Handling comments

(If you decide to set up a comment function, which you do not have to do.)

  • Consider posting commenting policies or rules on your blog/site. It is your space and you determine the rules. If you make them clear to others, it can help to show that you are prepared for potential disruptions. Studies show that trolls are mostly targeting new or inexperienced users. Showing that you have rules and are policing your site, shows who is the boss.
  • Of course, you do not have to post commenting rules. Just know for yourself how you want to rule your blog.
  • Always organize your site in a way that requires you to pre-approve comments BEFORE they go online on your blog/site right from the beginning. Early moderation of comments before they go online helps to nip potential trolls [people who post abusive, discriminatory or threatening comments online or send them via e-mail, tweets etc. to bloggers or online writers] in the bud as studies show. For Twitter or Facebook banning and blocking of abusive users and comments from the start can be similarly effective.
  • Report abusive comments and users to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Rules and user agreements change often. Reporting threats and abuse can help to build and keep up the pressure to change the rules toward a more civil communication.
  • Many women are also using a model of approving the first comment of a new commentator if they determine they can trust this reader. The following comments are then going online automatically. This has the advantage that you do not need to read and approve all comments.
  • Similarly, you can use filters that catch words and phrases that might signal bad intentions to then block such comments from going online. This can also help against spam.
  • Listen to your gut feeling. If a comment feels weird, then don’t approve it. If something gives you a funny feeling while reading a comment, if only because of strange wording or grammar, don’t approve it. If you have approved a comment, which then turns out to have come from a troll, you can always delete it later, too.