounts.
Bot detection tools can also be utilized when posting content about a specific topic, by restricting the common use of repetitive phrases. In some cases, you may also limit certain accounts from posting, like those that have been created solely within the last five minutes – or by only allowing accounts to be created once the passing of a CAPTCHA puzzle has been completed.
Trusted moderators are a human solution, but they can be helpful in removing some of the unwanted content from real-life users as opposed to spam bots. For example, it might be that someone takes issue with a comment posted from another user, but in doing so they let the vitriol fly. While there may be no ‘spam’ in that section, it may go against your rules.
Of course, having those rules clearly listed and part of the agreement to comment on your site is essential. This way, moderators can use reliable parameters to evaluate their removal. You don’t need to pay other users to moderate these comments, as some volunteers can be trusted if they’ve been with your site for some time, and your editorial team may also have these powers.
Verifying accounts before they’re allowed to post on your website can be helpful. You may ask for the registration of a phone number or to verify an email address, or perhaps to have the first five comments approved by a moderator before they’re allowed to post at will.
As you can see, strategies like this can catch bad actors or bots ahead of time, meaning that the efforts in moderator cleanup can be reduced, saving time for everyone involved.
Restrictions On Comments
Some comments, no matter how human they are, are simply unacceptable to have on your website. Hate, slurs, and discrimination are of course nowhere near acceptable, but luckily you can also set up measures that auto-deny certain comments containing these terms from being posted.
For example, a ‘banned words list’ in your comment section administration panel will let you add a range of difference curse words and their variations that someone may use to get around the filter. On top of that, you can also ban users outright, as well as their IP address so they need to find a new device or internet router in order to try again. This greatly increases the effort it takes for a person like this to achieve the small, comically ridiculous win of posting such content online, and believe us, they tire of this very quickly.
With this advice, we hope you can continue to clean up the comment section of your website in the best way, and move forward into the future feeling calm and confident thanks to your efforts.