How to keep comments relevant on your WordPress.com site

tldr; If you publish articles, you should moderate all comments and only publicly post ones that expand the info in the associated article. If you use wordpress.com, here is how you can set this up in less than 5 minutes using settings and a bit of CSS.

TFW the article is choc-full of high-density information, but the comments are page after page of “This is great!” and “What changes would I need to get this working on my my 1978 Chevy Tahoe with the special Darfur 18V option?” and “I English Not how make do it?“. The few useful comments are lost in the noise.

Don’t let this happen to your articles. Please. Here’s how to chaff-proof your wordpress.com site in 5 minutes…

  1. Tell wordpress that comments must be approved, and that you want an email telling you when there are comments waiting.I also require people to leave an email address so I can email them directly for good questions that just are not applicable to the majority of readers.

    Go into My Site->Settings->Discussion and set these settings…

    2017-01-09-10_52_44-site-settings-josh-com-wordpress-com

  2. Tell people that their comments will not be posted until moderated, otherwise they will think something went wrong and keep posting the same comment (often with different wording) over and over and over and over again (only know from experience).

    Unfortunately wordpress.com does not give you a good way to do this, so we need to hack some CSS. Don’t worry, it is easy.

    Go into My Sites->Settings->Themes [Customizer]->CSS and enter this CSS snippet…

    2017-01-09-11_02_50-customizer-josh-com-wordpress-com
    Here is a copy/paste-able version…

    #comment-form-comment::after {
        content: 'Note that your coment will not show up until after I have reviewed it. I only publicly display comments that add something useful to other readers of the above article, but I do read them all and will respond directly via email to ideosyncratic questions.';
    }
    

    Now they see this when commenting…
    2017-01-09 11_26_51-The Most Ironic Chinese Counterfeit Fail Ever _ josh.com.png
     

  3. Push the Save & Publish button.

That’s all.

I’d also appreciate it if you’d take any relevant questions that come up repeatedly in the comments and add them to an FAQ at the end of the article so I don’t need to look at the comments at all. If I made it to the end of your article, then I trust you to make the call on which questions deserve FAQ treatment. Thanks.

FAQ

Q: How does that CSS actually work?
A: Is uses the powerful but hackish ::after psuedo-selector. Read about it here.

Q: How’d you make that sweet tldr; box at the top of the article?
A:

<div style="border-width: thin; border-style: solid; border-radius: 25px; padding: 20px; margin-bottom: 1em;">
tldr; This is a nice little callout box that you can paste into the HTML tab of a WordPress.com article.</div>

Q: Why don’t you move to a better platform so you don’t have to waste so much time hacking wordpress.com to do stuff it should do automatically?
A: I’m too lazy.

Q: I just left a comment asking why none of my comments are showing up.
A: I know.

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