Comments are what blog writers love. (Well, positive ones are, at least.) But people seem to worry about whether it’s OK to leave a comment; and others worry about privacy issues. So I thought I should say something about it.

In the case of this blog, the comment form includes boxes for an email address and a web link. These are however both optional, so you can be as anonymous if you want (with the exception that your IP address gets recorded).

Here’s what happens if you leave a comment:

For all comments

  • your IP address gets recorded and I can view it, but that’s pretty much all I can do. I don’t have any practical way of turning it into useful information such as what country you’re from. On the other hand, if lots of spam comments all arrive from the same IP address, I might block it in order to stop them. Or if I’m really curious as to whether two anonymous comments are from the same person, I might look to see whether the IP addresses match.

If you fill in an email address

  • I get to know your email address, but it isn’t published anywhere
  • the system will recognise you next time you leave a comment, meaning that if I approved the first one, the next one will go through automatically.

If you fill in a URL

  • when the comment is published, your name will link to the URL you gave. So people can click it to find out more about you, visit your blog or whatever.

If you’re a WordPress user, and logged in

  • details I get to see will depend on what settings you’ve made under (I think) My Profile and Personal Settings. If you have more than one account, check you’re logged in with the right one.