Moderating Comments Through Email

When a comment awaits moderation, the discussion on your site stalls. WordPress
takes two steps to notify you of waiting comments:
• It sends you an email message, with information about the new comment (and
the links you need to manage it).
• It adds an eye-catching number-in-a-circle icon to the Comments button on
your dashboard menu, where you can manage all your comments.
These two actions underlie the two ways you moderate WordPress comments: either
by email or through your site’s dashboard. First, you’ll consider the email approach.
Email moderation is, for practical purposes, an option only for a small site that
receives a relatively small number of comments. If you’re the sort of person who
carries around a web-connected device (like a smartphone) everywhere you go,
email moderation gives you a convenient way to approve or discard comments mere
minutes after they’re made.

Email moderation is a great idea, but it’s increasingly impractical for the websites
of today. The problem is comment spam—advertisements for Viagra and Cialis,
porn, shady discount deals, and so on. If you use email moderation, you’ll receive
an ever-increasing load of notifications as a host of black-hat characters try to insert
their junk onto your pages. Not only is it difficult to manage the sheer number of
messages you get, it’s often difficult to quickly verify that a message is legitimate,
because spammers try to make their comments sound real. Often, the only way to
confirm that a comment is bogus is to visit the commenter’s site, where you usually
find ads unrelated to anything in the comment. If you plan to review comments on
a mobile device, this extra step is neither quick nor convenient.
For these reasons, few people use email moderation to manage comments. You can
try it, and it may work wonderfully at first, but you’ll probably need to abandon it as
more and more spammers discover your site, or you’ll need to supplement it with
one of the antispam plug-ins you’ll learn about on page 276. That way, your plug-in
can take care of the massive amounts of obvious spam, while you concentrate on
moderating the comments that make it past the spam filter.

NOTE Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re safe because your audience is small. Most spammers
don’t target WordPress sites by popularity. Instead, they try to spread their junk everywhere they can. And their
site-discovering techniques are surprisingly sophisticated. Even if you haven’t told anyone about your site and
you’ve configured it so it’s hidden from search engines, you’ll still get spam comments, usually within days of
the site’s creation. But here’s the happy news: Any plug-in that blocks automated spam should reduce comment
moderation to a manageable task.

WordPress comes with email moderation turned on. If you decide you don’t want
to be notified because you’re receiving too many spam messages, you can easily
switch it off. Choose Settings→Discussion, find the “Email me whenever” section,
and clear the checkmarks next to “Anyone posts a comment” and “A comment is
held for moderation.”

Where Are My Emails?

I have the comment notification settings switched on, but I’m
not getting any emails.
Ironically, email programs often misinterpret the notifications
that WordPress sends as junk mail. The problem is that
the messages contain quite a few links, which is a red flag
suggesting spam. To find your missing messages, check your
junk mail folder.
To avoid having your comment notifications identified as junk
mail, tell your email program to always trust the address that
sends them. The sending address is wordpress followed by
your website domain, as in wordpress@magicteahouse.net.

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Moderating Comments Through Email

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