An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Comments And Layered Security

One of the most common complaints, seen regularly in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, involves publication and visibility of comments.
Why can't I publish comments, on some blogs?
or
Why can't I see my comments, after I publish them?
or even
Why do my blog posts show no comments?
These are questions asked by blog readers and owners, alike. The answers all start with security filters and settings.

Security filters and settings affect the ability for you, and your readers, to use commenting, on your blog.

Comment Form Style

The majority of the problems, with commenting and filters, involve blogs which use the Post Page ("Embedded") comment form. Use of the embedded form requires third party cookies, on the reader computers.

The Full Page form is least vulnerable (though not totally so), of the 3 form styles. Embedded, Full Page, and Pop Up comment forms are all vulnerable, to differing extents, because of the different blogs, that attract different reader populations, each with differing abilities and needs to maintain security on their own computers.

The problems with comments involve the clients (ie, the blog readers), their computers, and their choices, reacting to the options chosen by the blog owners.

Security Accessories

Every different computer, accessing the Internet, has a different combination of security accessories. Every different security accessory will have its own filters - and be subject to updates, by the provider. And every different filter will be triggered, from time to time, by different components in the various Blogger (and Google+) comment scripts.

The commenting process - and accompanying security problems - involves many different details, besides comment form placement.

The blog URL, and the geographical location of the reader, will trigger filters. Both blogs subject to country code alias redirection, and those using custom domain publishing, will be affected by filters, in different ways. Both involve blogs not accessed as "blogspot.com".

Commenting Options

Authentication options, which are selectable by the blog owners, will vary.

  • Anyone (no authentication required).
  • Google / OpenID account.
  • Google account only.
  • Blog members only.

Within those 4 levels of authentication, the blog reader will have 1 to 3 choices. Each of those choices (by the blog readers), combined with each of those options (chosen by the blog owners), will involve different sections of code.

Besides the authentication choices and options, there are options (for the blog owner) to include CAPTCHA verification, and to include comment moderation and notification. Again, different sections of code will be involved.

The different sections of code involved will trigger different filters.

Comment Moderation

Besides the per blog choice to include comment moderation, the real time per comment choice of the blog owner, is to publish (or not to delete), or to not publish (or to delete) any given comment. This filter leads to the subject of community moderation, and training of the collaborative and heuristic filters, for Blogger hosted comments.

The community moderation filters provide automatic moderation of Blogger hosted comments - and the need for active moderation, by the blog owners.

Google+ Comments

The choice of Blogger hosted comments, vs Google+ hosted comments, provides one more option, to the blog owners.

Blogs which use Google+ hosted comments use community moderation, and free the blog owner to spend more time on blog content. Google+ hosted comments provide real time relation based filters, where the publisher of any comment can designate who will be allowed to view the comment, providing filters which are relevant to the comment publisher.

Cookies and Scripts

Each separate section of code can trigger different script filters - and may require different cookies, which may or may not be present and accessible to the Blogger scripts. Both cookies and scripts are essential parts of Blogger code, which are vulnerable to different security filters at different times.

The mysterious vanishing comments is just one consequence.

Use Of Supported Browsers And Computers

Some people prefer to ignore the crowd, and to use browsers and operating systems that nobody else knows about.

Individuality is good, in general - but in the world of web applications such as Blogger, use of unsupported browsers and computers may bring frustration. Blogger simply can't support all browsers and computers, with equal attention to the oddities presented by each one.

The End Result

The various filters involved cause comments to be published (or not), to remain published (or be deleted), and to be visible when published (or invisible). Many of these details are transparent, to the casual blog reader - until there is a problem.

These details may help to explain the apparent random nature of Blogger blogs and commenting - why comments, posted to some blogs, appear without problem - while comments, posted to other blogs, may never appear, or be invisible.

Dude, hit me with a comment!