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Best way to handle large amount of comments

     
1:57 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My blog can get a massive amount of comments per article (200+) which obviously results in a massive page and longer load times.

How would you guys recommend handling a site with large comments? Are there plugins to handle comments better? JS options? I want to have a much more user friendly comment system that doesn't make the page massive. Thanks!
2:17 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Turn on Akismet, with the option to auto remove spam. It will remove most of the spam. This is the easiest solution, but not possibly the best. You will still get huge and useless traffic spamming you, and it will never stop coming, but Akismet will remove it.

The best way is to read your raw access log, track down the spammers and ban them. They will never return. This is a lot of work. Wordpress is very prone to content and referer spam. Bots love WP.

Just a little note to say that comment spam is the gateway drug to security breach attempts and hacking your site. More dangerous than comment spam are bots trying to break into your security. You can see these attacks and more in your raw access log.

[edited by: TorontoBoy at 2:42 am (utc) on Aug 5, 2018]

2:42 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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oh, my comments are legit. That's the problem lol.
2:43 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What do you want to do with legit comments?
3:00 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My goal is to have a way to handle it better. An option would be to somehow have an ajax based comment system that loads as I scroll down the page. I like disqus comments where they're not all loaded at once but don't want to convert my massive community to a new system.
3:12 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If your present system does not allow this, you might just have to grin and bear it. Meanwhile, are these (200+) comments from your members, or is the comment base open to the public? If the latter, you will get all kinds of stuff that is "legit" but probably not as focused as you would like.

Raise the bar on who posts, and how they do.

And topic that generates 200+ is out of the ordinary. IMHO
2:52 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I will assume these comments are not massively long, book-length comments. So, mostly, you're loading a bit of text. That isn't the problem. The problem is mostly likely pulling them from the database and getting all the Gravatars or whatever loaded.

So
1. Implement caching if you haven't. WP Super Cache or Hyper Cache or whatever one you like
2. Turn on Auto-optimize plugin so that it aggregates CSS and JS. That will speed things up
3. Turn off avatars/gravatars/whatever you've got going there

These three things should speed up page loads a lot on pages with a lot of comments. Running something like Cloudflare to cache some resources closer to the user might help too.
1:48 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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BTW - I'm pretty sure that you can paginate comments and that there are Infinite Scroll plugins that will also load them progressively as you suggest. I just don't know them.

I do have posts with maybe 100+ comments, some of them really long (like comments that fill more than a full desktop screen, so 1KB for a single comment. If they are cached and your only extra overhead is the comment itself, the extra load for all of them is less than the Javascript required to run Infinite Scroll.

At a certain point, it's worth using Infinite Scroll or pagination just to help with UI issues (rendering that long page might start to be an issue too). Plus at a certain point, people get antsy if they don't have something to click. So if you are frequently over 200 comments, that might be a UI problem. But from a load time point of view, I think you'll be looking at many KB of Javascript, so you have to have a lot of comment text before it's worth adding Javascript and AJAX calls to avoid just loading the whole mess of comments in the first request.

If you are getting a lot of intelligent comments and show them on the page, I think your page gets "stronger" over time - eventually you have every imaginable variation of your target phrases in the comments and sometimes, if you're getting really good comments, you can go back and update the article, moving the best info from the comments into the main article, which also strengthens it and is a nice "Thank you" to your users, who are usually flattered and more engaged.

And topic that generates 200+ is out of the ordinary. IMHO


Yes, they are. But when we land a topic like that, we don't want to let it go. In a thread that is getting a lot of comments, I am extra attentive to making sure commenters get a response and to just generally keep those active, because I think comments are the best measure of engagement on a blog. If you have a lot of pageviews and a high bounce rate, you might be doing well in search, but fialing your reader. If you have a lot of pageviews, a high bounce rate and a lot of intelligent comments, then you can guess the bounce rate is because you're actually meeting their needs and after that, they're done.

You still might want to do something about the bounce rate, but what you do in each case is going to be different.
2:06 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The only issue with using the infinite scroll approach is that Google will only index what is on the page at page-load. Any comments loaded after by AJAX would not necessarily be picked up. You could add a unique URL's using pushState for the added comments essentially mimicking a paginated structure. But in any event the pages with only comments will likely be heavily discounted in terms of value. Thus if one does adopt this approach one also needs a means of ranking comments in terms of quality and showing the best quality and most relevant first to be sure to derive the most value from these comments.
2:56 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The only issue with using the infinite scroll approach is that Google will only index what is on the page at page-load. Any comments loaded after by AJAX would not necessarily be picked up.


Yes, that's part of what I was driving at, though not as concisely as you :-)

That's what I meant by saying that having a lot of comment text load right in the first go makes the page "stronger". I just didn't want that statement to be entirely Google-centric, because I think it makes it stronger for the user too if the comments are good.