Goodbye Top Commentators, Hello Top Contributors

News from the NestWhen I installed the Top Commentators plugin, it was for one purpose — to say thanks, with a linkback, to those who contributed to the conversation. It was an automated way to give some link love to folks taking the time to offer their input, insight, and feedback.

Unfortunately like any automated system, the opportunity is there for it to be gamed — and that was happening more, and more. It’s no longer automated when you have to spend a bunch of time manually fixing things and removing schlock.

Spam — both bot created and people created — was making it so that I ended up linking to spammy, off-topic, or just plain crappy blogs. Those who really provided value to the conversation were being pushed out by spammers. There were even some cases where the spammer would use the name of a real contributor, with a link to a spam site instead of the one who left the original comment. There are also a few other reasons.

So I’m ditching the Top Commentators plugin and going with something better. Something that will provide actual value to both readers and the top comment contributors.

Enter Top Contributors

Originally I planned to write a plugin, but in order to get the level of control I wanted, it would take a lot of time and effort. So this is going to be a manual process.

Each month, I will be highlighting in a post those who have really added to the conversation by offing their insights in the comments. I’ll pick a relevant post from the commenter’s blog, and link to it. I find about 60% of new blogs from my comments anyway. This will just be a way to share them with my readers.

I also plan to approach top comment contributors about doing a guest post. As I’ve said before, many of those commenting provide input that really adds to the post (and in some cases their insight is better).

This blog is really a conversation — an ongoing conversation about success, creativity, and personal freedom. I’m looking forward to sharing the conversation with other contributors, and helping readers follow the conversation back to their place.


  1. I think that is a great move for a time-crunched guy. I hate the minutiae of managing the little things of life involved in getting comment traffic, so I can’t imagine how annoying it is to micro-manage the comments to the point of trimming out the attention-getting gamers.

    To point out valuable contributors is more valuable for everyone involved. It allows you to mull over the comments all over again, AND gives positive feedback to your readers who make a concerted effort to add value to your content. *ahem /grin

    While I’m sad to see my name disappear from your sidebar because of the mis-use of your tool, I’m happier than that sadness that you will have more time to spend doing worthwhile things again.

    Good move, bravo for your stance.

  2. Jesse – Yeah there will always be those that try to take a shortcut rather than producing anything of value. Thing is, that never really works out too well. It had a good run though. Now I can pick and choose the people and stuff to highlight.

    Jean – The automated spam was caught (mostly), but the manual crap had to be manually blacklisted. It’s funny, your name was one of the ones the spammers were using and replacing with their link. Copied comment and all. Guess that means your comments were worth copying 🙂

  3. Tony, it’s a shame people try to game the system. But, your post today reminded me to start digging through your archives.

    I found your site a few weeks back, subscribed, and then fell back into my regular busy routine. Unfortunately, I was missing out on 98% of the nest by only following along with new posts!

    So, I dug in and my first shovel-full revealed your treasure, “The Myth of the Sleeping Baby and Other Fallacies for the Work at Home Parent.” I think I’ll be regularly digging through for more treasures.

    I’m sure you’ll have more useful tips for a stay-at-home dad who is working on making time for professional work.

  4. Aaaw, I liked my name appearing on your site.

    But I understand. I am amazed with what you get on a blog. I have been deleting the same comment that keeps appearing on my site. It is exactly the same text, except that every time it is from another site and email address. And it keeps hitting the same post. I am considering deleting the post except that it is one of the best I wrote so far.

    I am sorry that you have to do this manually. I hope it still ads value to your blog and your life. Otherwise it will become just a chore that you detest.

    I am lazy in looking for new blogs, so I am looking forward to see who you will feature.

  5. Hmm..
    So you have tried avoiding SPAM before I could plan that!! (just kiddding..)

    It is going to be interesting to get listed in the top contributors and then getting a chance to write as a Guest. So looks like a good idea.

    So thinking this as ‘nest’, I find commentators as ‘birds’.

    I would suggest (I can always do, you can’t catch hold of my keyboard) that it would be better to make it fortnightly instead of monthly, so that people get two chances. I realize that it is going to make you busier, but it’ll be good for the ‘Nest’ and ‘Birds’ (even external birds like me)

    It will attract more birds.

  6. I hate that! It’s too bad people and spambots have to ruin the good efforts of well-intentioned people! I dealt with spambots on one of my sites with over 200 spam newsletter sign ups EVERY DAY!

  7. i think spam will always be around

    we’ve to stay ahead of it always as it’s always evolving. thank god for akismet and spam karma eh

    anyway its a good initiative. i’ve always been a silent reader of yours

    about time i speak out since you want ‘quality’ comments


  8. This sounds like a great idea, albeit a bit time consuming. I’m sure you’ll let your readers know how it pans out. Good luck.

  9. That’s a great idea. I published a post yesterday linking to the sites of the people who commented in September, but I plan to refine the process in future months. I think linking to a post on the commentator’s blog is good, but getting some people to write guest posts is even better!

  10. Sounds like a good plan. A little more work on your part, but good ideas generally take more work. With the plugin, it’s like you were trying to have a machine do a humans job.

  11. Tony, interesting idea. I came across your post from problogger’s link, and I think I’ll subscribe – you seem to have some insightful ideas that would be worth reading about in the future.

  12. excellent post, it’s true that people abuse it to gain the extra back link , it would be cool if there was that plug in

  13. This sure sounds like a great plan. I too had to take down the Top Commentators after a while but I have yet to replace it. The Top Contributors sounds like something I would try out as well.

  14. Excellent idea. Look forward to watching this space as I enjoy your blogs. Yes what an amazing conversation it can become sometimes. Out with spam and in with real meat !

  15. Like Chris said, it sounds like it could be some extra work… but probably well worth it.

    I haven’t noticed my spam levels increasing, but I could swear there are comments being made just to get higher on the list. That alone has made me want to chuck it all.

    In fact, I think I will.

    Thanks, Tony.

  16. I’ve just released a version of top commentators, I call it top commentators 2.0, that takes these and SEO issues into consideration.

    Just thought I’d throw it out there as another option worth looking into.


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