ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Comment Moderation Does Not Scale

Updated on March 24, 2012

In computer systems, "scale" means growing bigger as in blog traffic growing bigger, etc.

"Comment moderation" means having a blog that does not automatically publish visitors' comments.  But rather, that all comments must be approved by the administrator before it gets published.  The act of discerning whether a comment is worthy to be published or not is called "moderation".  Moderation also means filtering out spam comments.

Example of Scaling

If a blogger has 30 posts, that would not be too big of a problem to manually moderate all incoming comments. However, if the blogger later has 300 posts and then later has 3000 posts, then comment moderation may become a chore and may take considerable amount of time.

This takes into consideration that some comments are quite long to read, the administrator must also check out the visitor's website link and/or profile to determine if the visitor is a spammer or not, etc.

Even if, say hypothetically, that each posts gets one comment per month, that would mean that an administrator must moderate 3000 comments each month for a 3000-post blog. If it take one minute to moderate one comment, that would mean it takes a blogger 50 hours each month just to moderate comments. That's is an entire working week.

I know that these hypothetical numbers are in the extreme on the high end. Most bloggers are not at the level that they would encounter these large numbers. These numbers are just nice round numbers to make the calculations easy to see.

However, it does demonstrate the idea of "scaling". That is... What is completely feasible on the small scale, may become unfeasible in the large scale. That is what is meant by a system that "can not scale".

On HubPages, I am planning on publishing 1000 hubs within a span of five years. With a hundred or two hubs, moderating comment will be do-able. But not when it reaches the 1000 hubs mark. More Hubs means more comments, and it can become quite time-consuming to moderate.

Some Large Blogs are turning off comments

To be sure, there are popular blogs where those large numbers are reached.

Most notably is, the top blog in 2010 as reported by Time[3], turned off comments. Its owner Leo Babuta explains ...

"There was too much comment spam, resulting in huge headaches for me. Seriously, it took up a lot of my time."[2]

Steve Pavlina turned off comments back in 2005 when comments reached more than 10 per day and on some day as much as 100 comments. He says that "The main issue was the opportunity cost — the amount of time and energy it takes to handle comments and what other choices I have for investing that time and energy."[1]

Actually, It May Scale

Some would argue "why moderate comments" -- just let all comments through. Yes, that would make it scale. But that is not advisable. The Webologist warns bloggers why they should always moderate comments and never auto-publish. Because it can have legal ramifications such as when a libelous comment is left on a blog post.

There are a lot of spam comments. And spam filters does not work 100% correctly. Also you have to monitor what people say before publishing it. Because there can be legal ramifications due to stuff people put in comments.

Actually, it might be possible to make comment moderation scale, if the blogger hires someone to moderate comments for him/or her. However, there are problems with that as well.

First of all, where are you going to find someone who is willing to moderate comments for you part-time? Second, it costs money. And third, it is not always practical.

As Pavlina's contact form says "I could hire an assistant to handle this for me, but that seems pointless since most messages people have sent me are very personal."

So ...

So you see now why comment moderation may not be able to scale as your readership grows.  Another article that you might be interested in reading is Why I Do Not Have Comments Turned On on some articles.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)