Comments stuck in moderation queue even though "Akismet cleared this comment"

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  • #2974349

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    On a group blog that I am on, I am experiencing a rather frustrating issue where a few users repeatedly have their comments put into the moderation queue. From checking our Comment Moderation and Comment Blacklist settings, there is nothing in there that would suggest that these comments should be put in the moderation queue.

    I was thinking it might be Akismet overreacting. However, whenever I manually approve the comments, the comment history says that Akismet cleared this comment.

    Is there another place I should check for comment moderation settings that may have been inadvertently set?

    This is really annoying because one of the blog’s very own bloggers is included in the moderation queue. It’s really embarrassing to have to fish out comments by a regular writer on our site.

    From reviewing the comments that go into spam, there are typically no URLs in the comment body (although the people who get caught do have URLs in their profile…but AFAICT, there is nothing wrong or bad with their URL).

    If there is some additional information I need to provide, I can certainly start gathering comments that have been manually approved by our team members and send them to whoever specializes in this. It’s just been really annoying to not have that much control over this.

    The blog I need help with is: wheatandtares.org

    #2974459

    dave2swords
    Member

    Hi there!

    a few users repeatedly have their comments put into the moderation queue

    That’s frustrating for sure!

    Since it is just a few users and not everyone, and these few users are not blacklisted, something in Akismet might be causing this. Even though you are getting the everything’s cool message, according to what you are telling us, something strange is happening.

    In https://en.support.wordpress.com/unwanted-comments/ it says

    Are your comments incorrectly marked as spam? Please contact Akismet support and mention that Akismet is catching your comments by mistake.

    Here is the link to contact Akismet’s most excellent help staff:
    https://akismet.com/contact/

    Good luck!
    dave

    #2974496

    supernovia
    Staff

    Hi @sa40test, this thread was tagged for staff attention, but it looks like @dave2swords has you covered more or less!

    The only thing I can add is that there is a difference between the moderation queue and actually being marked as spam. Akismet only deals with the spam.

    If they aren’t being marked as spam, but are being held for moderation, let us know when you’ve got some in the pending queue and we’ll see if we can figure out why.

    #2974505

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    Thanks @dave2swords and @supernovia

    I am experiencing both issues, but primarily, the comments are being held for moderation. I will focus on comments hitting spam for Akismet and move forward with comments in moderation for this forum.

    In fact, right now, the guy who always gets put in the moderation queue has a new comment in the moderation queue. What do I need to provide so you can see? I don’t know the protocol for what information you need to see vs how we can preserve privacy.

    #2974507

    supernovia
    Staff

    Thanks, does only this one person get affected?

    #2974508

    supernovia
    Staff

    (Also, I can see the comment there now as staff)

    #2974509

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    For this one person, every comment hits the moderation queue, even though we end up accepting most if not all of their comments.

    There are other people who are affected, but it’s not every comment and we can’t figure out the specific trigger, so the next time it happens to them, I’ll ask them to keep their comments in the filter. (They are bloggers, so they normally approve their own comments when it happens).

    I can point to specific comments that needed to be manually approved, so you can see in the history that akismet cleared them, and then a blogger manually approved them, but would those comments be valuable since they aren’t currently in the moderation queue?

    #2974510

    supernovia
    Staff

    OK. I’m looking at your moderation settings and noticing a few things that could be tripping stuff up.
    https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/options-discussion.php

    Do your community members frequently use email addresses in their comments, in addition to links to their own site? I’m wondering if that’s tripping up the “hold if there are 2 or more links” rule. You might try bumping that up to 3.

    If that doesn’t do the trick, would you consider temporarily copying your blacklist / moderation rules out to a text file, to see whether that stops the problem?

    If it does, try adding the most important sections back in one chunk at a time. For what it’s worth, I’ve not yet been able to confirm whether asterisks and slashes like this
    /* something */

    work the same way in this section as it would in, say, CSS, so I’d probably leave those out.

    #2974511

    supernovia
    Staff

    For what it’s worth, it seems that J. person has only posted four time from that IP address, and 2 out of 4 of those comments included an extra link.

    I can imagine folks on this site frequently including links in their comments as citations to back up their arguments, and if they already have their own site link in the comment as well, that could be triggering the moderation rules.

    #2974512

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    I will try bumping to three, but comments can be tripped in the moderation queue even when

    1) the email address isn’t in the body of the comment (this latest comment has it, but not the previous comments)

    2) a website address is not included the comment body (although J does cite with links occasionally, even his comments that don’t have links are put in moderation. Literally: every comment)

    #2974513

    supernovia
    Staff

    OK. If he’s always posting from random IPs (a traveller perhaps) that could make a difference as well.

    I wonder if he’s logged in when he comments, too.. Hmm.

    Anyway, try (if it’s safe) to temporarily remove the list of moderate-able / blacklist-able words and what not in the discussion settings, or at least remove the ones with asterisks and slashes in them. Let’s see whether that makes a difference.

    Also, given that this isn’t a new site, is this a new-ish problem, and would you remember when it started?

    #2974520

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    OK, I removed the moderation queue and blacklist words with “/*” and “*/” for now. I also asked J to comment as soon as he got my email; I hope he’s available to do that sooner rather than later.

    If he can comment pretty soon and he’s still having issues, I’ll try with a completely empty list of terms (although, there are some folks we do want to prevent from commenting).

    From checking my emails, I have “Please Moderate…” emails from as far back as March 12, 2017 for J. I will try checking the “please moderate…” emails from before that date to see if any of those seem improper, but so far, the ones from before seem like legitimate cases (i.e., first time user or trackbacks)

    #2974539

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    J just commented again with no links in the comment body, and it went to comment moderation.

    #2974628

    supernovia
    Staff

    Hi @sa40test, hmm. Thanks for the extra details. Would you be willing to temporarily clear both sections in comment moderation, allow me to clear the site cache, and then see if J’s comments get stuck?

    Also, are there other people who are having the same problem pretty consistently?

    #2974629

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    Please feel free to clear the site cache. I have cleared all filters for Comment Moderation and for Comment Blacklist (I accidentally cleared all comments from the queue but then restored them to being back in the queue).

    Only J experiences the issue where 100% of his comments goes to the queue.

    However, in addition, there are some folks who intermittently go to the queue. For example, we have a blogger on the site with initials MH who occasionally gets in the queue, but we haven’t figured out what triggers this, and it doesn’t go every time.

    We also have a somewhat regular commenter with initials FP who had a comment go in the comment moderation queue this morning (his comment begins with “I want to push back against this…”, but I approved it to keep the flow of conversation. Again, not every one of his comments goes into the queue, and I don’t know what causes it for him.

    #2974630

    supernovia
    Staff

    Thanks, cache cleared. Let’s leave it like that for a bit and see what happens. Also, please go ahead and approve or delete the current pending comments, and if it’s possible, find some comments by MH and FP that were initially set to pending. I’ll take a look.

    One more thought on this – do these folks comment pretty quickly, chat-like?

    #2974632

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    The comments aren’t as quick as chats. Generally, even when participants are both online, comments usually require a amount of thought and reasoning that limits how quickly they can comment.

    From looking through all of FP’s comments, I did get an idea, though…it looks like for both J and FP, there is a certain date after which EVERY comment either of them wrote had to be approved by a blogger. Sometime in the middle of March 2017, this occurred. I can’t say precisely, because neither J nor FP post every day.

    Here are some comments that were initially set to pending (but which I or another blogger approved):

    FP’s “I want to push back against this…” (posted today, 6/23/2017)
    FP’s “I think polygamy…” (posted 6/20/2017)
    FP’s “While a temple ship…” (posted 4/24/2017)
    FP’s “rob — I have what is generally accepted…” (posted 4/12/2017)
    FP’s “it’s always been interesting to me” (posted 4/11/2017)

    As noted above, this pattern happens for all comments by FP UNTIL his February comments. There was no need for manual approval on any comments from February 2017 or earlier.

    Moving on there’s another commenter, MP:

    MP comment on 4/28 “Mary Ann, Thanks for your well thought out post”
    MP comment on 4/29 “Mary Ann, there are two sources of evidence”
    MP comment on 4/30 “Mary Ann, re your last comment”
    MP comment on 5/1 “Mike, the wiki article”

    Unfortunately, MP only had commented for that one thread, so he does not have any comments from before to test the mid-March hypothesis.

    Finally, after looking through MH’s comments, I think that his situation is a bit more complicated. Not every comment is affected, and he has issues with some of his comments being improperly labeled as spam. I’ll work with Akismet here, since his case seems to involve more than just comment moderation.

    MH on 5/31 “GBSmith, I probably was a bit harsh” –> SPAM filter, no links in body
    MH on 5/1 “a surprising new study” –> SPAM filter, 1 link in comment body
    MH on 4/28 “Bible and Book of Mormon archeology” –> comment moderation (but probably because of 3 links in body)
    MH on 4/19 “Happy Hubby, love the post…” –> SPAM filter, no links in body
    MH on 4/10 “Rigel, it’s better than no music…” –> SPAM filter, no links in body

    #2974646

    supernovia
    Staff

    Could you link to the actual comments in wp-admin? I’m having trouble finding these.

    Also, are these folks having trouble commenting on any other sites?

    #2974647

    sa40test
    Member
    Original poster

    Certainly. Again, these comments are all approved now, but they should all show in comment history that even though they passed akismet, a blogger needed to approve them as well:

    FP’s “I want to push back against this…” (posted today, 6/23/2017) https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=162146#akismet-status

    FP’s “I think polygamy…” (posted 6/20/2017) https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=161958#akismet-status

    FP’s “While a temple ship…” (posted 4/24/2017) https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=159873#akismet-status

    FP’s “rob — I have what is generally accepted…” (posted 4/12/2017) https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=159459#akismet-status

    FP’s “it’s always been interesting to me” (posted 4/11/2017) https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=159415#akismet-status

    As noted above, this pattern happens for all comments by FP UNTIL his February comments. There was no need for manual approval on any comments from February 2017 or earlier.

    Moving on there’s another commenter, MP:

    MP comment on 4/28 “Mary Ann, Thanks for your well thought out post” https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=159995#akismet-status

    MP comment on 4/29 “Mary Ann, there are two sources of evidence” https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=160000#akismet-status

    MP comment on 4/30 “Mary Ann, re your last comment” https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=160019#akismet-status

    MP comment on 5/1 “Mike, the wiki article” https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=160029#akismet-status

    MH on 5/31 “GBSmith, I probably was a bit harsh” –> SPAM filter, no links in body https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=161202#akismet-status

    MH on 5/1 “a surprising new study” –> SPAM filter, 1 link in comment body https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=160037#akismet-status

    MH on 4/28 “Bible and Book of Mormon archeology” –> comment moderation (but probably because of 3 links in body) https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=159966#akismet-status

    MH on 4/19 “Happy Hubby, love the post…” –> SPAM filter, no links in body https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=159662#akismet-status

    MH on 4/10 “Rigel, it’s better than no music…” –> SPAM filter, no links in body https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=159397#akismet-status

    #2974648

    supernovia
    Staff

    Thanks. I’ve been digging around for ideas without much luck yet. Also, to be clear, this is only happening to a few users, right? Not moderation for all the things? :)

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