Close Or Leave Comments Open On Old Posts?

As laid out by, the question is simple. Should you close comments on older blog posts? While their article goes into specific reasons as to why or why not, I’ve personally been a fan of closing comments on articles that are 180 days old. I think the bulk of the conversation that is going to take place on any particular post will be within 7 days of it being published. Therefor, I don’t feel the need to have the form open if the conversation is over with. Another major reason I opt to go this route is spam. Back when I used to write for other websites, I noticed that the majority of their spam comments were for articles buried deep within their archives. Every now and then, a legitimate comment would show up but that was the exception rather than the rule. As a site administrator, closed comments on older articles also provides an easier administrative role. Instead of wading through pages of comments caught within the Akismet queue to check for false positives, I normally have only a page or two at the most.

With that said, as a site administrator, how do you have your comments configured and why did you chose that configuration?


21 responses to “Close Or Leave Comments Open On Old Posts?”

  1. It really depends on the content of your site. If you’re truly writing timeless pieces (i.e. tutorials), then please leave comments open. The content is relevant today, 180 days from now, and maybe even 2 years from now. If you’re curating your content and keeping it up-to-date, leaving comments open on old posts is even more important.

    But if you’re running a news site and the content (and conversation) is outdated after a period of time, there’s no harm in closing comments.

    In the end, there’s no hard-and-fast rule that will fit for all sites.

  2. I leave my comments open, despite the spam concerns, because my most-commented articles are older ones. Most of my traffic is usual the “long tail” variety, coming from search engines and later links than anything during the initial publication.

  3. Yeah. It completely depends on the nature of the content on your site. I had a site where I closed the comments after 180 days until I started getting emails from folks asking why they couldn’t comment on the site. Turns out on that site there is a good amount of conversation on older posts.

  4. I don’t particularly close comments on my older blog posts because I believe everyone should be given a chance to have his say. Those who come to your site for the first time may find older posts that inspire them or which they don’t particularly understand. If the post comment is closed, these set of persons are robbed of the opportunity to air their views.
    The only thing I do is to delete comments that are vulgar, abusive, spamming, etc.

  5. Other than an apparent spam problem, which I’ve never had, it is ridiculous to even suggest closing comments. If you actually feel there is no need to leave the comments open, then delete your article.

  6. Like others already mentioned, I keep the comments open on articles that do not “expire”. On the other hand, if there is a particular tip that was written for WordPress version 2.8 (or any earlier versions), I have no reason to keep the comments open on that article.

  7. Recently I had a lot of spam comments that Akismet didn’t catch. Then I closed comments for posts older than 90 days – and my spam comment rate dropped from 300 per day to zero.

    I hate it, and I’ll write some logic captcha to re-open the older comments as soon as I find the time for that. But it works for now.

  8. when I first launched my website I left blocked all comments, However by some oversight I created a new page and left the comment link open, Since doing that I have started getting lots of comments for that page and therefore removed the block from the other pages. One questions ( I am new to this) How can I get the people commenting to leave their email addresses I am planning to start a newsletter and would like to start collecting email addresses Like this form leave a reply ( I only have the comment space showing not the slots for name, email, website)Thanks for your help

  9. I used to close comments on older posts as well, but then I read something somewhere that leaving them open could potentially bring more traffic. So I went in and opened them back up again and have left them that way ever since. But the spam is insane. I have hundred of pages of it, so maybe closing them again is a good idea. I’m to lazy to go looking for legit comments LOL

  10. Perhaps it’s a sign of not getting the kind of heavy-hitting traffic you apparently are getting on a daily basis, but I see no need to close comments on an arbitrary date-based basis, spam be damned.

    There are only a handful — less than five — of posts for which comments have been closed, and I only closed them because they were generating nothing BUT spam comments. As a general rule, however, I prefer to leave comments open, because you never know when a new spark of conversation left by someone who had the misfortune of not viewing your post within a 90-day window of its appearance might prompt a new addition to your online community, not to mention a topic for another new post.

    There’s something unfriendly to me about systematically closing down comments on a blog.

  11. I keep comments open for all posts but I have Akismet set to automatically delete spam comments on posts over a month old. This really eliminates a lot of the spam that I have to peruse through every few days or so. Instead of hundreds of spam comments every few days I’m down to between 20 to 30 without a false positive yet. Works for me anyway.

  12. Depends on content really. On my blog, I have comments from articles written over 2+ years ago, but granted, that is a technical tutorial so I get new readers all the time asking for help or clarification.

    For articles that don’t have much userbase, I just leave them alone and leave comments open. If a comment is real, I’ll catch it and not have it go to the spam box.

  13. Incedentally, I couldn’t help but notice that when I left a comment here earlier, it didn’t post, but rather said, “awaiting confirmation.”

    If you’re moderating comments — which most blogging experts say is a terrible idea when it comes to trying to foster a sense of real-time exchange — it seems like closing comments for older posts would be even LESS necessary. Doing both, to me, is definitely overkill.

  14. Finding comments closed tends to create a somewhat ‘adversarial’, vaguely ‘hostile’ atmosphere for some visitors. It’s not desirable, certainly, in & of itself.

    I frequently read old Posts, even seriously old. I am reading posts 4-6 yo, routinely, and posts that have been up a decade are by not means unknown. I don’t often comment on them myself, but I do often see others who have and are currently ‘chiming in’.

    Sometimes, due to context, someone comes back to ‘late’ commenters, saying; ‘Hey, the post is 2 (6) years old! It’s all done & over!’. Then you get a little round of ‘omg!’ and ‘lol!’.

    WordPress’ problem with comment-spam is WordPress’ problem. They own it, really. For the WordPress world to be all hands-on-hips & glaring & huffing & puffing about spam … hey, WP bought the model, built their whole gig around an obviously spam-vulnerable scheme … so really, WordPress (and those who jump on the bandwagon & buy into WP) need to kinda suck it up & go with the fact that this is the price of the game they chose to play … and not be pushing it off onto visitors to carry the burden & pay the price.

    Making the priority the Admin or staff convenience is not the best way to go … tho sometimes it has to be. If spam is too much of a hassle, that area may just need a bit more resources invested in it.

    It could for sure help, to have different spam-control methods on Posts of different ages. Keep current-topics wide-open, then after a week or 2 or a month, make the commenter jump through a little bit more of a proof-hoop, and finally after a few months or so, shift the burden of proof that one is a human more-fully to the visitor. We have the templates & CSS to support that. A plugin could probably be forthcoming.

    That way, you got the free-flowing action for current stuff, and more-effective spam-security for the old stuff … without slamming the door & shoving the bolt home.

    I believe there is an SEO benefit to having on-going commenting … and that optimally, the clever Admin will even find ways to actively encourage continuing input on posts. You realize, eh … this is substantially the explanation for the fact that I am reading *old posts* … and seeing comments still being made on them. The Engine is showing me the ‘active’ stuff, ahead of the shut-down archives. Hmm? :)

  15. @Freda – It’s a bad idea to accumulate email addresses for a newsletter from your comment form, because there may be people who would leave a comment on your blog but who would NOT wish to receive your newsletter. It’s much better to let THEM opt-in rather than you just opting them in without asking. Otherwise, you come off looking like a spammer yourself.

    My basic WordPress installation always asked for email addresses by default. Maybe it’s a setting, though, that got turned off on your blog? Check under “discussion” settings on your dashboard and make sure the box next to “Comment author must fill out name and email” is checked.

  16. I go through them about once a month and try to catch the spammy ones. I think half the value in blogs are the comments posted by real people.

  17. My Blog is relatively small with just under 800 posts at the moment. I like to think, however, that there is something relevant in all of my posts, and that they may still, for new readers, be of some interest. So the comments remain open. I can’t expect everyone to read my posts at the moment that I write them and know that many, coming to my Blog late in the day, will still find something which arouses their skills enough to make them put fingers to keyboard.

  18. We run a high volume site, with up to 18 posts per day by our writing team, and we close comments after several weeks, when posts are 20 or 30 pages back. Our old posts weren’t generating any legitimate comments at all, only spam and spammy trackbacks. Our traffic is too high to use Akismet without paying through the nose for it, and managing an active community is time consuming enough without going through all the trouble to delete the spam comments manually.

    If we could find a spam solution that worked without a bunch of false positives and cost lest than Akismet each month, we’d be all over it and leaving comments open, but it was a huge drain on all of us to deal with constant spam.

    I haven’t received a single complaint since we started closing comments on old posts, so it works for us.

  19. I’d say about 50% of the content on my blog is timeless – certainly the photographs are. I did have comments closed after about six months following advice I received from elsewhere. However, I had the same problem as previous commenters where legitimate readers complained because they were unable to leave replies on older material, so I reopened them. That has only resulted in a doubling of spam posts, but Akismet seems to be very efficient at identifying them, so its not a major chore to clear out the spam queue from time to time.

  20. I prefer to keep the comments open. However, if the number of comments already exceeds the acceptable limit specified, we can close it. For example, if the number of comments have already reached 100, then the comments will be closed.


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