The debate about comments on news sites continues to generate, … er, comment and momentum is building to somehow put personal reputation back behind the words.
The latest piece I’ve seen is Neil Swidey’s piece on Boston.com, which takes a snapshot of the current landscape, but also takes a close-up of several Boston.com commenters. Swidey notes he wasn’t able to talk to several others he had wanted to interview, writing:
But here are the people I didn’t hear back from: the screamers, troublemakers, and trolls (Internet slang for people behind inflammatory posts). Not a single one. The loudest, most aggressive voices grew mum when asked to explain themselves, to engage in an actual discussion. The trolls appear to prize their anonymity more than anyone else.
Rob Curley of the LasVegasSun.com highlighted to a group visiting his offices from E.W. Scripps last week that Curley’s group is experimenting with — among other things — improving comments by requiring users who want to comment on stories in the site’s politics section to login through Facebook. Here is an example story.
A note above the comment area says:
In an effort to further elevate the dialogue on our stories, we will be — for at least a short time — requiring readers to log in with their Facebook accounts to leave comments on politics stories on lasvegassun.com. We hope and believe that this accountability will cut down on the meanness and name calling that occurs when commenters are granted anonymity. We still hope readers will voice their opinions — whatever they may be — but we want to make sure they take responsibility for them, as well.
The move amounts to requiring real names for comments on certain types of stories and may in some cases expose not only the user’s real name, but their phone number or e-mail address or other personally identifiable information depending on the user’s Facebook privacy settings.
Here is a collection of recent pieces on story comments from a delicious list I maintain.
- Inside the mind of the anonymous online poster – The Boston Globe
- Yes, Comments Can Get Noisy, But We Like Them Anyway
- A note about story comments | theleafchronicle.com | The Leaf Chronicle
- Dave Lucas: How to Manage Offensive Blog Comments?
- Should anonymous comments be allowed in an online community?
- Are Anonymous Comments Evil? | Techdirt
- Legal Briefing: Will Your Anonymous Online Comment Remain Anonymous? – DailyFinance
- Reader comments: It’s time to make â€˜em civil: SteveOuting.com
- Shane Richmond: The value of reader comments to online newspapers | Journalism.co.uk Editors’ Blog
- RCFP: Louisiana politician sues online commenters for defamation
- News site adjust approaches to user comments – Shaping the Future of the Newspaper Blog
- New site comment system hoping to diversify the views around news
- The Huffington Post Starts To Give Out Badges To Readers
- Crovitz: Is Internet Civility an Oxymoron? – WSJ.com
- Ignore user: New web tool lets readers block other kinds of tools — annoying commenters – Denver News – The Latest Word
- Comment Innovation: An Open Door of Startup Opportunity? – ReadWriteStart
- Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard » Blog Archive » Newspaper comments: Forget anonymity! The problem is management
- Your comments are starting to stink (moderate â€˜em!): SteveOuting.com
- Judge Who Was Revealed As Anonymous Commenter Sues Newspaper For $50 Million | Techdirt
- The Real Problem With Internet Comments Isn’t Anonymity | Techdirt
- Tough love: Gawker finds making it harder for comments to be seen leads to more (and better) comments » Nieman Journalism Lab
- News Sites Rethink Anonymous Online Comments – NYTimes.com
- Change of Subject: Pseudonymity can battle the scourge of comment anonymity
- The why and how of a real names policy on comments | Howard Owens
- If you can’t manage comments well, don’t offer comments at all