Moderating blog comments — the triage to weed out spam and such before making submitted comments visible to the public — can get complicated. Obvious spam is easy (delete it), as are obviously on-topic relevant personal comments without links (approve it). But there's a lot in between.
In particular, if there's a link you have to consider where it goes, and the commenter's purpose for including the link. On one end of the spectrum, spammers will just copy the text of a previously-approved comment and add a link to a site they're spamming for. Or someone will write something that at first appears to be relevant, but in such a generic way that it seems its only purpose is to get their link to show up on your blog. For example, after I post something like “A Few Japanese Swords of Note”, I'll see comments along the lines of "Thank you for nice and informative data. Japanese swords can be full of history and a good investment", with a link going to some commercial site trading in Japanese swords. Spam.
(Years ago, I posted “Creative Street-Sweeper Design” about a street cleaner that four-year-old Anthony had made out of Lego, and got a comment with a link back to a company that makes actual street-cleaning vehicles, but rather than spam, I felt it was cute, so approved it.)
But what if someone offers a comment that simply disagrees with you? What if they're annonymous. Or on the other hand, what if they provide a link to their site? Could half their intent be to get a visit back to their site? But what if the link would actually be a benefit for your readers?
There are no clear answers, but I find the following two situations, when taken together, to be telling...
A month ago, I made my disappointment clear about some shameful marketing by Scott Kelby (in my “The Amazing Marketing Power of Scott Kelby” post, and a followup), but even though I wrote those in response to specific posts on Scott Kelby's site, I never attempted to mention them in comments on his site, because that could be considered self-serving spam, rather than a benefit to him or his readers. I offered a benefit to his readers by simply pointing out his error and asking for clarification. When a few days later I developed a new solution to address some of the issues under discussion, I didn't attempt to even mention it in a comment on his site even though it would have been a benefit to his readers, because I thought it might be considered rude.
So that was then. A week or so ago, I tried to leave a comment on the blog of one of Scott Kelby's business partners, Matt Kloskowski's “Lightroom Killer Tips”. He posted a two-paragraph item “Lightroom Tip - Facebook and Flickr Commenting” in which the first paragraph was an unrelated advertisement for Scott Kelby training DVDs, and the second pointing out a potentially-overlooked aspect of Lightroom's built in Publish feature. The ensuing comments by his readers brought up questions/concerns about how these features worked, but no answers from Matt or other commenters. Well, considering that I've written more Publish plugins than the rest of the world, including Adobe, combined, this is an area I'm familiar with, so I thought to offer a comment to help those readers..
Here's the comment I submitted to Matt's post:
To answer a few questions others have made in the comments....
The support Matt refers to is available in all language/region versions of Lr3.
If the Facebook integration seems to have stopped working, make sure you've upgraded to Lr3.4, and if that alone doesn't help, try the “Remove Authorization” button, then re-authorize your account.
About publishing to Facebook fan pages, Facebook didn't allow third-party apps to do that until recently, so it wasn't possible when Lr3 came out. For what it's worth, my Facebook plugin for Lightroom (which is unrelated to the Adobe one built in, and can run side-by-side with Adobe's if you like) does allow publishing to fan pages and the like.
BTW, the bit about comments being deleted if you republish a Facebook image is a Facebook issue, not a Lightroom issue.
About the “some pics stay in 'republish' forever”, that should have been fixed with Lr3.4.
About Flickr and video, again, for what it's worth, my Flickr plugin can do it. I have a lot of Lightroom plugins, but where they overlap with Adobe's built-in support, my plugins tend to be more complex. This is good if you need more features than Adobe has provided, but more complex means more complex to understand and use, so they may not be for everyone.
The question facing Matt when this comment arrived in his inbox: is this spam or a benefit to your readers?
If you read the post and the other comments, what I've added is clearly on topic, relevant, and helpful, but yet, there are links, so you've got to be more careful. Do these links benefit Matt's readers? Two of them are specific answers that solve specific reader questions, and the third is of generic interest to any Lightroom user, so yeah, overall this is an obvious benefit for Matt's readers, and a comment that one would think Matt would be happy to get.
However, when I looked the next day, the comment had not appeared, even to me with the “your comment is awaiting moderation” note it had right after I submitted it. That's odd.
Perhaps I had made a mistake and didn't actually submit it, so I sent it in again, and waited. After four days, I'd seen many other comments on Matt's site being approved, so I knew that he wasn't on vacation or something, but my comment was still invisible to his readers, appearing only to me (and, of course, to Matt). Could he be withholding this help for his readers out of spite for me? It'd be sad to see an adult be so petty and small, especially at the expense of his readers, so perhaps it had just been overlooked. I added a private followup comment asking whether my comment might be approved....
The next day, my comment was no longer visible even to me, indicating that Matt had simply deleted it.
Sad. And telling.