Tag Archives: blogging

Killing Trolls

Or how to ban people on WordPress

Blogging can be fun, you’re sharing your ideas with the world and people from all over this planet engage with you to discuss those ideas. Unfortunately, some commenters aren’t interested in a proper discussion, but want to disrupt your blog. These people are known as “trolls“. But you can deal with this problem. I won’t get into the psychology of trolls, which is not of interest for you as blog owner. Instead I will discuss how to get rid of them.

The first key is moderation. On WordPress there are basically three moderation options: moderate all comments, moderate only the first comment of someone or no moderation at all. The last option is a bad choice, it would allow everyone to comment everything on your blog and you can only deal with it afterwards. However, moderating all comments might slow down the discussion, this might be a good thing especially when emotions are high.

On this moment all comments on Republic of Lagrangia are moderated, but we are considering moving to option 2. In most cases you can assume that if someone’s first comment is okay, his or her further comments will also be okay. In WordPress you can in your dashboard, go to “settings”. Under “discussion” you can find a section “Before a comments appears”, you can choose between either “Comment must be manually approved” or “Comment author must have a previously approved comment”. The first option will allow you to moderate all comments beforehand, the second will allow you to moderate only the first comment to be moderated beforehand.

If you choose for the first option the problem of trolls disappears, simply because a comment won’t be visible immediately and any comments you suspects to be from trolls can be refused. However, when you choose the second option you might get the following problem. A person might comment a nice comment first, and then (s)he is free to comment all kind of irritating stuff.

Fortunately you can ban those people. Under “Discussion”->”Other comment settings” you can (and you should) require commenters to fill in their email address. WordPress allows you to withhold comments in two ways. First you can fill in under “Comment moderation” words, IP addresses, and mail addresses, any comment which contains any of those words will held for moderation. And the same thing can you by “Comment blacklist”, only difference is that the latter will throw any thing to your spam folder.

Once you believe a commenter is, despite a previously approved comment, a troll, you can place his or her  email address under either “Comment moderation” or “Comment blacklist” (whatever you like, given the circumstances). From now, his or her comments will not appear automatically on your blog, and hence there’s no incentive any more for the troll to continue his or her activities on your blog.

Of course, a troll can make a new email address, and start over his campaign. In this case you can consider to place an IP block. But also this can be circumvented. However, if you block some one time after time, even the most rampant troll will give up sooner or later.

How to follow this blog

There are several ways to follow this blog. If you have a WordPress account, you can easily follow us. Just log in with your WordPress account, go to this blog and click on “Follow”.

But if you do not have a WordPress account you can follow us by email. On the home page you can find in the side bar a field where you can enter your email address. Once you have entered your email, you will receive a mail from WordPress to confirm you subscription. After confirmation you will receive updates when we post something new on this blog.

For people with a blogger account, there’s yet another way to follow us. If you log in by blogger, you will get page called “My Blogs”. This page has two sections, the first is about your own blogs. The second are blogs you follow, called the “reading list”. If you click on the “Add” button, you can enter a URL. The great thing you can address you want there, including WordPress blogs. If you have done this, you will receive the feed of our postings.

A little bit of history

Yesterday I was congratulated by WordPress for the fact that it had been a year ago that I registered by WordPress. At the time my blog Republic of Lagrangia was run on blogger, and I had no strong intentions to move to WordPress. Why did I register in the first place? A year ago, I had encountered several blogs, which were hosted on WordPress and I was curious about that WordPress thing.

For several months my WordPress blog was “sleeping”, and I continued blogging on blogger. However, November last year, I really got fed up with google and I decided to move Republic of Lagrangia to WordPress. Which is a decision I will never regret.

I started the Republic of Lagrangia blog in the early summer of 2011. Because of my experience with blogging on blogger, it was a logical decision to create a new blog on that platform. At the time, I had never heard of WordPress. During the first one and half year, Republic of Lagrangia received only a dozen visitors a month, by November 2012 the count stood at 400+. After I had moved to WordPress, I saw that this blog got ten to twenty visitors every week. Curiously, the blogger version of this blog saw a rapid increase in visitors. Only two months ago, the WordPress version passed the overall count of the blogger edition.

On the blogger version, no one has ever commented. But around christmas we got our first comment. And now we have a few regular commenters. Therefore I decided to no longer update the blogger version, but for practical reasons I wanted to keep the blogger version. But last Monday I decided to pull the plug of the blogger version of this blog, and also of its sister blog Future Comments. This decision was executed at Tuesday, first I moved several posts from Future Comments to this blog (one post had already been published, two other are drafts and will be published later on) and thereafter I deleted Future Comments. A few hours later I deleted also Republic of Lagrangia at blogger.

The reason for this decision is simple: I did not see any benefit in continuing these two blogs on blogger, I did not update them any longer. And more than six months after moving to WordPress, I felt that any serious visitor to the blogger version could have known we had moved, I have made several announcements over there that we had moved.

In general I would advise any new blogger to use WordPress instead of Blogger.