For the benefit of people who read Merch's post, but then didn't know what to do.
Before we start, I'd better note that this will only be for Blogger blogs, so if you're on a forum blog or WordPress, you're going to have to puzzle it out for yourself. Headings and the like should be similar, but the options won't be the same most likely.
Right, so first off we need to head to the settings page. You can get there by going to your blogger dashboard, or to the settings tab from your post page.
After you are at your settings page, you need to head on over to the obvious one: comments. Suddenly, it will look kind of long and complicated, but the whole thing makes a lot of sense once you look at it.
So, what do the buttons do?
- Your top option is a simple show and hide jobby. If you choose to hide comments, all your current ones are put into storage and no more can be made. If you want them back, unhide and all is returned. Of course, seeing as we're here to try and get more comments, this isn't something we want but if you're blogging as a diary then you might not want people commenting on you.
- Who can comment is the button we're after here, I think. This is the main stopping block that put Merch off - comments were enabled, but they didn't like her credentials. Shady character, that Merch Gwyar. Anyway, you have 4 options, and I'll run through what they mean. The first one is team comments only, so only people that can post entries can comment. The second one is Google users, so anyone with a Blogger, Gmail, Wave, Feedburner or any other account at a site owned by Google can comment when logged in. The third one is registered users, so people with a Google account or any OpenID account can comment (see here for a list of popular OpenID providers, you might have an account that supports them already) can comment, again, when logged in. The final one is anyone, which literally means anyone who can provide a name and an email address, and pass a bot test. The reason an email address is needed is to provide a sense of accountability to a commenter - if moderation is enabled then someone using an email can be blocked based on their previous posts, and in all of the other methods the account itself can be blocked. Personally, I have my blog set on anyone, as I haven't had any problems yet, but if things get worse then I'll probably have to step it up to OpenID security at the least.
- Comment form placement is another important box as different browsers can cock up the comment form in spectacular ways, and if you have a flashy layout then the comment form may well break. I prefer to have my comments on a separate page nowadays, as my layout breaks the inline comment form when I have word verification enabled, and allowing anonymous bots to comment is a recipe for disaster. I would recommend the full page option so you are safe in the event of future layout changes, and you don't have to risk tripping someone's popup filter which will usually get them to leave sharpish.
- Comments default for posts does much the same as hiding the comments, but it leaves old ones visible while disabling new ones.
- Backlinks are tricky ones. They make it so that if another blog links to your post, it will appear in the comments section with a link. This means that any post that Vasktonor links to will get a little backlink icon attached to it. I'd like to have them, but they break my layout.
- Skipping a few boxes because they're boring, (timestamps, really?) we're up to another biggie in Comment Moderation. Comment Moderation basically means that you have to approve any comment as the blog owner before it will appear for others to see, either right away or after a post is a certain age. I personally don't like it, as it leaves me feeling like a criminal right away after an innocent comment - everyone is tarred with the same brush unfortunately but some people like to control what gets displayed as a comment.
- Word verification is a must-have. Simple as. Google's word verification is tough to crack by bots, yet easy to read by humans and it doesn't take very long to punch in a few letters. It should stop nearly all bot posts.
- The final thing of interest is the comment notification email right at the bottom. Whack in your address if you want to know when people comment on your posts.