Works For Me: Closing Comments

Remember, in two weeks we’ll be having Works-For-Me Wednesday: The Car Edition. Give us your best tips for handling life on the go. How to entertain the kids, or keep up with your little league gear, or how to stock an auto first aid kit…let us know what works for you.

Wfmwheader I really hesitate to share this tip with you, because I’m so afraid the Internet Trolls (you know, the ones who sell Via*gra! Cheap! and Legal!) will figure me out and ruin my nice little shortcut.  So I’m crossing my fingers and, in my mind, shooing away all the trolls. 

My blogging platform, Typepad, does offer spam protection on its comments.  But it’s clunky, requiring readers to go to another screen altogether to enter a word-verification.  PLUS, it wasn’t protecting me entirely from spam; I was still having to go through and delete a good bit with regularity.

A few months ago, it dawned on me that spam comments generally appear on older posts only (not sure why).  Add to this that it’s very rare that a legitimate commenter posts a comment on an older post, and the obvious solution became clear:  I turned off comments on anything posted more than two weeks ago.  I took the clunky word verification feature off (for which many readers were thankful!) and I have not had a single spam comment since.  I just have to remember, every few days, to click through and turn off the comments on the older posts.  Easy.

If you’re a Typepad user, you know that turning off comments is easy.  At your "list posts" page, you select the posts for which you want to turn off comments (and note, this doesn’t delete the comments already there, it just won’t let any new ones appear), and then choose "close comments" in the action bar at the bottom of the page. 

As for you folks on Blogger and other platforms, I’m afraid I’m not much help.  I vaguely recall, from my Blogger days, that this was possible, but if anyone wants to post instructions in my comments section below, I would be oh-so-grateful.

Works for me!

Have an idea you’d like to share with all of Bloggityville?  Leave your link below.  WFMW guidelines can be found here.

52 thoughts on “Works For Me: Closing Comments

  1. Barbara H. says:

    For WordPress, people can close comments by going to the post, clicking “Edit,” then clicking on the bar to the right that says “Discussion.” There is a place there to click on whether to allow comments and pingbacks. You can also edit a post by going to “My Dashboard” and then clicking “Manage,” the clicking “Edit” on the post you want.
    WordPress uses Askimet which pretty much automatically sends comments on older posts to the spam catcher for the reasons you mentioned, that that’s where the spam usually gets posted. The only thing I don’t like about that is that some legitimate comments get caught in there sometimes, so it might be better just to turn off comments to older posts completely so commenters don’t think I am disallowing their comments.
    And I do appreciate that your comment verification is off. πŸ™‚ I don’t know how many times I’ve had to enter multiple times on those things because I transposed letters or hit the wrong key.

  2. Amber says:

    Great tip, thanks! I’ve noticed this as well, but I just wish there was an easy way to close the comments on lots of posts at one time! Going through a couple years of posts to close the comments is such a pain. I tend to just target the ones that seem to be getting hit by spam the most, and that works for a bit until they latch onto new posts.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oppsss, sorry I forgot to write what the tip is all about and I already hit enter (so sorry). anyway, it’s about Gentle Words.
    As for Blogger, I used the Beta Version and besically I just decide whether to publish or not.

  4. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    This seems true- that most “spam” comments are on way older posts. No idea why, either! And I am pretty sure then if you want to close comments in older posts with Blogger, you can just do so by editing the post and under “post options” you can choose to “allow” or “don’t allow comments.” You can also choose to “allow and still show existing comments” or “allow and hide all previous comments.”

  5. Liza says:

    hmm…blogging while cooking doesn’t work well. Looks like I forgot to write my name on my comment above. yes, it’s me Liza’s Eyeview posted the Gentle Words tip. I’ll try to be more careful next time and review before I hit enter.

  6. sara - The Estrogen Files says:

    Yuppers, good tip. I just picked a diffo email to use on my blog and have my email filter throw it into the quarentine. You know I have to read EACH COMMENT as it comes it. I should probably post a sign on the blog that says something like “Will DANCE and SING For Comments”.
    My tip is about how to brush out the hair on daughters without whining.

  7. Jessica Snell says:

    I’d noticed this being done here and there; it’s nice to have the whys and wherefores all explained. Thanks for elucidating!
    peace of Christ to you,

  8. Michelle says:

    I’d heard this is effective but couldn’t mess with the hassle of republishing old posts without comments. Maybe the solution is for me to just get with it and switch to another host. When am I going to learn?

  9. Rae says:

    Your last post inspired my WFMW today. Thanks so much! I missed last week’s WFMW due to negative comments so I had to cover that in this WFMW. I have the way to close Blogger comments over at my place if you want to take a look! Have a great Wednesday! =)

  10. Carrie says:

    For wordpress users there’s also a plugin that will close comments automatically after X days (you set the # of days). I installed it and it works like a charm.
    Wow, 31 people already posting WFMW and here on the east coast, it’s only an hour and twenty minutes *into* Wednesday! Ahh well, more blogs for me to browse around. πŸ™‚

  11. Amy Jane says:

    It’s funny to me– I have two wordpress blogs, and spam has found one and not the other.
    I’ve gone back and closed comments on most of the former’s post, but how ever many’s open still seems to be enough.
    I’m, starting to *love* Akismet!

  12. Jennifer, Snapshot says:

    For the Blog Party I turned off my blogger word verification, and I’ve left it off. I have only received 5 or 10 spammed comments. Yes, I noticed that they were on older posts, too. Odd.
    On new blogger, it’s right under “Post options,” where one would change the date, etc. You can click, turn off comments and show existing. It would be a manual process I think for all posts.
    I posted some tips today on ways I manage to get free books. . . .

  13. amblin says:

    I don’t get enough visitors to my blog to be noticed by spammers I suppose! But I’ll remember this tip for if I ever get up there in terms of blog popularity!

  14. jen says:

    Thanks for the tip – good thing for this Newbie Blogger to remember! And thanks to Barbara H who enlightened those of us who use wordpress!

  15. Megan says:

    I do that too, only I just wait until the first spam comment comes. When it makes it to the moderation queue, I then go to delete it and also turn the comments off that particular post at the same time.

  16. Pass the Torch says:

    Shannon – this is great. And I used Barbara H’s suggestion for WordPress (in comments above) an it worked like a dream. I have way to many prior posts to try to do this on all of them, but I can go back to the popular ones hat have drawn the most attention by spam-robots. Akismet catches most everything else.
    Great WFMW tip. Thanks!

  17. Kathleen Marie says:

    I can definitely understand your reasoning but when I visit a new blog and find it interesting I will look through their archives, try to get to know them a bit better and leave comments on old posts.
    Blogger seems to have great spam protection and I use it.
    Thank you!

  18. Mama Duck says:

    I need to get that plugin for WordPress that turns comments off after x amount of days, you make a great point and it is true. I have a spam program running as well that takes care of most of the junk (thankfully) but still.

  19. Jill says:

    I’m not “famous” enough to have spammers care about my blog, but when I do become famous… Oh.. and I will… I’ll remember this. πŸ™‚
    Thanks so much for hosting this, as always!

  20. Karen says:

    On blogger, under the dashboard, you would go to “settings” then “comments” and you can enable or disable them there.
    Great tip! Although I haven’t had that problem yet…lol. I don’t have many readers that post on my blog…my stat counter shows LOTS of visits, but few will de-lurk to post, which is fine. I do the same to a lot of blogs I read.

  21. Toni says:

    I use WordPress but even though your tip didn’t directly apply thanks for posting it as it generated some great suggestions from other WordPress users.
    Thanks for hosting!

  22. Jessica says:

    I just put word verication on my blog (which uses a platform no one else uses…b2evolution) instead of closing comments because I secretly hope other readers are like me!
    When I find something I like, I go through and read archives until my eyeballs fall out of my head, commenting (if I can) or emailing as I go back in time and find stuff I like/relate to.
    Still, it’s probably best to go through and close some of those older ones. I doubt anyone cares anymore why I started a blog. πŸ™‚

  23. Pieces says:

    That is a genious way to handle it. I’m planning to switch to Typepad but I hate the word verification–so cumbersome and it usually takes me several tries to get through. This is a great way to solve that problem.

  24. Stacey says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a spam comment on my blog. Must be because I’m not big enough for those πŸ™‚ That’s a great idea though!

  25. Lorelle says:

    I’d like to clear up some misinformation you mention.
    Comment spammers do not restrain themselves to blog dates. I’ve had comment spam flood a post 30 minutes old.
    Sploggers also attack brand new posts, scraping your content to use on their splogs and returning with trackbacks to your blog. This is also comment spam and needs to be stamped out. The splogs need to be shut down, too, but that’s another issue.
    Akismet may use the date factor in deciding whether or not a comment is comment spam, but it does not automatically send comments to dated posts to the comment spam queue.
    By shutting down comments on old posts you are getting in the way of readers who might have something of value to say or add to your old posts. I get comments on my old posts all the time. I tend to write timeless content, too.
    Quick fixes always seem brilliant in the beginning, but think this one through. It won’t change the number of comment spam that does get through. That number is increasing exponentially daily, whether or not they are hitting new or old posts. Good comment spam fighting tools help keep it under control. Which is one of the reasons I like the intent behind Akismet, using the blogging community to work together to identify and report comment spam.
    I thought there was an Akismet version for Typepad…I’ll have to check.
    By the way, comment spam bots track outgoing links from your blog to others to spread their evil. Blogrolls are candy to them. There is clear evidence that your volume of comment spam is directly related to the number of incoming links to your blog. This is when good SEO works against you. *SIGH*

  26. Rocks in my Dryer says:

    Lorelle, I don’t believe that anything I wrote was “mis-information”. This has not been a “quick fix”; it has been a system I’ve had in place, successfully, for several months. I am speaking from experience when I say that, for me, it has been successful thus far.
    Nor do I feel I’m “getting in the way of readers” by shutting down comments on old post. My comments section “belongs” to me, not to the reader, and I can govern it how I see fit. I’ve never had a single complaint. If people need to reach me regarding an old post, my e-mail address is readily available.

  27. Ashley says:

    I too have had problems with spam in the past, and by shutting down old posts it seemed to do the trick. The plug-in I use is called Comment Time-out (
    I totally agree with you, Shannon, about commenting on old posts. Even before I had this system set up, I never got comments on old posts. Most readers don’t go to old posts to check on new comments, so often the comments are just lost. (I love for other readers to read and answer the comments themselves; the comments aren’t just for me!)
    And I do agree that spam comments often flood old posts. Occasionally, I’ve had one hit current posts, but the bulk comes from older. After I turned off comments on old posts, it really made an incredible difference! I used to have a lot of problem with trackbacks, too, and I messed around with a lot of spam software. I am not sure what exactly got rid of it, but it’s under control now.

  28. Heather says:

    Shannon, I can’t TELL you how much your brilliant idea has helped solve my spam problem. At first, I felt guilty about closing down my comments on old posts — because I thought someone just MIGHT really want to contact me about something. But then I decided most people will read through archives and then comment on newer posts anyway. Or they can always email me directly to discuss an older post.
    For the past couple of months, I’ve used your system of closing off comments when a post gets two weeks old, and it’s been great. It has also saved my mind from being assaulted by all the nasty words. THANK YOU for this great idea! πŸ™‚

  29. Sheri says:

    Aww man!! I am such a legit. commenter, but sometimes I mean to post and then forget and then go back to do it…and well…’nough said, I just won’t try!LOL

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