WordPress Plugin Request: Shadow Ban Comments

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On occasion, I will think of a neat plugin that can be used for one of my websites that uses WordPress, and when I search for the idea, I usually find an existing plugin to use. Last week, I thought of a plugin idea, and I could not find one available, so I thought I would blog about the idea.

On websites like Reddit, they have what are called “shadow bans.” In short, a shadowban is a type of ban that the banned user isn’t aware of. The user can continue posting comments and links that appear to be public, but they are only visible to the user.

I thought it would be interesting if there was a WordPress shadow comment plugin that allowed publishers to make a comment visible to the commenter on future visits, but the comment would not be visible to anyone else. The reason is because sometimes people make incendiary comments on blogs and websites, and by not publishing the comment, the publisher could come under fire from the user. In the case of a domain blog, there are often spammy (unrelated sale) comments, and it’s annoying to see them and then have to explain why the comment was not approved.

If there was a shadow comment plugin available, the publisher could avoid confrontations with commenters whose comments are not appropriate or deemed spammy.

I don’t know much about WordPress plugins or how difficult they are to create and manage, and I don’t have an interest in spending the money to create a plugin of this nature built for my blog because I deal with this very infrequently. However, perhaps there is someone in that space who might like the idea and want to run with it.

Do you think this is a good idea and would you like to see it implemented on your favorite blogs?

15 COMMENTS

  1. Only works if you are logged into the account that you posted the comment from.

    You could try to do this using IP address, but if all the automated bots that post comments “see” them then they might continue to keep posting on your site and you’ll get bogged down with additional worthless bandwidth wasted.

    • Agree here.

      I’d probably use a cookie to track – the same way the comment form is pre-filled when I post comments within x days, but I think it could potentially lead to more spam comments.

  2. Elliot,

    You have displayed on many occasions that you are capable of handling all of the annoying or inappropriate commenters. And, the delete button is always available.

    It is not your style to deceive people.
    Why start now?

  3. I have had a couple of WP plugins developed by contractors in India for less than $70. Best place to find cheap developers are oDesk.com IMHO. The way it works is that you simply post a job describing what you need and chose the best contractor with the most qualifications, best feedback and reasonable bid. Now of course the more complex the plugin the more contractors will require. I think the fee that oDesk charges is around 10% of the salary, if I remember correctly.

  4. Hmmm… This is a great idea actually.
    I’ve developed a WordPress plugin that enables users to modify their previous comments based on a required stored cookie and IP. I’m sure it could be modified to suit your needs.

    I’ll think on this…

  5. You could also just add a filter on the awaiting moderation verbiage or just remove it all together. Since the comments are all formatted the same, only the verbiage lets the user know that their comment is still pending.

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