Comment Moderation and The Right To Be Forgotten

What’s your responsibility when it comes to moderating comments on your blog? If you’ve been following along with the InMotion Hosting blog, you probably have a great website that’s difficult to ignore. 😉

That means you must be getting a lot of comments from your readers. Comments are a great measure of success for a blog. It means that your readers are engaged by your content and found time to share their thoughts. You must be doing something right.

But what happens after the initial excitement wears off? What if someone wants to remove a comment they made in the past?

With new data privacy regulations in effect, you can’t afford to take any risks when it comes to safeguarding and stewarding your readers’ data; even if the data in question are merely comments. So what can you do?

Lack of Operating Procedures

A 2017 post on WP Tavern outlined many issues surrounding comment moderation and the unenviable duty of online reputation management. There are many considerations one must make with regard to comment moderation and retention. This is why it’s so important to have a set of operating procedures that you can make your readers aware of in advance.

Spam (Delete Right Away)

If a comment is spammy in nature, then you should delete it right away. It can actually harm your site’s reputation if you let spam sit on your pages and posts.

But how do you determine what qualifies as spammy? Your definition of spam might be more liberal or more restrictive than others.

Outright promotion of the commentor’s site, without adding anything valuable to your own, should be considered spammy. If the commentor includes a link to their site, you should be even more suspicious.

The Akismet spam blocker plugin does a great job of filtering these kinds of comments out. But spammers can be tricky, and they’re getting better all the time. So you will always need to moderate your comments manually.

On The Right To Be Forgotten

Data privacy regulations climbed to new heights in 2018 when GDPR went into effect. Though the laws are still only applicable to EU citizens, American regulations are looming on the horizon. So it’s best to get your privacy ducks in a row.

WordPress lets you easily scrub your site of user data thanks to new features introduced after GDPR.

But it’s best to let your users know they have this privilege available upon request.

The easiest way to do is by keeping your privacy policy and comment retention policies up to date. You can have these all on one page if you like, or split it among different pages if that makes it easier for your readers.

As long as you have clear policies in place, and your readers agree, you can be sure that you’ve positioned yourself appropriately to handle incoming requests from your users and address their privacy concerns. As always, happy blogging.

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