The Archive currently offers a few ways to control how other people interact with your works: you can choose to only allow comments from signed-in users, or you can make your work only accessible to signed-in users to begin with.
However, to counter cases of severe harrassment on the Archive (including abusive comments from throw-away accounts created to circumvent the anon restrictions), we are now introducing a way for creators to review any comments before they appear on their works.
(Please note that this feature is undergoing testing, and all screen shots are approximate.)
What this means for creators
Once the feature is deployed, creators will be able to turn on comment moderation for new or existing works in the Privacy section of the posting and editing form.
Enabling comment moderation on a work will prevent new comments from appearing publicly unless they are approved by the creator. If the creator has comment notification emails enabled, they can access and review individual comments directly using the links at the bottom of the email. Creators can also review all comments on a work by accessing the work and following the "Unreviewed Comments (#)" link in the work's navigation.
Each unreviewed comment will have options to Approve or Delete. Note: Abuse personnel will have access to this page, so you can alert them to harrassing comments via the abuse report form without having to approve the comments first.
Once approved, comments will be publicly available on the work. Approved comments cannot be unapproved, but they can be deleted. Comments posted by the work creator will be approved automatically.
Creators can also turn on comment moderation for multiple works at once with the mass editor, which can be accessed using "Edit Works" link on their dashboard.
What this means for commenters
The comment form will display a notice informing commenters if comment moderation is enabled on a given work.
Commenters will be able to enter their comment as normal. After the comment is submitted, a message will inform the commenter that the comment has been received and will not appear on the work until the creator approves it.
Commenters will receive email copies of their comments if they have that preference enabled. They will be able to access their comment using the "Go to the thread" link included the email.
More improvements to come
Our Abuse team works hard to clean up abusive comments when they are reported and to take action against users involved in harassment, but they are limited in what they can do, particularly against users who are willing to go to the trouble of creating throw-away accounts. This change will enable creators to control comments on their own works, preventing abusive comments from ever being seen.
We will be introducing some further features to help users and our Abuse team deal with harassment and spam: allowing users to reject unwanted gifts, making it possible for Abuse to delete all of an account's works at once (to more efficiently remove spam), allowing Abuse to mark works as spam/not spam, and improvements to the Report Abuse form.
We hope these features will help the Archive be a safer place for users to enjoy posting and consuming fanworks.