We love to talk about the new features we've added to Typepad (be sure to check out our Year in Review posts to learn more about recently released features), but sometimes it's good to take a fresh look at a long-time feature. You might discover options you hadn't realized existed. In this post, we will review just a few of the many settings you can configure in Typepad's default commenting system. You can find all of these options on the Settings > Comments page for your blog.
A big concern for many bloggers is regulating who can post to their blog and what comments can appear. No one likes spam comments, of course, but you may also want to protect your blog against trolls or just take a very active role in making sure discussions stay on topic.
One option that many Typepad bloggers choose is to allow only authenticated commenters on their blog. What is an authenticated commenter? It is a person who has an account with Typepad or another service (many commenters use Facebook or Twitter). They can sign in using their authenticated account. Each time you see their comments, you know what account they are associated with. You can choose to require all commenters to be authenticated, make comment authentication optional, or even turn off this option so that commenters simply type in the information they choose in the comments form.
Requiring comment authentication is the most secure option, but in some cases you may wish to allow people to comment on your blog without having an authenticated account. In this case, we recommend turning on additional security features. There are two options here and you can use one, both, or neither. The first option is to require unauthenticated commenters to enter an email address as well as a name. While some people may choose to enter a fake email address, this setting does allow you to have a better idea of the identities of your commenters. (The email address will not appear on the blog, so your commenters don't have to worry about it being picked up by spammers.) The second option is to require unauthenticated commenters to enter a randomly generated verification code when they submit their comment.
Even if a person has an authenticated account, that doesn't mean their comments will always be worthwhile. If you feel that you are getting a lot of off-topic comments, you may wish to turn on comment moderation. This means that when a commenter submits their comment, it won't show up on the blog right away. Instead, you will need to review the comment. You can choose to publish it, or delete it if you prefer (or you can just leave it unpublished). Comment moderation may not be the best choice for every blog or every blogger, but in some cases it can help you to ensure that only the highest-quality comments appear on your blog.
A final option that you may find helpful in regulating comments on your blog is auto-closing comments. Many bloggers find that after a certain period of time, only spam and random, off-topic comments get submitted to their posts because the discussion has moved on to their more recent posts. If you notice this happening on your blog, you may wish to close comments on older posts. The auto-close comments setting makes it easy to do this. Choose the period of time after which you want comments to be closed, and Typepad will automatically do the rest for you!
These four settings - comment authentication, security measures for unauthenticated commenters, comment moderation, and auto-closing comments - can make a big change in how commenters interact with your blog. Each one of these options gives you the blogger more control over who can comment and what comments appear. If you'd like to learn more about these options, be sure to check out our Knowledge Base. And we'd love to hear what comment settings you recommend to other bloggers. Share your thoughts in the comments below!