Blogging Discussion: Registration Required to Comment?

I’m not really sure if this is a trend or just coincidence, but over the past week I’ve noticed quite a few of the blogs that I stumble upon require you to setup an account before you can leave a comment.  Anyone know what is up with that?

This is obviously a very useful WordPress feature for blogs that have a strong community built around their website, but I think most people should consider the consequences before they require you to register to comment.  A choice like this could keep truly hinder a new blogs growth or discourage a blogger who isn’t seeing the reader interaction they were hoping for.

As with pretty much everything, there are some positives and some negatives to doing this.  Off the top of my head, here are a few positives and negatives of requiring registration to leave a comment on a blog:

Positives of Registration

  • Spam Prevention – Requiring registration should stop spam completely.
  • More Options – Requiring registration opens up some interesting opportunities to customize comment appearance, allow you to create profiles, etc.   I’ve seen a few high profile websites do this, but the registration usually is optional instead of being required.

Negatives of Registration

  • Less Comments – Some people value comments more than others, but I think most bloggers would find less comments to be a negative as the whole concept of blogging was formed around the concept of reader interaction with the writer.

I personally do not leave comments on blogs that require registration because it just isn’t worth it to me.  I have enough accounts to manage without trying to remember my account information.   I also think things like spam can easily be avoided for WordPress users using tools like Akismet and Bad Behavior, Spam Karma 2, or Math Comment Spam Protection (which we use here).

I’d like to hear what you think in the comments below.   How do you feel about blogs that require registration to comment?   Do you take the time to register or do you just decide not to comment at all?

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  • Does WordPress Need Trackbacks Any More?

    Sometimes it is fun to look back, and today I want to take a quick look back at the early stages of blogging, and examine the relevance of a term that many of you are probably familiar with…trackbacks.  Flash back six years ago when blogging was a very new idea and had yet to develop into what we have today. 

    Before comments really caught on, it was common for a blog post’s conversation to spill over to several blogs, because bloggers would post their “comment” on their own weblog and give their takes.  The problem was, this often made it difficult for a reader to follow conversations.  As a result, the trackback was invented by the team over at Six Apart for their Movable Type software (and eventually Typepad, etc.).   Eventually, other blogging software (include WordPress) adopted this method so readers could see a post, then see who was talking about it.

    In the years since then, pingbacks were created to be easier to send are less vulnerable to spam.  People that don’t have a blog will usually leave comments.  To me, this begs the question…do we really need trackbacks any longer?  When was the last time you received one that wasn’t spam?   In my opinion, blogging has outgrown the trackback and the pingback has made it irrelevant. 

    As for the pingback, I think it is great for now.   I do think, however, that we are headed towards blogs using something like a Google Blog Search or Technorati to display on each individual blog page a “who is talking about this post” module, which would make the pingback fairly irrelevant as well.   All it would take is for Google to put a little more focus in improving their Google Blog Search or Technorati to narrow their focus in this type of area so that page load times wouldn’t take a drastic hit.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but I figured I would throw it out there and get your thoughts on trackbacks and where blogging is headed in the future. 

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