I used to make your e-mail address optional when commenting because I never liked giving out my e-mail address but I’m now making it required. I promise not to reveal it anywhere, or to spam you, and if you still don’t trust me feel free to use a fake one, even something humorous. The reason I’m doing this is because in WordPress, once I approve a user and e-mail address combination, that combo will be automatically approved from then on. It’s nice because the comments of regular visitors will show up right away instead of me having to moderate them every time.
The main reason behind this is that I’m trying to simplify my life so I don’t have to moderate as many comments. I’ve gotten nearly 23,000 comment spams since I started using Akismet (which is a fantastic plugin) and I’ve been receiving several hundred a day recently. Every once in a while a valid comment is flagged as spam, so I try to do a quick glance through the spam to check for valid comments. As you can imagine, reviewing a few hundred comments takes time. If I know that comments by regular visitors will be automatically approved, I may stop poring through the spam even if I accidentally delete a few valid ones along the way.
By the way, you can see the total spam comments blocked on the bottom right (in the sidebar) of the front page. It was at 22,992 last time I checked.