FAQ - Comment Security

» How do I control who can comment on my journal?

You can set permissions for commenting in the Privacy section of the My Account Settings page. The Enable comments option lets you decide who should be allowed to comment on your entries. You can choose to allow comments from:

  • anyone, including anonymous readers and people who do not have a Dreamwidth account ('everyone');
  • anyone who identifies themselves with their Dreamwidth account ('registered users');
  • only specific people you allow access to ('access list').

You can turn off commenting for your whole journal by selecting 'nobody' from the menu. Save your options using the Save button.

Commenters logged in using OpenID are treated differently based on whether or not they have confirmed an email address on Dreamwidth. If the OpenID account has a confirmed email address, it will be treated as a registered user. If the OpenID account doesn't have a confirmed email address, it will be treated as an anonymous user.

If there is a specific user you don't want commenting, you can ban that person.

Last Activity:
March 7th, 2013 (denise)

» How do I control who can comment on a particular entry?

You can set the comment security level for each individual entry when you post it. You can make an entry where comments are not allowed, even if you have commenting turned on in general. When you're posting an entry, change the Allow comments? setting to Disabled. If you have commenting turned off in your journal, you can't set one entry to allow comments.

If you make a protected entry, only people you have granted access will be able to comment. Anonymous comments are not allowed on protected entries, so commenters have to identify themselves on these entries.

Last Activity:
March 4th, 2012 (denise)

» How do I ban someone from commenting?

You can ban someone by entering their account name on the Ban and Unban Accounts page. You might want to block anonymous comments as well. If you change your mind, you can use the checkboxes on the same page to allow the person to comment again.

It is only possible to ban or remove access from people by Dreamwidth account name, and not by IP address, email address or any other form of identity.

Last Activity:
April 24th, 2010 (rainbow)

» What can I do about unwanted comments?

You can delete any comment posted on your journal. Deleting a comment removes it permanently, and can't be reversed. If you'd like to hide a comment without removing it, you can screen the comment.

You can protect your entries so that either only people on your access list can read the entries, or so that only people on your list can comment, even though everyone can read.

If the same person keeps posting comments you don't want, you can ban that person. You can also remove them from your access list (if they're on it).

Last Activity:
March 4th, 2012 (denise)

» What are spam comments? What can I do about them?

A spam comment is one posted by a machine which automatically posts irrelevant comments. These may contain advertising or links to other websites. The same comment posted in many different places where it isn't wanted can also be spam.

When you delete a comment, you'll be given the option of reporting it as spam. You can do this by checking the box labeled Mark this comment as spam. This will send a report to the people who deal with spam, who will review it and then take action to block the spammer if appropriate.

If you receive a lot of spam, you may want to block comments from anonymous posters or people not on your access list. You can also require some or all commenters to pass a test, called a CAPTCHA, proving that they are not spambots. You can set CAPTCHA in use the Privacy section of the My Account Settings page. You can decide whether only anonymous commenters, everyone not on your Access List, or everyone needs to pass the CAPTCHA test by selecting the appropriate option for the Anti-Spam setting.

You can also choose between a text-based human test or an image-based human test for commenters in your journal. The text-based human test is better if you have commenters who access your journal with a screenreader or commenters who have low vision. The image-based human test is better if you have commenters who don't speak English or who have cognitive accessibility needs.

Comment screening can also be used to reduce spam. It won't prevent the spam comments from being made, but it will prevent anyone else from seeing them. This includes search engines. When the spammer realizes that their comments aren't showing up in search engines, they will likely reduce their spamming. You can learn more about comment screening in FAQ 60.

Last Activity:
December 6th, 2012 (zarhooie)

» What is comment screening?

Screening a comment hides it so only the person who posted the comment and the journal owner can view it. If you reply to a screened comment, the person you're replying to can see your reply. Screened comments are hidden from everyone else who views the entry.

Screened comments in the middle of threads will display as just a message saying "Screened comment"; this preserves the structure of the thread, but doesn't give any information about the author or content of the comment.

To screen a comment posted in your journal, use the screen light bulb button. To unscreen (reveal) a comment that has been screened, use the same button again, now labeled unscreen.

In a community, the person who posted the entry and the community administrators have the ability to screen comments. You can't screen comments you posted on someone else's journal; you can only delete your comments.

You can set up your journal to screen some or all comments when they are posted, meaning that they will not appear unless you decide to reveal them. Use the Privacy section on the My Account Settings page and choose the appropriate option for Comment Screening. You can set the same comment screening options for comments on individual entries using the Comment Screening option on the Post an Entry page.

Comment screening can be used to reduce spam. It won't prevent the spam comments from being made, but it will prevent anyone else from seeing them. This includes search engines. When the spammer realizes that their comments aren't showing up in search engines, they will likely reduce their spamming. There are other spam-fighting techniques in FAQ 92.

Last Activity:
December 6th, 2012 (zarhooie)

» What is comment IP logging?

Comment IP logging means the IP address of the computer that was used to post a comment is displayed in the comment. The IP address is a number which partially identifies a computer posting to the Internet. When you comment on an entry, you will receive a warning notice if IP logging is turned on. Your IP address will not be displayed publicly. Only the person who posted the entry and the community's administrators (for community entries) will have access to it.

To log IP addresses of people commenting on your journal, or stop logging IP addresses, use the Privacy section on the My Account Settings page, and set the option for IP Address Logging. If IP logging was previously turned off, turning it on will display IP addresses for future comments, but it is not possible to find out the IP addresses for comments made while logging was turned off.

IP addresses are not uniquely identifying — you can't say for certain that a particular IP address belongs to a particular person. At most, an IP address can confirm that a particular comment was made by someone using the same Internet connection as the person who made an earlier comment that came from the same IP address. You can't use IP address information to prove a negative: two comments coming from separate IP addresses do not necessarily mean they were made by people using different Internet connections, since some Internet providers assign IP addresses dynamically and IPs may change.

Based on how your Internet provider assigns IP addresses and how those assignments are reported to the Internet as a whole, your IP address may let others know your geographical region, through a process known as "geolocation". The degree of accuracy will depend on how your Internet provider assigns IP address; with most Internet providers it will be accurate to the city or suburb level. If your physical safety can be compromised through others knowing where you're using the Internet, you should always use an anonymizing proxy whenever you browse the Internet. It isn't enough to simply avoid commenting in journals that have comment IP logging enabled, as your IP address is sent to the remote server with every page you load on the Internet, and if you browse with images enabled in your browser, someone can include an image from a server they control and obtain your IP address that way.

Last Activity:
January 24th, 2013 (denise)

» Why are people who comment on my journal being shown an antispam test (captcha)?

The antispam test, or captcha, is a test that users can be asked to complete in order to prove that they are not automated spam bots.

The most common reason for people to see an antispam test on your journal is that you have your journal set to show them. The Privacy tab of Account Settings is where you make this choice. The setting "Anti-Spam" controls who sees an antispam test. You can show an antispam test to nobody, to anonymous commenters only, to all commenters not on your access list, or to everybody.

On that page, you can also choose whether someone will see a text-based antispam test, or an image-based antispam test.

However, even if you've set the antispam test to display to "nobody" on your journal or community, there are a few times when commenters might see an antispam test anyway. These are all related to security or antispam concerns:

  • If an entry has over 5000 comments, antispam tests will be shown to people posting new comments.

  • If an anonymous comment or a comment made by an OpenID user who has not confirmed their email address contains certain HTML, the commenter may be asked to solve an antispam test.

  • If a single commenter is making comments very quickly, they will be asked to solve an antispam test. The limit is set at the point where a single person who is not using automated software isn't likely to hit it, but sometimes it can happen.

  • If somebody using your computer or internet connection has been identified as a spammer in the past, you may be asked to solve an antispam test when commenting.

Last Activity:
March 8th, 2013 (denise)


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