In the second in my series of articles about spam comments on blogs, I’m going to help you to learn how to decide whether a comment is spam (so should be deleted) or legitimate. I started this series by writing about what spam comments are and why you should stop them, and if you’re new to the topic, you might want to go back and look at that post first.
So, let’s have a look at some spam. I’m gong to start with the easy-to-spot ones and then move on to some more ambiguous ones.
In each example, I’ve included a screen shot of the comment, with its origin on the left, the “comment” in the middle and the title of the bog post it refers to on the right. Some details have been blurred out.
Obvious spam that has no place in your comments
This first category shouldn’t even get through to your comments to review if you’ve set up or got any sort of spam protection. There’s no way could mistake these for legitimate comments:
A sales word repeated over and over again and also a particularly common spam term:
… and one with some random information on buying sports gear on a post about small businesses.
Here’s another one which is talking about factory shops and comes from a URL about running shoes (remember how those spammers want to get the URLs of the companies they’re working for all over the Internet? Nothing to do with Word documents!
So those are quite easy, and they’re also the ones you won’t see so often, as spam filters will catch them.
Spam comments pretending to be praise
This is a kind of post that often sneaks through. Be wary of over-the-top praise with no proper mention of what it’s praising. And look at where it comes from and the links:
So, this one is extremely vague and general – why would anyone legitimate post this? Also look at the commenter “Name” – “online shopping”. It looks like praise but that’s just to fool the spam filters (notice there is no URL placed within the comment, again to skip past the spam filter):
what about this one? How nice – they found my post on Word documents to be wonderful. But again, no detail about what they found wonderful, and look at the commenter’s “Name” on the left. Enough said.
I get this one ALL the time, mentioning they have bookmarked it. But from someone with a kind of name whose website is called that? (I’m not even typing the word here; who knows what that will attract!
This last one is a clever one but I get the “famous” comment all the time; also the not knowing how they got there. The URL was VERY dodgy on this one, too.
Note that quite often these comments have a spelling mistake or weird phrase. From having accidentally let these through in the past, I’m fairly convinced that they act as a kind of highlight to let other spammers know this particular blog is not well protected and they can get their spam onto it. It’s so easy to set up an automated search and comment!
Spam comments asking questions
This kind of comment is even more difficult to work out – because we all like to interact with our readers and answer their questions! Well, I get these sort of comments all the time, and again, check the URLs and commenter “Names” and you’ll get a good idea of what you’re looking at.
OK, this might nearly catch me out. Except no one has ever asked me legitimately how to find my email subscription or my RSS feed. If you know what those are, you will find them on the site. So this is a real red flag … but the URL should be, anyway. All sorts of people do comment, but this looks like a sales site or a lure to something worse to me:
And the classic “off topic” – this again shrieks spam to me after years of seeing them – plus it’s our spacey friend again from above!
By all means, answer legitimate, specific questions in comments – ones that relate to the post they’re commenting on, for example. But these two examples are absolute classics and should go straight into spam.
Semi-legitimate comments with a spammy purpose
This last category I usually give the benefit of the doubt and mark as Trash rather than Spam. After all, it’s common knowledge that a good way to get blog followers for our own sites is to comment on other people’s blog posts, and of course we will then include our own.
It’s worth noting here, too, that I’m all about cooperation and coopetition with colleagues in the editing, transcription and localisation business, however, I’m not particularly keen (that’s an understatement) on people commenting about how their service is cheaper and better than mine!
Thanks, but no thanks, and into the Trash it goes!
This article has given you some examples of spam, ranging from the obvious to the not-so-obvious, and has hopefully helped you to distinguish spam comments from legitimate ones (for examples of legitimate comments, just take a look at the ones on my previous article, or, in time, this one!). I hope you feel more equipped to tell if a blog comment is spam now!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Do post any questions or comments below; your comments may affect the content of my next article!
Other relevant posts on this blog
How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?
Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely
How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips
10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!
10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!
Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!
Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them
How do I keep people engaged with my blog? – comments and reciprocity
Here’s a problem: when I add comments to a Word document don’t show my picture by them although I’m signed in to my Microsoft account. This article explains how to make sure that your personal picture appears in your Word Comments (in Word 2013 and going forward to 2016 and beyond, for PC). If your picture has disappeared from your Word comments, it tells you how to get it back. If you don’t want to see your picture in Word comments, it tells you how to remove it.
I always try to be responsive to my commenters (see this post on comments for why!) and so I’m writing this post as a direct consequence of a comment I received on one of my articles about comment boxes in Word.
The basic problem is this: you can have your image appear next to your comments in Word. Because Word 2013 and beyond are designed largely to be used with an active subscription account with Microsoft, it can pull details from your Microsoft account through to the software to enhance your user experience.
Why would you want your image next to your comments?
I’m going to repeat the comment here (with many thanks to commenter and correspondent Lark Lands) so you can see what the problem is and why it’s important:
So this comment writer uses the picture to scan down and find their own comments.
Please remember the golden rule of Track Changes and Comments here, however: how you choose to display your Word document comments and changes has no effect on what your client sees. So you can add your picture to your own view, but don’t expect this to carry through to your client’s or collaborator’s view of the document.
Where is the picture in my comments in Word?
In Word 2013 or 2016, you might see a picture in your comments: it will appear in this position if you have it set up to show pictures:
The arrow is pointing to the placeholder picture (if you’re not logged into your Microsoft account online) or your own picture (if you are logged in)
If you don’t have pictures enabled, your comments will look like this:
How do I add or remove my picture from Word 2013 comments?
The first thing you need to do here is to make sure that you’re logged in to your online Microsoft account. If you don’t do this, the “picture” that appears by your comment will just be a little placeholder symbol and your efforts will be wasted to an extent.
Now you need to make sure boxes are ticked (or unticked) in two places and then do one final but very important process.
1. Set up Track Changes options
First, set up your Track Changes options to show pictures.
In the Review tab, find the Track Changes area and click on the arrow in the bottom right corner:
When you’ve clicked on the arrow, this dialogue box will appear: make sure that Pictures by Comments is either ticked or unticked, depending on whether you want to see the pictures or not:
Click OK and the first part of the process is done.
2. Check your Word Options are appropriate
Now you need to go into Word Options and make sure that your picture displays whether or not you are logged in to your Microsoft account (you should be logged in when you do this)
Go into Word Options using the File tab …
… and then choosing Options
The Word Options dialogue box will appear. Make sure that Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office is NOT ticked (even though this seems counter-intuitive):
Click on OK and process 2 is complete.
3. Restart your computer (do not ignore this one)
After an amount of correspondence on this topic, my original comment poster noted that they hadn’t fully restarted their computer. It’s not enough to restart Word – you need to restart Windows.
So, restart your computer and now your picture should appear or not appear as you wish.
This article has told you what to do if your picture does not appear next to your comments in Word 2013 or you want to add or remove your picture from Word comments.
Please do click the share buttons or comment if you’ve found this article interesting and/or useful.
Other relevant articles on this blog
Customising comment boxes in Word
What to do if your comment boxes go tiny in Word
What to do if your comment boxes start running from right to left
Changing the language in your comment balloons
Customising Track Changes