Over the weekend, our website was swamped with something called 'comment spam'. Like the unwanted stuff you get in your email, this spam is just as annoying and difficult to get rid of. The best solution this weekend has been to run comments from unregistered visitors through an approval queue. These 'anonymous' comments will be filtered for spam, then released onto the web a short time later.
This marks a small change in the way we're letting comments through on the website. We still want to provide a way for anyone to leave a comment, but need a way to prevent spammers from abusing the system. I had tried a couple of behind-the-scenes automatic spam filters and ip-blockers, but those didn't seem to work this weekend. As much as possible, we have tried to create an open forum where anyone with an opinion, or with more information about a particular story was able to add their thoughts. And as such, we will continue to let almost any comment related to the article or to another comment pass through our system un-edited. We're not here to play referee or umpire, picking and choosing which comments we like best and then approving them, rather, we'd ask simply that you consider your comments in light of the many people who will be reading them before you hit the 'submit' button. I rarely hit the 'delete' key as an administrator, and am provoked to do so only when I believe the comments are particularly unfair, uncivil, profanity laden, are filled with hate speech, or are completely unrelated to the topic at hand (like spam).
Being able to add comments anonymously, or under a pseudonym, has been a hallmark of the National Parks Traveler website from the beginning. That isn't about to change anytime soon, but please understand that if you choose to leave a comment without having registered first on the website, you may experience a delay in viewing your words published here.
If you believe you'll add a lot of comments to the website, you might consider creating an account. As a registered visitor, any comments you leave on the site will be published immediately, without delay.