When is a comment not a comment?
There used to be a time when I got a comment on my blog I got very excited. Sad, I know. The concept that someone had bothered to read my post and then add their own thoughts to it was very flattering.
This means I’m not complacent to comments now, nor that they have become so blasé I fail to notice them. But whenever I see a large amount of comments in my comment section it does ring certain alarm bells combined with a sinking feeling in my stomach.
Is this the real deal?
Just occasionally I do get what I call a ‘real’ comment. It’s a pity they are so occasional, because I really do value them and they make interesting reading, not to mention providing the opportunity to answer them as well. I particularly like it when they trigger a healthy argument on a certain subject, as not only are we entitled to put across our points of view, but this to-ing and fro-ing creates more content for the search engine spiders to munch on.
So why only occasionally is there a ‘decent’ comment to approve? Surely I should be accepting every comment that gets past Akismet (read this post that explains why you should activate Akismet) as this ‘spam eater’ would sort out the nasties for me? Well, yes it does, and I value its service highly, but there are some clever bods that get through, even via the Capture plugin I’ve installed that means you have to be human to leave a comment.
How to recognise spam
There are lots of spammers on the net, and they are becoming increasingly clever at getting through the nets set to trap them. They used to be robots, but now humans are employed purely to spam websites across the world. This means the comments left are not just a series of question marks or incomprehensible rubbish, but appear to be meaningful and coherent. Some even have posts they can use with the Comment Luv plugin I’ve installed to benefit real commenters, which rewards the commenter with a chance to link to his latest post on his blog.
But how do I recognise them as spammers? If I mouse over their weblinks associated with their comments to get a ‘preview’ of the site, and this usually reveals a lot of suspect examples. Then you should look at the comment itself. Does it really provide a comment that is consistent with the post’s subject? Does it continue the argument or provide a coherent point of view?
A comment that is sickeningly ‘nice’ and complimentary, combined with poor English, smacks to me of spamming. It’s more common in the East to fawn and flatter with compliments in a comment, without actually extending the conversation or contributing adequately. Another obvious indication is that the comment has been translated via a web application. English is a complex language, with complicated nuances, and many online translation systems cannot replicate this language correctly. So the combination of awkward English that is overbearingly ingratiating is a sure indication of a spammer.
It’s not all bad
But, on the other hand, if I do get a poorly translated comment that is coherent, informative or presents a good argument, and is connected to a valuable post or a good website link, I will gladly accept it and answer it accordingly.
So this leaves these questions: why are we so likely to be bombarded with spam comments rather than real ones? Where are all the relevant bloggers that could be leaving valuable comments that continue the conversation and provide excellent new content? And why are the English so prohibited from putting their points of view across to the detriment of social interaction within the blogosphere? Leave your comments below please…