Some months ago, the issue of malicious and/or spam commenting on blogs was raised by Linda Fox, a regular visitor to this blog. She told me the story of Kathy Sierra, a female blogger who received some pretty nasty spam comments - so nasty in fact that she cancelled all public engagements for fear of actual, physical attack and she hasn't posted on her blog since April 6th.
At the time, I have to admit to thinking that her reaction was emotional and extreme and - if like I do, you believe in the Universal Laws - her stance was simply creating more nastiness. But then I was not standing in her shoes, and I'm not sure we can ever know for sure how we would react in a given situation until we are in it. Then just a few days later, I started to get a few spam comments of my own. Not of the same ilk, but personal, off-topic and, to my mind, slightly disturbing. Some of the comments were made using the names of other regular commenters or people to which I had referred in previous posts, but I could see from the IP address that they were not the same people at all.
So what to do about it?
This is my policy - 3 simple 'rules'...
- I delete any comments that are irrelevantly* personal, off-topic or disturbing.
- I block IP addresses of any repeat offenders.
- I ignore the commentors and comments.
plus I do not disclose really personal info on my blog - like where I live and what my daily routine is!
It can be tough - particularly when you are not sure who it is you are blocking or deleting, or if you suspect that someone you know and had respect for has turned all 'weirdy' on you. But if I had a restaurant, I would throw out and/or bar anyone who disturbed the peace - my own friends and family included if necessary - and this is no different.
* Wishing me well in a comment on a post about recent illness is relevantly personal. Telling me you love me and wishing we could be 'closer' on a post about blog widgets is not!
So why am I telling you this?
Well, yesterday I came across http://www.ResponsibleCommenting.com/. Not sure what it can achieve, but I support the sentiment so I shall support the site by displaying the logo on my blog.
Typepad users - you might also want to check out Six Apart Guide to Combatting Comment Spam