Creating a Blog Comment Policy that Works

I love your blog comments!

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series.]

Sometimes I feel like this type of policy is “much ado about nothing” but it’s really not.

For many of us we just assume that the people who engage with our blog understand exactly what the comment policy is even if it’s not explicitly stated – it’s like we trust that our visitors somehow can read our minds and understand the slight cultural nuances of our blogs without hesitation!

Of course this is incorrect (and unfair) on so many different levels. What some of us need (and please note the word “some“) is a Comment Policy that works for our community and our readers.

Here are a few thoughts about developing one that is fair, effective, and that ultimately produces increased community and engagement:

Total Control:

Remember that at the end of the day you have complete and total control of the comments and can literally curate, manage, delete, and promote any comment for any reason:

  1. Complete control over all content within the comment section.
  2. Freedom to edit content within the comment section.
  3. Freedom to censor and/or delete comments at any point for any reason.

Also remember that by providing a comment policy is a service to your community and helps establish a system of trust and transparency that will ultimately help grow your blog!

There are no rules, regulations, or requirements! You are the king of your own blog nation!

As such, there are some typical things that your blog comment policy might have in it.

What Your Policy Might Contain:

Generally you can go in a number of different ways with your comment policy but you should heavily consider these things:

  • General overview of your stance on comments (Open or Closed).
  • Your moderation policy for comments.
  • Your stance on management of comment spam and any systems you use to manage.
  • Rules for each content area in the comment section (Name, URL, Email, Comment).
  • Types of content in comments that you might have issue with.
  • How you deal with trackbacks, pingbacks.
  • Privacy and protection settings for personal information like email.
  • Any language concerns and general manners that your users should know about.
  • Use of links within the content area.
  • The use of affiliate links and “obviously” promotional links to content or sites.
  • Rules and/or expectations about admin and/or author responses.
  • Rules about general rights and/or copyright to the content in the comment section.
  • “Hold Harmless” rules to protect the blogger and blog authors.

Those are just some of the more general areas that you might want to consider.

How Best to Educate Your Readers:

The best way to educate your users long-term is to actually comment (if you do comment) and show them how your rules through action!

But here are some more practical ways of course:

  • Provide a written Comment Policy and link to it in the footer or another prominent location!
  • Write a blog post introducing your comment policy to your readers! Ask them to engage and ask for their perspective and/or suggestions (if you’re open to it).
  • Ask your readers explicitly how they want their comments shared.

It doesn’t hurt to ask! Get your readers engaged and it should pay off. There is, of course, no rules to this as well.

Template for a Comment Policy:

Here’s a general outline that can work for you! Feel free to copy this and use it for your blog!

  1. Comment Policy Title
  2. Introduction – Share your general thoughts about comments.
  3. List out your rules and regulations.
  4. Finish with something nice and ask for feedback!

If you’d like to see how this looks practically in an example feel free to check out my Comment Policy right here!

What about you? Have you created a comment policy yet? Let me know your thoughts!

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series.]