Welcome to my blog - a collection of thoughts and musings on the world of writing, books and all those wordy type things.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Moderating Blog Comments

I remember a discussion some time ago on Writers Talkback about blog comment moderation, and the dreaded 'Captcha'. For the most part, it seems that people are less likely to comment on a blog if there is a moderation process in place, and I can understand that, especially as Captcha seem to have done their best to make the darn things practically unreadable whether you're human or not!

On the basis of this, I elected to leave the moderation process off my blogs. I get a notification that a comment has been made, and I can then go and choose as to whether this is suitable to publish, and publish, delete, or mark as spam as appropriate.

So far this has been working just fine. Until a few weeks ago, that is. I did a post called 'Catching Up' and for some reason, this has been nabbed by some sort of weightlifting/gym sort of organisation, and they seem to think it's ok to keep posting on there with completely irrelevant, ridiculously worded phrases. From the looks of it, it seems to be directed from Russia. And frankly, it's bloody annoying!

As I'm now getting them on that post several times a week, I'm seriously considering putting the dreaded Captcha back on, as much as I'd prefer not to. So, my question is, does having this process seriously put you off commenting on a blog?

I'd be grateful for any opinions on the above, or if you have any other ideas on how to avoid the spammers, I'd be grateful to hear from you.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Facebook - Friend or Foe?

As my previous post was about Twitter, I thought this time I'd turn my attention to Facebook. This was also partly inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter - someone mentioned that they didn't really want to do Facebook but that some of their friends were on it, and refused to communicate in any other way. Therefore he was forced to have an account in order to keep in touch with those people.

Now, is it just me, or does that sound like bullying? Someone who doesn't want to do a particular thing is being forced to because of the actions of others.

I can completely understand the situation and have a similar one. However, I refuse to join. In consequence I do miss out on knowing certain things and that's something I have to accept. But I wasn't interested in joining up when Facebook was all the rage a few years ago, and I have even less inclination to now. The security issues they've had worry me. The decisions they make at times worry me - notably the most recent one about the beheading videos being posted on their site. For more information on that story, see here

The main thing that irritates me about Facebook, however, is that it's made us lazy. As mentioned above, many people put their 'news' on their page and expect others to read it. It doesn't matter whether you are close family or a 'friend' - a term which seems to have very tenuous connections at times. You all get the same news. There's nothing personal for those who are closest, and that just seems  a bit off kilter to me.

Surely the way you tell a loved one something is different from the way you tell someone you've never even met, who's a friend of a friend of a friend. Don't the people who you really spend time with, or you are emotionally close to, deserve a little more attention and consideration, rather than having to go wading through comments from people they don't know in order to try and ferret out a bit of news that could have been put on an email in moments?

Now, this is all about the personal pages of Facebook. For businesses, I can see the purpose. It's a good way to keep people up to date with news and events, if you know that many of them already have FB accounts. It encourages them to interact in a way that they might not if that news was solely confined to a blog, for example. In fact, I'd be interested to hear from anyone who did have reservations about setting up a page but has done so anyway - has it been worth it?

In the meantime, a little request. Please remember that just because people aren't on Facebook doesn't mean that we don't want to hear your news, or see the funny photo you took at the weekend. We just need to be told in a different way.