Lorelle VanFossen on ‘The Price of Closing Comments’

I don’t frequently find myself in complete agreement with WordPress blogging guru Lorelle VanFossen, but I completely agree with her that closing comments on a blog post is a Very Bad Idea (in fact I made an argument against that practice here last July).

The primary reason that people appear to close comments is they think it somehow cuts down on the amount of spam, but VanFossen argues it won’t make much difference,

The “old posts” myth about comment spam is that comment spammers hit older posts more than current posts. This is also not true. Comment spammers will hit EVERY post they can. Comment spam bots and human spammers don’t check the date of the post before they hit, thinking, “Hmmm, this one is at least six weeks old, ripe for spamming.”

Use the right keywords in your blog post and you can get comment spam in the time it takes to hit Publish and load the post to see the results. Words like credit, foreclosure, mortgage, finance, debt, and such attract comment spam faster than flies to honey. An article I published here on the on Give Credit When Credit is Due: Skip The Middle Man was slammed by comment spam within seconds, all aimed at promoting the get-rich-quick and out-of-debt-over-night schemes. The article had nothing to do with any of these things, but keywords are keywords in the eyes of spammers.

But even if it does cut back on a few spam, it causes much more problems by sending a negative message to readers (and, as I argued, often prevents peoiple from posting relevant information that corrects or updates a post).

On another blog using an auto-closing comment WordPress Plugin, they had asked for help with only one unhelpful reply of commiseration. Since I had the answer to their problem, I wanted to let them know in case they were still battling with this issue. Without any way to comment, nor a direct link to their comment form, I gave up. Guess they didn’t need my help after all.

I come across that sort of situation all the time. On the other hand, since I never close comments I often find people will post insightful answers to questions years after I post something.  For example, seven years after I wrote a blog post about the source of a claim about World War II, a vistor finally posted the answer the other day in a comment.