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Leaving a Comment? That'll Be 99 Cents, and Your Name

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the slashdot-ai-ponders-this-idea dept.

Social Networks 377

netbuzz writes "Anxious to lift a ban on comments brought about by incessant trolling and anonymous slander, a Massachusetts newspaper has begun requiring two things of online readers who want to leave their thoughts on stories: a one-time fee of 99 cents and a willingness to use their real names. Says the publisher: 'This is a necessary step, in my opinion, if The Attleboro (MA) Sun Chronicle is going to continue to provide a forum for comments on our websites.'"

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377 comments

Irony (5, Funny)

GruntboyX (753706) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917456)

I guess speech is no longer free.

Re:Irony (4, Funny)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917476)

but it is still free as in speech! :)

Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917544)

Because it worked so well when K5 [kuro5hin.org] did it

Re:Irony (1)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917902)

I'm okay with this. This has no bearing on free speech because the comments are going on a private website.

However, I think 99 cents is a little excessive. I think 10 cents would be plenty; I don't think that most trollers would be interested in spending even that much on a regular basis.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917534)

Speech is still free, you just have to chip in on the soapbox.

Re:Irony (5, Insightful)

Mashhaster (1396287) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917552)

The first amendment to the constitution doesn't obligate a newspaper to print any anonymous inane bullshit one may send in. I don't see how this is much different, paywall aside.

Re:Irony (4, Funny)

HycoWhit (833923) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917590)

At .99 cents--its considered to be Value Speech! For a few bucks more they will throw in fries and a drink.

Re:Irony (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32918158)

.99 cents

This reminds me of an incident some person had with Verizon concerning data rate costs...

Good Idea (1, Informative)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917464)

Requiring real names is a great idea. There is a reason that newspapers have generally confirmed the identities of people who write letters to the editor before publishing those letters. The same should be done for on-line comments. The 99 cent fee, however, seems silly.

Re:Good Idea (4, Funny)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917490)

Call it a hunch but I don't think your last name is squid or quid.

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917722)

duhhh. It is quid0.

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917740)

Call it a hunch but I don't think your last name is squid or quid.

Duh! It's squid0.

Re:Good Idea (4, Funny)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917986)

Correct, it's "squid0". Now shut up and be glad it's not "Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;--".

Re:Good Idea (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918096)

But he has a point. Part of me would like to see ACs banned on Slashdot. But then I think that sometimes people could want to post something without it being tied to their name. Maybe because of work.
What I would like see is for you to be required to have an account on Slashdot and have the option to post as an AC but still have it count on your Karma.
It would probably reduce the really bad posts by %5 at max.

But I have got to be honest. Have any of you ever read the comments on most newspaper sites? How about on CNN.
On average the posts on Slashdot are far more intelligent and good mannered than what I see on most News sites!
Frankly it isn't a good state of affairs when Slashdot is a bastion of good manners!

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917512)

I think that the fee is great. That is why I am requiring them to send me one dollar before reading what they print. Inflation sucks, but I really do not want a pocket full of pennies.

Re:Good Idea (1)

cyberoidx (1826932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917536)

RealID / Blizzard disagrees.

Re:Good Idea (1)

HycoWhit (833923) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917610)

Well Blizzard thought it was great idea until the family of life of Activision's CEO was plastered all over a few game news sites.

Re:Good Idea (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918100)

Considering that Battle.net 2.0 is pretty much Activision's idea, I expect that Real ID and the real names with it are Activision's idea.

Re:Good Idea (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917578)

Requiring real names is a great idea.

Whether or not it's a "great idea" it's the newspaper's right as a private business to require whatever they want for someone to post comments on the site. It might not be the best way to encourage comments, but if you look at the comment section of the Washington Post or other newspaper, there is so much spam and garbage that there ought to be a requirement of real name.

Also, a one-time membership fee of 99 cents does not seem unreasonable for a city's daily newspaper. Or maybe just allow subscribers to comment.

Re:Good Idea (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917582)

The 99 cent fee sounds like 1. An excuse to charge the credit card presented as ID, 2. A way to make back the credit card fees and cost of having a person review the transaction.

Re:Good Idea (2, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917716)

Agreed, and although it probably isn't much of a problem for such a small newspaper/site it's also a great way to discourage spammers. There are a lot of forums online where i wouldn't mind paying a one time 99 cent fee to sign up if it meant that the continuously regenerated spammer accounts would go away. (I'd rather pass on the "real name required" bit though =)

Re:Good Idea (5, Informative)

cpghost (719344) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917592)

The 99 cent one-time fee is a great way to verify user identity by using the banking / credit-card system.

Re:Good Idea (2)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917728)

Someone give this man a cigar. He's divined the actual purpose of the fee. The rest of you, who think that it's $0.99 per comment, you fail reading comprehension.

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32918196)

No, authorizing against the card (not charging) would be a good way to verify user identity. Charging 99 cents is a way to make moneez that happens to verify identity.

Re:Good Idea (1)

MoriT (1747802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917626)

I suspect the dollar will do far more to dissuade trolls than real names will, though it also means they can probably post the story "poor people all lazy, undeserving" and not get anyone disagreeing.

To be fair, I'd never post with my real name (and don't comment on the Pragmatic Bookshelf, for example because it uses real names), but I have a unique name (no, really, hyphenated last names from two disparate cultures guarantees everyone with my surname is immediate family) and work in a tech-savvy profession. People have been writing stupid letters to the editor for generations using their real names.

Re:Good Idea (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917630)

The 99 cent fee provides credit card verification that you are "Joe Smith". If you claimed to be "Plenty Galore" then it would not match and a red flag would fly-up.

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917868)

If the pseudonym "Publius" was good enough for Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay while writing the series of essays published in the Independent Journal that would later become the Federalist Papers, then RampantFlappingMonkey[T|ts] is good enough for me god damnit! Who are you to say otherwise?!

hello! (5, Insightful)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917466)

posting here is still free

Re:hello! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917896)

If it wasn't, 95% of the posters here wouldn't post (I sure as hell wouldn't), and /. likely wouldn't even exist.

Thankfully the newspaper is relying on dead trees to make money.

Charging money to post on an internet site is one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard of. I can see why they are doing it (Verifying identity using the CC/banking systems) but that doesn't mean its not a stupid idea. I would never, ever, pay any amount of actual money (And, IMHO, anyone that would has a mental defect and has no idea the value of money) to be allowed the privilege of commenting on news stories. Why the fuck would I pay for that when there are so many free options out there its mind boggling?

Even still, if everyone required money before allowing posting rights, I still wouldn't pay. The idea is ridiculous.

Dept of Troll Prevention.... (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917480)

Slashdot has for a long time had a way of filtering the trolls out, why can't a newspaper have their own scheme to do so?

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (0, Flamebait)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917616)

Slashdot's method isn't working: the site is infested with trolls and spammers and always has been. That's a perfect example of why the system doesn't work.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917720)

Funny that. I don't see any trolls when I read the comments. Maybe you want to adjust your viewing threshold?

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917732)

Strange... I havent seen many trolls or spam.
Why is that?

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917738)

But Slashdot makes it easy to ignore said trolls.

Speaking of which, have you visited http://goatse.fr/ [goatse.fr] lately?

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917794)

But Slashdot makes it easy to ignore said trolls.

Speaking of which, have you visited http://goatse.fr/ [goatse.fr] lately?

If only I had paid the 0.99 cents I could have saved my eyes! The horror, the horror.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917772)

You're either an idiot, or this is your first visit to the interwebs. Slashdot's moderation system is one of the best on the web. The fact that I'll be modded down for flamebait and invisible in a few short minutes is proof of that.

(don't let this get modded up or else my point will be moot)

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917670)

Slashdot's system relies on its huge popularity.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (4, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918014)

People often times end up being modded -1 I disagree. Some of the most insightful comments around here end up categorized as funny, flamebait or troll. Mostly because a lot of the people with mod points are mindless morons that seem more interested in suppressing speech than encouraging it. Not sure whether I'll get modded Troll, Flamebait, Insightful or Interesting, the suspense is almost palpable.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917676)

1) Time - It takes time to moderate forums
2) Money - Usually, you have to pay a trusted associate to moderate your forums (or build trust like /.)
3) PR - Filtering comments becomes a grey area, where one bad choice can heap on bad PR for a company
4) This IS a scheme to do just that, or let people J&SB them into being less stupid
5) Listen to Yourself [xkcd.com]

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (5, Insightful)

cyber0ne (640846) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917698)

Slashdot doesn't filter them out very effectively, it's forever plagued by them. What it does have is ways for knowledgeable users (it's entire userbase) to reduce the noise and bring out the signal, all the while knowing full well what trolls are and how to ignore them. A local newspaper has a much smaller and much less savvy audience and needs to actually filter it out somehow, which can be exceedingly difficult if even possible at all.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (4, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917714)

Slashdot has for a long time had a way of filtering the trolls out,

What system would that be, homeslice? The moderation only works on posts that are of the generic-troll or meme-troll variety -- like "HOT GRITS" or "OBAMA is a N1&&3r" or somesuch. When trolls troll from a point of view, then it becomes much more subjective. Meta-moderation is very much a crapshoot and not evenly applied.

Obviously slashdot has its own cultural norms and when you come here you simply have to be aware that there's going to be some verbal abuse. A newspaper, on the other hand, doesn't really want that and doesn't want to dedicate its services and infrastructure to hosting shouting matches. The draw for a newspaper is the story, not the argument itself; this is where a newspaper and a forum are different. Any conversation on the article should facilitate understanding, perspectives, and critique of the article, and not be a sort of vanity contest.

Boston.com did a very interesting article recently on the average anonymous poster [boston.com]. And to be honest, I don't see why these people spout off about half the crap they do. They just want attention, and it isn't a newspapers job to host vanity projects.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (1)

putch (469506) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917944)

A newspaper, on the other hand, doesn't really want that and doesn't want to dedicate its services and infrastructure to hosting shouting matches.

uh...have you seen any of the opinion pages of the major papers? but, all kidding aside you're right. but at the same time so many of these outlets (especially smaller ones) have simple flat comments. even a moderately advanced system (with threads and some kind of reputation based promotion) would help solve a very large portion of the comment problems.

but charging a one time $1 fee isn't that bad of an idea.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917734)

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Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917768)

"Slashdot has for a long time had a way of filtering the trolls out, why can't a newspaper have their own scheme to do so?"

Eh, probably a software patent issue.

Re:Dept of Troll Prevention.... (4, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918076)

Of course, "troll" is in the eye of the beholder. Slashdot's system enforces a monoculture of thought as restrictive as any I have seen on the internet. Now maybe that what people want and it's moderately democratic in the way it is done, but to claim it's a bastion of free speech and acceptance of varying opinions and perspective is a huge misrepresentation.

The $5 fee at MetaFilter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917506)

Seems to keep out some of the jerks. Maybe a dollar per comment would be better, though.

too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917508)

i will not respond...i will not respond...i will not respond...i will not respond... it'll cost me last of my money.

ofcourse when i do it as an "Anonymous Coward" where will they send the bill? HA!

THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917528)

This is a good thing for all concerned !!

Like toll roads, trams, buses, and whore houses, you have to pay to get it. If you want free, try the shelters.

Yours
Will Soon Be Mine
Thanks For Reading

Hmmm (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917542)

Someone is taking the phrase "Money talks" a bit too literally, huh.

Although, I've always wanted every time someone says "that's my 2 cents", that he's charged 2 real cents.

if its a small town paper (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917548)

you aren't dealing with sophisticated tor and proxy users and ip spoofing, you're dealing with the local technically barely literate cranks. so just enforce ip bans. or even cookies. these guys are sitting at home on one computer, not even in a coffee shop. and you're probably only dealing with 12-24 committed griefers only, so its not an endless problem

finally, i was always a fan of the rubber room (there may be a better term for this technique):

once you've flagged the committed griefer, make it so his comments only appear to him. oftentimes these hacks will comment freely and continually for months on end, completely oblivious to the fact that no one is reading their comments except themselves

Re:if its a small town paper (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917678)

until someone links their article to stumbleupon or god help them 4chan.

so geolocate the commentors' ip address (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917788)

if they aren't in eastern MA or RI, deny them the ability to comment

yes, the attleboro expat in san francisco will be severely saddened at being unable to comment on a story from back home

but that sounds like a fair trade off for effectively blocking a stumbleupon or 4chan trollpocalypse

Re:so geolocate the commentors' ip address (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918036)

You don't think that 4chan would be able to spoof a local IP address and then bury the whole site in 15 feet of troll shit? Seriously, I think you underestimate their abilities.

Re:if its a small town paper (4, Informative)

SocialEngineer (673690) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917882)

(I'm the Systems Manager for a local newspaper, and also had to deal with administration of local forums) Even in my smallish town, the trolls are quite able to get around IP bans and more (many are still on dialup, but we have had some utilize proxy services, or SOCKS proxies - I knew I shouldn't have written that guide a few years back :P). Beyond that, we also get trolls who aren't even living in the area anymore.

As far as the rubber room, while it's a good idea, many papers don't have staff capable of developing systems like that, and are using CMSes not developed in-house. Hell, many small papers don't even HAVE a "web guy/gal" to manage the site. Still, it is feasible that it would function well once implemented.

Re:if its a small town paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917940)

you aren't dealing with sophisticated tor and proxy users and ip spoofing, you're dealing with the local technically barely literate cranks. so just enforce ip bans. or even cookies. these guys are sitting at home on one computer, not even in a coffee shop. and you're probably only dealing with 12-24 committed griefers only, so its not an endless problem

It's an endless problem when I get banned from wikipedia/4chan/anywhere else because of an IP ban. I don't know of any ISPs in this country (Ireland, so a quite well off country) which will give static, public IPs to home users. Best case scenario you get an IP that changes every few hours, but in my case I have the same IP as tons of other people, so all it takes is one troll and I can't edit wikipedia.

That's too bad... (4, Funny)

Pollux (102520) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917550)

and a willingness to use their real names.

Somewhere in this country, there's a Hugh Jass who feels silenced.

Middle initial (3, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917658)

Somewhere in this country, there's a Hugh Jass who feels silenced.

That's what a middle initial is for, unless someone's name is already Hugh Gerald Rection.

It's not so easy (1)

librarybob (1043806) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917602)

One issue that I've seldom seen mentioned is that those who often know the most about public issues (the directors of various public institutions) can seldom use their real names because they necessarily report to political or quasi-political bodies. It would be professional suicide.

Re:It's not so easy (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917654)

Because they are going to be supplying information on the website of a small town paper that 99.9% of the world has never heard of until today?

Re:It's not so easy (2, Insightful)

luckyXIII (698285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918034)

I doubt he's talking about comments from the Secretary-General of the UN or the head of the IMF. It would probably be of concern to local officials, though. You know, the ones that would most likely be reading the paper and commenting on its articles. 100% of that town's population has heard of that paper.

Not only them (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918068)

Like many people on Slashdot, I have a day job where I'm known to a number of our customers. Sometimes I want to pass out some information that favours one of them but not another (e.g. product comparisons.) The wonder of Google means that I can't even do that on the website of our small-town paper using my real name.

Stolen Cards (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917606)

Forget ordering laptops and flat screen tvs with all those stolen credit cards; I'm gonna brew me up an Attleboro Shitstorm.

Chaos chaos chaos (1)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917664)

chaos everywhere! How do we control it? (light bulb) .... 99 cents at a time. (grin)

Two Week Later:
Why have the online comments drop... oh yeah...

(Dr. Chaos & his side-kick Over-Reaction Boy strike again)

real name (1)

naeone (1430095) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917766)

so when they say 'real name' they mean , string that matches our interpretation of a real name, 'nae intention' normally passes that weak test

Re:real name (2, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918090)

No, when they say 'real name' they mean 'name that matches the one on the credit card that was charged $.99'.

Personal responsibility (1, Insightful)

citking (551907) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917790)

My local newspaper site, madison.com [madison.com], is pretty new to comments. They disable them on crime stories I've noticed but anything doing with politics, the proposed high-speed rail service between Madison and Milwaukee, or state workers will attract trolls by the dozen. It makes reading the news stories like taking a walk through Craigslist's Rants and Raves section. When it turns to /b/ I'll just quit reading I suppose.

The concept of paying to comment seems a little too far though. That said, I'm all for having to publish your real name, address, phone number, and a JPEG when leaving a comment on a news site. Anonymity breeds stupidity and the best way to combat trolls is to force them to stand by their comments. Slashdot's system works, and I've seen other half-assed attempts to mimic it, but in the end people just need to be held responsible for their own actions.

In fact, I'll start. My name is Jay and yes, I've trolled before. I try very, very hard not to do it now and I've said things in online forums that'd I'd never say to someone's face. I'd promise not to do it again but the dumb republicans are still out there and need to be told what's what.

Re:Personal responsibility (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918174)

I have to ask this. The stories about hi-speed rail. Are the trolls you are speaking of really trolls or people that you disagree with?
An example of a troll is someone that says this is another of Obama's communist plans.
Some one saying that it will be a waste of money is an honest disagreement.

This will impose a limit political speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32917836)

Ben Franklin didn't use his own name when using the newspaper as a forum. He wrote as Silence Dogood http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silence_Dogood [wikipedia]

Re:This will impose a limit political speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32918186)

BABA BooEY! BABA BooEY!

-- Silence Dogood

Of course they have the Right to do this, but ... (3, Interesting)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917848)

Naturally, the newspaper in question has a right to do this, and especially if they are a small paper they may feel they don't have the resources available to consistently moderate user comments. Traditionally, newspapers confirmed the identity of people who wrote letters to the editor - which also is helpful in eliminating spoofing.

However, there is certainly a downside. Sometimes, the things that most need to be said require anonymity. When the prevailing dogma - whether secular or religious - precludes the truth, those who wish to speak the truth must take steps to protect themselves. Slashdot has found a pretty good way of reducing the impact of trolls while both preserving anonymity and allowing the use of pseudonyms that allow regular posters to develop a good reputation without revealing their true identity.

I hope and expect that most online media will follow Slashdot's example, rather than the example of the Sun Chronicle.

Fair enough (3, Informative)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917858)

If you want to use the newspaper's soapbox, you have to play by their rules.

If you want to post anonymously and for free (although this is a one-time ninety-nine cent fee, so it doesn't exactly break the bank) then there are lots of venues in which to do so.

Different parts of the internet offer different ways to screen out trolls, with varying degrees of success and with varying costs and benefits. Some newspapers impose lengthy delays (and incur significant costs to themselves) on comment posting to allow for their own moderators to screen comments. Slashdot has a moderation system which is generally good at elevating comments supportive of our constituency's preferred varieties of groupthink, but which may handle less-popular viewpoints less well (even when expressed cogently, politely, and coherently, such views face a toss-up between up- and down-moderation), and which also allows well-written posts that don't appear within an hour or two of the story to disappear from the radar of most readers.

And this isn't exactly a new concept for newspapers. Are there any serious newspapers with appreciable circulation numbers that allow anonymous letters to the editor in their print editions?

See also: The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com]. Maybe this is the right solution to the GIFT problem for this particular institution. I look forward to seeing if this is effective in improving signal-to-noise.

Kiss another paper goodbye. (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917894)

What with the recent spate of popular reading devices, (iPad and the followers soon to come), not having keyboards in the first place, one almost gets the impression that these papers want people to shut up and listen. And then shut up some more.

So there's three levels at work here. On the top level we have the primary motivation for this. . .

"Hey, if we publicize contentious issues which are designed to engage people on an emotional level, then we can expect to see a fuck-ton of cash come our way as people debate endless infernal issues! Hey! What stories do we have in the slush pile on the abortion issue? What a great way to monetize our web presence and save this sinking ship!"

On the next level down, we have a nice bias against exploited humans: Opinions don't count without good credit. And good credit doesn't happen if one is not plugged tightly into the human industrial exploitation market. And anyway, who wants a bunch of slaves complaining about their lives while you're trying to read the morning news? That's just gaudy!

But on the final level, where I bet most of the people working at the paper are not aware of what is actually happening. . . This becomes a great way to astroturf the corporate/government spin on relevant news stories into place while keeping barriers high against informed dissenters. If you really want to prevent people from speaking out, you just suspend their credit and 'poof' they have no voice. And the fact that they cannot be anonymous is a great incentive for them to keep their mouths shut. Take a look at the way the various papers in Toronto responded to the G20 protest issues and the way the comments were handled there.

Charming. Kiss another paper goodbye.

-FL

It's worth a try... (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917908)

It cannot be denied that the discourse will certainly be more civil with real names. I suspect the fee is not a money-raiser; it's so it can be checked that the name is real, by virtue of it matching a valid credit card.

Where does that leave people that would rather remain anonymous so they can express unpopular views? In a hard place. OTOH, it is quite routine that Letters to the Editor are written with real names.

SirWired

I'm partially in favor (4, Insightful)

dustin_0099 (877013) | more than 3 years ago | (#32917980)

I don't want future employers googling me for my political views, so I want to use a pseudonym, but I'd be happy to give them my full name to activate the account.

Damn I left a comment saying (1)

bigfootchick (1855082) | more than 3 years ago | (#32918074)

Damn I left a comment saying that I'm actually an American when I'm actually from Ivory Coast.

Now that stupid newspaper has revealed my real identity. :(

==Prince Blessed Desiree, Ivory Coast posted on 2010-07-15

Inflation rears its ugly head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32918166)

Whatever happened to "a penny for your thoughts"? Damn inflation...

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