Comment Section: Keep or Kiss Goodbye?

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The original intention of the comment section was pure and without malice; it was simply to allow any Internet user to add to the public discourse and engage with the content being posted by unreachable brands, media sources and influencers. There used to be two simple roles: the content creators and the audience. The content creators would generate content, whether opinion-based or unbiased, and the audience would use the comment section to create meaningful discussion. The comment section was purely a more accessible, short form of the letter to the editor. But, we all know that the comment section has evolved. Let’s take a look at some of the most notorious culprits who have changed the original intention of the comment section.

Spammers

Spammers saw the comment section as an open door to sell their useless product, inject their links, or inject malware into a website. Most webmasters that still have a comment section, which they moderate, are used to getting the age old Buy Luis Vitton purses today for low low $$ of $9.99. Click here to shop now. These comments are easy to spot, riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, unrecognizable links and a hard sales pitch for products that no one really wants like knock-off purses and Viagra.

Trolls

You do not have to travel too far to find trolling commenters. I frequently read comment sections in pop culture websites like Entertainment Weekly or TVLine.com to put my finger on the pulse of what fans think of a particular episode of a television show or a new casting decision. One person will always come in with the far out point of view and completely irrelevant logic, and he or she will throw off the course of the entire discussion by pissing people off. The true tragedy of this entire roadblock is that people feed the trolls. The number one rule of dealing with trolls is DO NOT FEED THE TROLL. If you’ve not experienced a troll before, just visit ANY Justin Bieber music video on YouTube and you will be provided the full trolling experience.

Self-Promoters

Some business owners find the comment section of a website the perfect place to promote their own product or service. Unfortunately, this may compete with the message you’re trying to sell OR it could derail the conversation.

Now, how do you decide whether or not to keep the comment section of your blog? It depends. Let’s point out some scenarios that can help you decide.

  • If your comment section has a serious troll infestation that derails every single conversation, it’s probably best to discover some subscription-based comment platforms like Disqus or Facebook. If that still doesn’t work, get rid of your comment section.
  • If absolutely no one is commenting on your blogs due to the subject matter or lack of traffic, then it may be wise to remove it altogether so it doesn’t appear as if your blog comment section is a ghost town.
  • Moderating discussion helps to keep the shown comments on the right track, as well as engage new comments to enter this discussion. As a moderator, it’s also good practice to join the conversation yourself and respond to commenters as they engage with your blog. The conversation shouldn’t stop from your end when you post a blog.
  • If you’re getting a lot of spammers, try to add a captcha or some sort of comment filter that would reduce the amount of spammy comments you’re receiving.
  • If you get a lot of great engagement and conversation on social media when you share your blogs, a comment section may divert meaningful discussion to too many points. Drive all of your engaged users to your social media accounts to join the conversation and get rid of your comment section.

Comment sections can either make or break a content marketing strategy, as they are an extension of the conversation you’ve started in your blog. Each case is different, but comment sections can still be advantageous to some content marketers. I must say the comment section has become so synonymous with trolling and disengaged conversation that it inspired a short-lived E! television show, which only highlighted content from online comment sections. Take a look at some of the more humorous comments about baby pandas.