Image of Steve Outing
Steve Outing offers a hybrid approach to the real names vs anonymity debate in reader comments on news sites.
Here is his suggestion:
- Require registration for anyone who wishes to comment, including entering their real name.
- Use real names as user IDs — no self-chosen nicknames allowed — so that real people are standing behind their words; that will cut out most of the abusive and garbage comments. (Yes, of course, some people will easily get around that with a fake “real name.” But if the majority comply, you’ll have less incivility entering the comment stream, and people who don’t comment now because of the ugly tone of the discussion threads may return.)
- Allow a registered user to create a comment that is listed as “anonymous,” but such comments must go through a moderator for approval; no instant posts.
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