Support » Requests and Feedback » Need a third comment moderation option

  • In WP’s control panel, you have two options for comment moderation:

    * An administrator must always approve the comment
    * Comment author must have a previously approved comment

    On a busy site, moderating every comment is daunting and time-consuming. But trolls and spammers often leave one nice, thoughtful-sounding comment to get in the door, then – if you have checked the second option – they have free range to leave all sorts of crud all over your blog before you can delete it all.

    What I would love is a third option: “Comment author must have 10 previously approved comments” where you can set the “10” to whatever number you feel is appropriate. I think within 10 comments – maybe fewer – you have a sense of whether a commenter is bad news.

    Is there any plugin or option or even core file edit that would enable me to set up something like this?

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    Thanks, Ipstenu, but that doesn’t do what I need. It allows you to put people INTO the moderation queue, but so does WordPress. What I need is something that keeps everyone in it and only lets certain people out, preferably according to a setting (i.e., 10 approved comments) but I can do it manually if I have to. This supposedly does that, but it turns out it only seems to work on *registered* commenters and I have quite a few unregistered regular commenters I’d like not to moderate.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    You’ll have to scan through and see if you can find one that suites your needs better, then.

    Already did before starting this thread. I wouldn’t have asked for help if there’d been a plugin to do what I needed.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    Except this is what you asked πŸ™‚

    Is there any plugin or option or even core file edit that would enable me to set up something like this?

    We’re not mind readers πŸ˜‰

    Out of the box, there isn’t a way to say ‘after x comments, Joe unregistered is approved.’

    You may want to consider, if moderation is THAT much of a hassle, requiring registration. The behavior you describe is typical of trolls, not spammers, however.

    I’d try putting in things like Akismet and Bad-Behavior to stop the bots, and then pull out keywords these guys use and put that in the moderation queue.

    I thought maybe someone knew of a less-known plugin that isn’t hosted here or something.

    This is a feature WordPress could really use. WordPress’ standard options are fine for smaller blogs or blogs that aren’t on hotly debated topics. For bigger or more intense blogs, however, one comment isn’t always enough for you to tell whether someone’s going to turn out a troll. (And I am seeing a new trend with spam, where they leave a pretty decent comment that I ordinarily would let right through – except they link to their site that sells handmade jewelry or something. Is it spam, or is it just a nice commenter figuring he’ll publicize his site while he’s at it? I can’t tell, so I have to spam the comment rather than risk him posting a bunch of porn links or whatever and me not getting to it before Google crawls the site (which it does at least daily).

    Registration won’t fix this. It might stop spammers (but not if they’re getting more willing to do some manual labor) but it won’t stop trolls.

    I use Akismet and Tan Tan’s spam filter – great stuff, but still no help when someone’s borderline spam/troll and it’s a tough call and the wrong call gives them free access to the whole site.

    Looks like the reason this isn’t such an easy fix (I’ve found other people requesting the same thing) is the way WP is set up. If you’ve checked the “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” box, it searches the comments for one instance of that name/email and approves all future comments. I found another blogger asking for the ability to “unapprove” someone you once approved, and the only way to do that is to remove all his previous posts (which can turn old comment threads non-sensical) so WP won’t find anything approved by him.


    I have no idea which core files to attempt to muck around with. If anyone has any idea, please let me know.

    Another option would be to leave it so all comments are moderated BUT I have a list of commenters I can approve specially so they don’t get modded. That’s what Thoughtful Comments claims to do, but the only way I could find to do it was via the admin interface under Users, which won’t let me de-mod unregistered commenters.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    That’s just not so. You CAN set an ‘approved’ person to moderated. I do it all the time.

    Put their email address in the ‘Comment Moderation’ list and they get moderated. Done. It’s really easy.

    When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be held in the moderation queue. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so β€œpress” will match β€œWordPress”.

    No, you seem to be misunderstanding everything I post. Everything you’re telling me, I already know, and none of it addresses my needs. Of course I use my Comment Moderation list. I am an intelligent person who’s been using WordPress for 5 years – please do stop assuming I’ve never used the backend, because seriously, it’s a waste of your energy.

    The problem is really very simple. I don’t want to approve one comment because it was acceptable, then have that commenter turn around and spout hate-speech and hurt feelings in the few hours before I or one of my editors get around to deleting it. I check the site 4-5 times a day, but if something’s up for three hours, several hundred people will see it. A better solution for me is to be able to put new commenters through a more extensive trial period before turning them loose. This comes as close as is practically possible to guaranteeing I won’t have any mean-spirited comments (or sneaky spam) showing up and being seen before I can delete it.

    Unfortunately, WordPress is geared toward small blogs. Which is fine – that’s it’s history. But there’s got to be a way to make it more suitable for large, and in particular, hot-topic sites. When readers see a comment on your site, they assume you’ve read it and approved of it. They have no idea what’s involved in moderating comments unless they happen to run a large site themselves, which most don’t. If they come across an ugly comment, it reflects badly on the site even though we would’ve deleted it just a couple of hours later.

    To mitigate this, I’m looking into plugins that allow readers to report distressing comments or vote them down to invisibility. That might reassure them that not every comment which shows up is something we heartily approve of. But it’s still not the best solution.

    There simply needs to be something between moderating every comment and moderating just one comment from every user.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    Don’t take it personally. I don’t know you anymore than you know me, so it’s proven wiser to ALWAYS start at the beginning. And I’m not intentionally misunderstanding you, though you are giving bits and pieces of the information.

    I understand your problem. More than you might ever believe :/ The short answer is that there is no perfect silver bullet plugin that does exactly what you want. If that’s the only answer you want, and not some suggestions I’ve tried that have worked, and spec on others that might, then you can stop reading and know that it’s not JUST a wordPress problem (go to the NY Times and watch their troll-a-thon right after some major news, it’s pretty funny).

    As for plugins that might help, try Report Comments — — No, it’s not perfect, but you mentioned wanting a way to report comments. This one works pretty well.

    This suggestion is obvious, but: Edit your theme so that, above your comment entry field, you have a disclaimer to remind people of the obvious. I know, they never read, but education can mitigate a lot of the hurt feelings. Every moderate-to-large site with a community is going to face trolls, and people (by which I mean readers) can’t be coddled. They need to be TOLD ‘Yo, don’t feed the damn trolls!’

    Which actually is why you’re having a problem, alas πŸ™

    Most WP comment moderation tools are there to fight SPAM. You have trolls. It’s a slight distinction, but there it is. Spammers want to pimp crap, trolls want to piss people off. And banning trolls isn’t something you can easily automate like you can spammers :/ Why? Well a troll is kind of special to each site. Some people don’t care and let commenters run wild, others are really firm about being on topic, and so on and so forth.

    I don’t know about your site, but mine has pretty common buzzwords the trolls and anti-people like to use to rile people up. I get sexual slurs alot, with the sole purpose of inspiring ire, and they’re on my comment moderation list. Every time someone posts a bad-word, the post is moderated and I review it. If it’s a troll, I put their name in the blacklist and carry on. That seems to cover about 90% of my pain.

    Anytime I get a questionable first comment, I toss in the email address and IP into my moderation queue. Usually I can spot the weird replies easily enough — they reply to old posts, they’re using (seriously), they don’t seem to be 100% on topic for the blog post. If I even feel REMOTELY squidgy, I moderate them.

    There’s a comment whitelist plugin out there, but it’s old and may need some manual massaging to the code:

    Not wanting to require registration is not a bad thing, but it does make moderation harder, since by the very virtue of being ‘open’, you open yourself up to the rampant packs of idiots. Which you know. Something like Disqus may not be a bad idea, since it has those vote-up/vote-down stuff built in. Frankly, if it gets that bad where you simply cannot keep up, then you may HAVE to switch to registered users only. The sad truth is that if you get a serious troll, even moderating 10 comments won’t stop ’em. A**holes will wait. Most forums require registration to post, and people seem to be okay with that. Check with your community, and be honest. “We have trolls, and one of the easier ways to stop them would be requiring registration. Would you be opposed to that?” You might be pleasantly surprised.

    Should there be a better way to moderate comments? I’m torn. I don’t think there’s a magic number of posts where someone will prove their not a troll. I think that as soon as the poster’s no longer moderated, they’ll become an utter prat. It’s trying to apply a code solution to a social problem, and I don’t think there’s ever going to be a good one :/

    On the site where I do have this same problem, I stick with moderation of the first post, and over the last *mumble* decade or so of this sort of thing, I’ve managed to educate my commenters to shout “TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!” and then they ignore them. The new guys pick that up pretty fast.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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