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Plugin Review: Autoclose

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February 1st, 2009
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Weekly Plugin Review, WordPress Plugins

The man, the myth, the legend, Ajay D’Souza not only brings you news of the latest WordPress plugins and themes to hit the community but he also has a few plugins under his belt. Today, I’ll be reviewing one of those plugins called Autoclose

Autoclose enables a granular approach to managing pingbacks/comments/trackbacks on both posts and pages. Some of the highlights that the plugin features:

  • Close Comments on posts/pages older than (number of days).
  • Close Pingbacks/Trackbacks on posts?
  • Close Pingbacks/Trackbacks on pages?
  • Close Pingbacks/Trackbacks on posts/pages older than (number of days).
  • The ability to configure when the plugin runs its configuration to detect if a comment/trackback/pingback need to be closed off.
  • Last but not least, Autoclose also provides a checkbox to delete post revisions.

So why would you want to use a plugin like this? For starters, based on my experience with blogging, the conversation on any particular blog post usually only lasts 24-72 hours after it has been published. Rarely do I see an onslaught of comments after a period of seven days have gone by. I know that here on WeblogToolsCollection.com, we receive comments on articles that were published around 2005! But in a normal scenario, you could probably get by with auto closing comments 30 days after the post was published.

A side benefit to auto closing the comment form on old blog posts is that it helps to combat spam. If you have ever configured the Akismet plugin, you may have noticed an additional option that enables the plugin to automatically disregard comments registered as spam on blog posts that are older than a month. This nifty feature has really limited the time I need to spend in my moderation queue as most of the spam comments I receive are for posts that are deep within my archive. Ajay’s Autoclose plugin conveniently takes this ability to close commenting on posts/pages to the next level.

And just in case you were wondering, the plugin works just fine on WordPress 2.7. If you’re already using the Autoclose plugin, leave us a comment and tell us how you’ve used it on your blog!

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Comments

  1. Neil (6 comments.) says:

    Isnt auto-close already built into wordpress 2.7 in the settings page?

    • Jeff Chandler (295 comments.) says:

      Why yes, yes it is. But this plugin also gives you the ability to set a timeframe for not only comments, but pingbacks and trackbacks as well. I’m also not sure if the one built into 2.7 is for both posts and pages or just posts.

      • Neil (6 comments.) says:

        yeah but if you close comments dont you close trackbacks too? dont they fit under the same umbrella? In terms of closing comments for pages, who has open comments on pages, and even if you did why would you want to set a time frame for them, page represents a permanent part of your blog/site, they never get old whereas posts do.

        • Jeff Chandler (295 comments.) says:

          I’d imagine that people who are using WordPress as a CMS and prefer pages over posts for some reason would have open comments on pages. As for the first question, I’m not sure and that is worthy of some experimentation.

        • Andrea_R (29 comments.) says:

          In my experience, I have a very old domain with a blog, and literally thousands of entries. I’ve turned off trackbacks completely, as the chance of a legit one coming through had gone down to somewhere in the range of 5% or less.

          I can still find out who linked to a particular post through the Incoming Links area on the dashboard.

          Closing comments on old entries is really a lifesaver. You rarely get legit comments on entries that old, and if a visitor sees the comments are closed, it’s another way they can tell the entry is old. (Yes, many people miss the date).

          On top of that, with closed comments, your spam plugins don’t have to work so hard, and neither does WordPress, lightening the load everywhere. I have seen entire sites nearly go down just because of the spam comment attempts.

        • Ajay (209 comments.) says:

          Hi Neil,

          Comments are differentiated from pings (pingbacks and trackbacks), as comments are left by people visiting your blog and pings are left when someone links to your blog.
          Hence, you may want to turn these off separately.

          Regarding pages, I have comments open on pages of my WordPress plugins, themes which allow visitors to leave feedback etc about these.

          And, like Andrea said above, with comments closed you can really bring down the load on spam plugins.

          From my experience, I’ve would need to mark a good portion of my comments which came on old posts as spam. There was never a legit comment.

          Again, of course, this remains a matter of choice. This plugin is not for you if you don’t like closing comments ever.

  2. Clarky (1 comments.) says:

    Great plugin, I think that I will use it, I really hate spam and the comment after seneral months is worthless, so close it is good for your blog.

    • ronny stalker (1 comments.) says:

      “the comment after several months is worthless” – i disagree.
      I think comments are just as much for the readers as for the author.

      I spose it all depends on the nature of the content. I tend to read techy blogs, stumbling on them from google and only comment when I feel the urge to vent a impassioned counter-argument or correction.

      long live user contributions.

      • Clarky (1 comments.) says:

        En, maybe you are right, but when I see a very long post, I won’t leave a comment on it, I don’t think that the blogger will answer me, that is my opionion only:)

  3. madalin (3 comments.) says:

    This is not a plugin for the not-so-daily bloggers. This is a plugin for blogs with at least 3000 visits / day. It’s usefull indeed, but not to the ordinary bloggers :)

    • Ajay (209 comments.) says:

      Actually, this one is written for anybody or everybody who wants to close comments on old posts automatically.

  4. Miroslav Glavic (27 comments.) says:

    I find that bloggers who say that comments are worthless…….really lazy human beings.
    I travel a lot and one of the bloggers I follow is ajay, wbtc, lorelle (we all know which one) and more. I spent two months in eastern europe and since their speeds were not the best (I wasn’t in a big city but a small village type town) then I had to give up on a few things. I came back home and I opened my RSS reader and had about 60 RSS messages articles to read. I actively comment if I have something to say. Some of those articles I commented were 2 months old. I live in Canada and I have freedom of expression. Many countries I visited have so many websites that are blocked. Hence why I couldn’t comment.
    I tend to take up to a month to comment on events/conferences I attend. First week of Dec. 09 was still showing comments on WordCamp Toronto 2008 (Oct. 08).

    I am sure WBTC get a lot of spam due to it’s popularity. The more out there you are, the more “feedback” you will get. You will get both good and bad, ying and yang. You can’t get the ying without some yang and vice-versa.

    Stop being lazy, maintain your website.

  5. Dim from FreeTrafficSystem.com (1 comments.) says:

    Though the idea of getting into control of trackbacks is great, I think people who close pingbacks are missing one thing.

    I have lots of clients who build backlinks from blogs, blog posts.

    And trackbacks (with this strategy) are a great tool to see how many backlinks you have (because Google will never show you how much inlinks you have to your site – they will show just a portion with their link: search operator).

    Now, of course, I do not say to publish these trackbacks as comments to your post, because then you give away your backlink to another site, and many people try to spam this.

    But trackbacks as a tool to check inlinks is great and complete switching off is not the best option.

  6. Schnappi (1 comments.) says:

    I’d love to see a plugin that lets you set certain articles on “needed moderation”.
    Closing comments seems a bit harsh to me.



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