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Reuters Ends Anonymous Comments

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the someone-is-wrong-on-the-internet dept.

Privacy 159

eldavojohn writes "In an effort to retain civility, it appears that Thompson Reuters has ended anonymous web comments. You may recall the defense of the anonymous commenter, but you need look no further than Reuters' own Dean Wright (Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards of Reuters) for two lengthy editorials arguing against anonymity online. After reading his complaints against anonymous readers, it almost seems like they need a moderation system to decide what's worth reading and what's trash."

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159 comments

Haha (5, Funny)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33839918)

Like comment moderation would ever work

Re:Haha (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33839936)

$hit.

That comment creates an endless loop.

Re:Haha (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33839944)

Who the fuck are you?

MOD PARENT DOWN (4, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#33839976)

you knew it was coming....

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (2, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840478)

Don't forget all the additional comments to the effect of: "The mods are on crack" or "I've got karma to burn" and other obvious filler material. It only works on /. because no one tries to pretend that this is a civil place. News sites have editors that are many times more informed than their average reader. On /., this is obviously NOT the case. Here, the inmates running the asylum are nuttier than the inmates reading the articles.

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840534)

Here, the inmates running the asylum are nuttier than the inmates reading the articles.

I am not running this asylum, and HOW DARE you accuse me of reading the articles?!?!

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840582)

I stopped running asylums when they offered me the world. Now kneel, slave!

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (3, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840964)

News sites have editors that are many times more informed than their average reader.

Haven't met many news site editors, have you? Knowledge of Strunk and White doesn't translate into an infallable understanding of world or even local politics.

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841160)

News sites have editors that are many times more informed than their average reader.

Well, Reuters photo editors certainly do suck.

http://zombietime.com/reuters_photo_fraud/ [zombietime.com]

You are one stupid motherfucker motherfucker (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840058)

And I know because I am one motherfucker

Show me you read and understood this by modding me

Re:You are one stupid motherfucker motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840364)

As soon as my wife had our first child, I too was a motherfucker.

Re:You are one stupid motherfucker motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840572)

Sorry, but clipping your finger-nails doesn't count as your "wife" having "children."

Re:You are one stupid motherfucker motherfucker (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840858)

Don't listen to him, babies. Daddy loves you all.

Re:Haha (5, Insightful)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840134)

A little comment moderation does go a long way, though. Reading the comments on articles on New York Times' web site, the only real moderation is that readers can "like" certain comments. You can then open the "Readers' Recommendations" tag to read comments rated by order of the number liked. This tends to make the comments much faster to read, putting the more useful ones near the top. It's not as robust a system as you get on Slashdot, but it's far and away better than comments systems that just sort comments by time and leave reading to pick through scores of trolls looking for any sign of intelligent life.

Re:Haha (5, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840424)

Slashdot's system has plenty of room for abuse.

There are people who maintain a dozen or more Slashdot accounts in order to play the 'mod point lottery' more often and get around the prohibition on modding and commenting on the same topic.

There are people who regularly abuse the theory of downmodding, using "flamebait" or "troll" to replace "disagree." Do it fast enough, and insightful comments get buried to -1 just because someone disagreed with it or decided it was politically or philosophically something they wanted to bury.

There are people who get their hands on mod points and go into histories, applying every single mod point as a negative to any old post just to ding down their max on someone's karma.

If they got rid of "troll" and "Flamebait" and simply raised the upmod ceiling to 15 or so, the system would work better. More room for upmodding, more room for posts to rise to the surface, no worries about the "early bury and never recover" problem.

Re:Haha (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840496)

How would you then bury the troll posts? Without some kind of downward modding then the troll posts are all on the same level as the unmodded posts and the majority of all posts never get any modding.

Re:Haha (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840750)

Duh. You make the unmodded posts start at 2!

Re:Haha (0)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840822)

I think the problem is too much power given to a single mod to bury a post, especially in case of anonymous posts which start from 0 anyway. If you read at -1 you will find plenty of interesting posts that are in no way trolls or flamebaits but were modded as such because just one or two mods disagreed with them, and once its at -1 most readers and mods don't see it anymore.

Leave modding up as it is but make it a bit more difficult to mod down to below the default threshold. For example make it so that a -1 mod requires agreement of at least several more readers (including non-mods) before it actually lowers the score. In case of obvious trolls, spam, etc this will still happen fairly quickly but it will force a bit more review before good posts are hidden.

Re:Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840580)

There are people who regularly abuse the theory of downmodding, using "flamebait" or "troll" to replace "disagree." Do it fast enough, and insightful comments get buried to -1 just because someone disagreed with it or decided it was politically or philosophically something they wanted to bury.

Which happens about 1% as often as it is claimed by the wannabe martyrs who play the "mod persecution" card.

Re:Haha (4, Insightful)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840638)

Well, the system does have its problems, but it sure beats all the others I've seen. I don't think you can ever achieve the "perfect" system, especially since we are talking about the quality of the comments, an inheritly subjective issue.
In the ideal system all the comments I deem worthwhile should rise to the top, but since each person's definition of worthwhile is different, by definition you cannot have such a system.

Example: I do not completely agree to your post, but I think it is interesting and thus I wish it to be modded up so I can see it. Someone else will think you wrote a pile of shit and would want to see you buried to oblivion. etc.

Re:Haha (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840810)

Slashdot's system has plenty of room for abuse...

I think you miss my point, though. Some articles just sort comments by time. As a result, the first ten comments you read will be terrible. Always. It will always be a war to have the latest comments so as to get the views for being on top of the list, which will mean plenty of flippant comments and worthless catchphrases, while you'll be forced to dig for pages to find the one guy who stopped to try to type a coherent response. Just adding in a simple reader rating system increases the value of the readers' comments substantially.

I consider Slashdot the worst comment system ever, except for all of the ones that have already been tried, to paraphrase Churchill. I understand its faults, but every little bit helps.

Re:Haha (2, Insightful)

eddy the lip (20794) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840812)

Allowing only up-modding definitely works better. The behaviour of people more likely to up than down mod is different. One is constructive, the other less so.

I am surprised how well the mod system here works (most of the time) though. Slashdot has a unique user base, and what works here wouldn't necessarily transfer well to a less involved and less informed base.

If you make the mistake of digging through comments on any popular news site, it is incredibly depressing. Even more so than reading /. on -1. Makes me lose a little faith in the human race every time.

Re:Haha (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841190)

The upmod/downmod helps

I think the *random* nature of being able to mod or not, and being excluded from the conversation if you mod both help as well.

---

So for the last three days I can't see my historical posts... I get this error message instead.

The last time this happened, I got no response from slashdot for weeks until it cleared up on its own.
---
HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Fri, 08 Oct 2010 21:41:37 GMT Server: Apache/1.3.41 (Unix) mod_perl/1.31-rc4 Connection: close Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
OK
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, admin@slashdot.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Apache/1.3.41 Server at slashdot.org Port 80

Re:Haha (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840226)

Oh noes! You've broken the syst-

**NO CARRIER**

Re:Haha (5, Interesting)

gambino21 (809810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840266)

I really don't understand why more news sites don't implement a threaded and user moderated comment system. Sure, the slashdot system isn't perfect, but the comments here are far more interesting/productive than the mainstream news sites. Removing anonymous commenting sounds like throwing out the baby with the bathwater, there are plenty of people who might have a valuable comment, but don't want to be bothered by registering for yet another web site.

In addition, I'm sure there are plenty of comments from registered users that just aren't that valuable. A threaded and user moderated system similar to slashot would vastly improve/filter the quality of comments on most sites, and long term would increase readership, so it just seems like an obvious solution.

Re:Haha (4, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840392)

One thing /. could do to improve slightly would be to outright prevent AC from being the first poster for an article. That would mostly eliminate the "first post" crap.

Re:Haha (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841094)

One thing /. could do to improve slightly would be to outright prevent AC from being the first poster for an article. That would mostly eliminate the "first post" crap.

You're worried about first posts? What Slashdot needs is a meme-filter.

Ok that didn't really help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33841216)

F1RST ANONYMOUS POST!!!

Re:Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840490)

A comment moderation system is a good idea but it's the comments that they really don't want. That way their editors/writers can write anything and they can censor the criticism. Cynical? Yes but mostly true.

Re:Haha (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840624)

But comments keep readers sticking around and engaged. Its just when it gets out of control that its a problem.

Re:Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840506)

That would work for the majority of articles. But like /. when something political craps out you have people at least acting on the extrema of both sides moding things up and down. Whoever has the most users backing their opinion ends up "winning." I realize in any forum that accepts political postings this will happen but it is minimized somewhat by forcing only the most die hard to sign up and crap over the comment section.

I think the libs usually "win" here.

(See what I did there?)

Re:Haha (1, Troll)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840692)

Although the moderation system has a lot going for it, I don't think it's the only reason for the quality of the comments. Let's face it, the people writing comments on /. are not the same as those that read a popular news site.
In Israel we have a popular news site. I like to read the comments to articles; you can really see how low peoples' intelligence and logic can go. i see it as an anthropological study.
And yes, it makes me feel vastly superior, any problem with that? :)

Seconded! (2, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840912)

I heartily second this. Slashdot does have the best moderation system I've ever experienced online. Yes, there is still noise in the signal, but it often happens here that when there's an article on, say, rockets, that actual rocket scientists who know what they're talking about provide a lot of incredibly well-informed insight. Or, when the file-sharing debate crops up, we have actual lawyers who are or have defended accused file-sharers comment on the legal distinctions under consideration. Compare that with any other site with comments (eg. Digg), where every discussion resembles the holy wars between vi and emacs back in the day.

Re:Haha (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840314)

Actually, it's kind of a fun game. Lurk for a while, get what the group think is, set up an account, post things that get modd'ed up easily, and then when you have karma up the ass, post any Goddamn Fucking thing you want. Some are really entertaining - EthanolFueled for one - love his comments

Here on Slashdot in the Old days: anti-MS, Pro-Apple, pro-F/OSS got you points - guaranteed. Posting anything opposite got yo modd'ed "Troll" or something else "-1" - regardless of the merit.

Now, the Apple fanboys have chilled and with Apple's success, they're not such the under dogs as they once were. Posting anything that's critical of F/OSS will get modd'ed down unless it's really something specific that's also a criticism of folks in the F/OSS community.

The Libertarian bent here has been chilling too - I think it's the economy and seeing Mr. Rand or drank the Randian Cool-Aide and went back for seconds Alan Greenspan and others admitting that deregulation wasn't such a god idea.

Building up karma wasnt' as easy as it was in the old days - I abandon accounts when I get bored and start new ones .... like I'll eventually do with this one. When I have an account I spend way too much fucking time on Slashdot or any other posting site spewing my two-bit, ignorant, no nothing opinion.

It's kind of a sick sort of entertainment really. Although, unlike TV, I do learn a bit more on very rare occasions. Sometimes - very rare times, the corrections to my two-bit ignorant opinions are quite educational.

Re:Haha (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840942)

I've been on Slashdot long enough to have seen some shifts in the system over the years. I might even have scored a 5 digit uid, but I resisted registering for several months. I didn't think it was important!

The elimination of numerical Karma ended the fun (or problem, depending on how you look at it) of accumulating and "spending" Karma for the thrill of it. Before they eliminated numerical Karma, I even engaged in a bit of trolling myself. My parody of a suicide bombing incident with page-widening standing in for the explosion is still out there somewhere.

After that, it seemed stable for a while. Lately, it seems like there has been an increase in people using negative moderation qualities for points with which they disagree.

BTW, I don't moderate. Whatever qualities there are that draw people towards moderation, I guess I don't have them. Many thanks to those who *do* find some pleasure in being judges. Also, thanks to those who have decided that if they really don't like what I'm saying, giving up moderation rights and commenting is the correct way to handle that as opposed hitting the Troll button.

Re:Haha (3, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841076)

The Libertarian bent here has been chilling too - I think it's the economy and seeing Mr. Rand or drank the Randian Cool-Aide and went back for seconds Alan Greenspan and others admitting that deregulation wasn't such a god idea.

Libertarian bent? I still see signatures from time to time which are libertarian. But as long as I've been on Slashdot the site has had a decidedly liberal bent. It's subtle and it's not uncommon to find opposing viewpoints. But I'd say that's because the people posting regularly tend to be a bit more mature and are more willing to actually discuss an issue as opposed to simply bashing the other person.

I'd say the liberal slant reached it's height during the last presidential campaign and it persisted for sometime afterward. Some were quite quick to tamp down dissenting views. My posts range from getting modded rather decently to being disregarded and buried under other posts. But during that time I was routinely getting posts modded as troll. For a couple of weeks every couple of posts was getting modded as troll for even having a hint of a more conservative viewpoint. I generally stopped visiting Slashdot for a month or two in frustration.

I felt it was quite an achievement, however, that at least once I managed to get two separate posts, within the same discussion, modded insightful/interesting and troll.

And I can't think of any time when Slashdot has ever been decidedly pro-Apple. Perhaps I haven't been around long enough.

Re:Haha (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840860)

Like comment moderation would ever work

Will Yahoo! please pick up the white courtesy phone? Please pick up, Yahoo!. It's important.

Re:Haha (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841064)

Like comment moderation would ever work

You do realize that the moderation system is why people keep using that overlords joke, right?

Real names? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33839928)

I don't mean to call out these particular commenters, and I'm happy to see our readers taking the time to engage in robust discussion on Reuters.com. But I'm beginning to think our discussion would be even more robust and insightful if those making comments signed their real names.

Fuck you.
- John Smith.

Last Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33839932)

;-)

Middle Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840150)

I win, good sir.

P.S. Fuck all ya'll muther fuckers! Anon for the win :)

Anonymity, pseudonymity (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33839940)

Without having read TFA (hey, it's a venerable Slashdot tradition!), I'm not sure what they actually hope to gain by eliminating anonymous comments. Surely as long as people are free to create throwaway accounts that are not actually tied to their real identities, trolling etc. will persist?

Signed, an AC of many years (by choice)

Re:Anonymity, pseudonymity (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840054)

Without having read TFA (hey, it's a venerable Slashdot tradition!), I'm not sure what they actually hope to gain by eliminating anonymous comments. Surely as long as people are free to create throwaway accounts that are not actually tied to their real identities, trolling etc. will persist?

Signed, an AC of many years (by choice)

I admit to reading a portion of one of the links provided, and it seems their goal is to indeed create a Slashdot-like moderation system, but without Anonymous Cowards. So I suspect that you're right... people can create throwaway accounts. If they have something constructive to contribute to the discussion (as you have, dear AC), then others will recognize it and allow that contribution to be heard (with all the caveats that go along with a slashdot-like moderation system like groupthink, etc).

Let's amend the summary, though, shall we? TFS says "against anonymity online", but the argument is actually against allowing anonymous comments on one site.

Re:Anonymity, pseudonymity (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840290)

Groupthink on slashdot has not existed for ages if it ever did. Make an anti-MS comment, even a fair one and you will be modded down.

Re:Anonymity, pseudonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840948)

Groupthink did exist on Slashdot in the past and still does to some degree today. However these days the odds that incorrect moderation due to upset groupthink drones will be corrected by other moderators is much greater than in the past.

Nah, it won't be a problem (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840432)

I've studied anonymous commenting for a while... And while I wrote passionated blog entries in its defence in my younger days (=a few years ago), I can't say I'm for it anymore. In blogs, etc... sure. In newspapers or any other "high quality" media? No.

The flaw in your reasoning is this: The problem isn't intentional trolling. The problem is "too many idiots with too much time". The people who have jobs, relationships, hobbies, etc. don't waste much of their time arguing online. What this means? People who don't have jobs, education, hobbies, relationships, etc. form a large part of the people who browse news stories and choose to comment on them. The vocal minority that is more prone to extremism (be it left, right, whatever...), doesn't really have anything intelligent to say and post in pretty much every news story. Then a sane person appears and he goes "I might have something to contribute to this story about astronomy... Whoa. 76 comments and they are just all flaming each other about immigration? I'll just leave". It is a positive feedback loop of idiocy.

Now, there are three common answers to that. One is "strict editorial policy, such as an employee approving all comments before they show up" but this is really quite unoptimal solution. It takes a lot of manhours, works well only during office hours and generally isn't good for a live conversation where people react to each other, etc. etc.. The second one is "disable all commenting" but some people actually have something important to add. The third one is "Force users to register first".

The last one reduces the amount of comments but this is a good thing: There is a lot less crap to go through when you want to see if there is anything worthwhile. Even more importantly, you can see "Oh, that idiotic comment is written by P4triot86... And that one... And that one..." so the comments section will imply "There are a few idiots regularly posting here" instead of the false "People really think this way".

Re:Nah, it won't be a problem (4, Insightful)

oatworm (969674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840686)

I've actually seen a fair amount of what you describe on my local paper's comment boards. Since I live in Nevada, every single news article inevitably devolves into a "Well, if Harry Reid did his job, then..." vs. "Well, if the Republicans didn't destroy the country, then..." flame-fest, and this is without anonymous commenting enabled. The best part? Guess who recommends comments - that's right, people willing to slug through that crap and recommend the viewpoints they agree with. The result is a self-perpetuating cycle of idiocy and venality, with all of the reasonable people staying away from the comments section like the plague it is.

Unfortunately, I don't know what a good solution to this situation would be. Personally, I'd lean toward "nuke it from orbit - it's the only way to be sure" and just eliminate online commenting entirely from most news sites - it's not like newspapers were known for their willingness to post anonymous content before the Internet anyway.

Re:Nah, it won't be a problem (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840902)

This. It's just like Yahoo News, or my local paper's comment boards. For that matter, it's about like the paper's printed letters-to-the-editor: retirees or unemployed with too much time on their hands who get printed frequently, a fair amount of it whatever thoughts on any random thing they happened to have that day.

As Oatwom noted, you'll get people who vote according to their political viewpoint, and you'll even see this on "reputable" websites.

Yahoo! News (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841038)

Totally agree. What I'd like to know is, what does a service like Yahoo! stand to gain by letting dummies post garbage under their news items? It seems like they stand to lose readership, and not gain anything. Why let it continue? These aren't even anonymous comments - the person's Yahoo! ID is posted right along with their wackadoo rantings.

Take a look at the comments under any Yahoo! News article. They are 99.999% cranks, nutjobs, idiots and other assorted ne'er-do-wells. That and spam for "Get an iPad/iPod/iPhone for free" or dating sites.

I sent an email to Yahoo! corporate asking why they are letting idiots crap all over their product. I didn't get any response, nor did I expect one, but it's a question worth asking. What does Yahoo! gain by having every news item be followed up with "It's all Obama's fault" (seriously, he even gets the blame for the weather now) and "Why aren't these people working on a cure for cancer?"-type comments?

Re:Nah, it won't be a problem (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841112)

"The problem isn't intentional trolling"

No, the problem is people who take things too seriously and get rid of anonymous comments simply because of a few trolls, or whatever other stupid reason they can think of.

"doesn't really have anything intelligent to say"

Unless, of course, their comment relates to the story. You usually post these things called "opinions" and "facts" in comments.

"Then a sane person appears"

That couldn't be a sane person, because a sane person would say "I'll just ignore the comments that I perceive as idiotic and comment on the news story like I was originally going to do."

Re:Anonymity, pseudonymity (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840586)

why would i waste my time creating a throw away account on reuters when i can just as easily install bugmenot extension on firefox and use a pre-made one from there ?

anonimity will always exist on the internet thanks to resourcefull geeks.

not to worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33839960)

....while slashdot keeps allowing anonymous web comments everything is fine.

Re:not to worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840132)

You are so gullible, Jobs.

Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33839978)

Its good to be anonymous coward sometimes ;)

In Soviet United Kingdom ( +1, PatRIOTic ) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33839986)

Anonymous comments END Reuters !

Yours In Almaty,
Kilgore Trout.

Should do this on Slashdot too (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840026)

Seriously, why allow them? Just get a damn account. It takes seconds and you can use a pretend name if you're worried that people are going to sue you for leaking secrets or whatever. If people can't be bothered to get an account then they get to treat Slashdot as read only.

Re:Should do this on Slashdot too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840084)

Seriously, why allow them?

Unlike you some cowards have bothered to RTFA, in this case slashdots own FAQ. It takes seconds!

"Why allow them?" (2, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840086)

"Why allow them?"

Seriously, why allow them? Just get a damn account. It takes seconds and you can use a pretend name if you're worried that people are going to sue you for leaking secrets or whatever.

I believe the rationale is that registration requires verification with an email address, and email addresses are not quite as disposable, and leave a subpoena-able trail that can be used to pierce the veil.

At the very least, there is an audit trail by IP address that leads to an audit trail that eventually leads to you.

If you're posting from a repressive regime, such as China, Iraq, North Korea, or (some would claim) the United States, this might concern you.

-- Terry

Re:"Why allow them?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840240)

10 minute mail [10minutemail.com] is your friend for disposable email accounts. Although the IP trace is still there if you don't do this via an Internet Cafe or some cafe wireless AP of your choice, it certainly continues to allow for mostly anonymous commenting to continue. Of course, there are downsides: more work, and a minority of registration systems are no longer quite as instant in sending their email.

Re:"Why allow them?" (1)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840254)

Maybe I just wouldn't want to set up *yet another* account?

I'm strongly resistant to setting up new accounts that I don't really need and that require new credentials or the risk of leaking shared ones.

There's lots of sites where they'll never get my comments since they insist on registration.

Rgds

Damon

Re:"Why allow them?" (4, Informative)

chammy (1096007) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840524)

It's not like their server couldn't log the IP along with the anonymous comment. And what about services like 10minutemail [10minutemail.com] , mailinator [mailinator.com] , or guerrila mail [guerrillamail.com] ? I doubt hunting down someone by one of those email addresses would be any easier than just using whatever IP they posted under.

Re:Should do this on Slashdot too (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840220)

"Do you see what the fuckin' Donald Duck just wrote about me!!! If it was for people like Mickey Mouse I.P. Nicely, I don't know what I'd do."

Re:Should do this on Slashdot too (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840402)

As a semi-regular AC, all I can tell you, is that I first of all don't need yet another account to keep track of with a user name that might be rubbish anyway, since most names are taken anyway it seems, and an associated password, and furthermore, I'd hate to leave a track of what I've posted so people could use that to eventually track me down or use my previous posts to somehow "infer" the value of the _current_ post, which is another important part of anonymity; Nobody gets a free pass because they are Sir That or professor This, and good posts from people without a reputation still might get read rather than discarded because of the senders ID. Every posting is judged on its own merits, which is exactly how it should be.

Re:Should do this on Slashdot too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840414)

Seriously, why allow them? Just get a damn account. It takes seconds and you can use a pretend name if you're worried that people are going to sue you for leaking secrets or whatever. If people can't be bothered to get an account then they get to treat Slashdot as read only.

I agree... ACs are lazy ass dickshits with potty mouths and poor grammer and spelling.

Re:Should do this on Slashdot too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840934)

> I agree... ACs are lazy ass dickshits with potty mouths and poor grammer and spelling.

I think you meant "i agre... acs r lzy ass d1ckshts w poty m0ufs n pr0r gramz0r n speling!!11!1???/"

Re:Should do this on Slashdot too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840984)

Hey fuck you my spelling be unerring.

Ok I'll bit (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840028)

moderation system to decide what's worth reading and what's trash.

So what's worth reading and what's trash?

Re:Ok I'll bit (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840308)

So what's worth reading and what's trash?

I guess what the community as a whole decides is. Good moderation systems can do a pretty good job of predicting what you will consider trash and what you will consider worthwhile (or at least worthwile enough to keep visible). Although people's tastes differ, this does not mean that there is no reasonably objective standard for what is a well thought out, diplomatic post versus one that is inane, vile or spammy.

They just need lots of layers of indirection. That is, it can probably tell that a post is "pretty good", if that post is rated highly by a people who have consistantly rated posts in a way that is similar to the ratings of others who have consistantly rated posts in a way that is similar to the ratings of others who....and so on. The more layers of indirection, the more credible.

Likewise, prior to a post getting ratings, it can guess that it might be high quality if the person posting it has a history of posting things that are rated highly be people who have a history of....yada yada yada.

Slashdot's moderation system is simple, and barely scratches the surface of this. And even simpler systems, that simply promote posts that are rated highly, without remembering the history of the posters nor the raters, will do especially poorly.

Doctor, mod thyself. (5, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840032)

Frankly, Reuters as a news organization has, like all of them, gotten a lot sloppier as competition for online eyeballs has squeezed all the value out of anything other than eye-popping headlines.

There's really not much you can do to keep commenters from hiding their identities, and it's somewhat hypocritical to do so when you omit bylines from many of your stories, and when your reporters, columnists, editors, and editorial writers are just fronts for the attitudes of the corporation.

Allowing people to remain anonymous to readers, but insisting that they give you identification you can use to trace them if they violate the TOS, seems a reasonable compromise.

Re:Doctor, mod thyself. (3, Insightful)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840304)

Allowing people to remain anonymous to readers, but insisting that they give you identification you can use to trace them if they violate the TOS, seems a reasonable compromise.

So you're saying it's okay to say things you don't want your mom to hear, but nothing should be kept from the people that run corporations or governments. IMHO, I'm not convinced there is a need to compromise. Let's keep real anonymity.

Thompson Reuters? (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840034)

Thompson Reuters? Yeah, like that's a real name...

Re:Thompson Reuters? (2, Informative)

asg1 (1180423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840140)

The correct name is Thomson Reuters [thomsonreuters.com]

Confused (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840052)

Why is this under "yro"? You and I have no inherent right to make comments on their website. If they choose to invite comments, they have every right to attach conditions to that invitation. Anyone is free to setup their own site to comment on Reuters news coverage, if they don't like the conditions attached to commenting on Reuters sites.

Re:Confused (1, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840148)

By extension, you have no right to be on the Internet, and your ISP can modify every packet you emit, if they choose to put that in your customer agreement.

Re:Confused (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840344)

Correct. You have no right to the internet. It's a service provided to you by a company which you pay for. It's a product you choose, usually from a range of suppliers.

Let's just make *everything* Disney (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840122)

As vile, crude and idiotic as some of the comments are, they are *real* comments that tell us what people really think. Attempts to "moderate" them are just another attempt to pander to an already infantilized readership and insulate us all from who and what is really out there. Feh. I would rather know the ugly reality than the bland sanitized lying pablum the mainstream media would force down all our throats if they could.

Re:Let's just make *everything* Disney (1)

greyline (1052440) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840196)

Ugly reality? I pooped.

Re:Let's just make *everything* Disney (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840248)

"Feh. I would rather know the ugly reality than the bland sanitized lying pablum the mainstream media would force down all our throats if they could."

That's why I rely on 4chan for news and informative commentary.

Re:Let's just make *everything* Disney (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840354)

Wow. You mean there are really people who believe in Goatse?

Re:Let's just make *everything* Disney (2, Insightful)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840426)

In practice, I don't think it works that way. We've got a local paper, we've got some toxic anonymous commenters. It's local enough that the anonymous asshole knows who other commenters (using real names), makes personal remarks (accuses woman whose child has CP of being a "mooch" on the system, tasteful stuff like that). Newspaper editor is the corporate golden boy for all the controversy and fuss this causes, because hey, hits. Most people aren't smart enough to follow through on this, and don't boycott (I do).

And if you look, I've got a consistent pseudonym wherever I go, a relatively consistent political position, fine karma here at slashdot, and I try hard as heck to stick to facts, and avoid (well, minimize) use of dirty words -- that is, if you want to check my judgement on whether this guy is toxic or not.

And as a practical matter, we know that there are people out there who think like this, just as we know that pigs like mud. Doesn't mean we like muddy-pig-wrestling.

Re:Let's just make *everything* Disney (3, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840440)

they are *real* comments that tell us what people really think

I disagree. The problem is that comments in such places are not at all a realistic representation of what most people who read the articles think.

There is a vicious circle involved, where only the most hateful tend to be likely to comment, because so many of the other commenters are posting vile stuff. This is not the same thing that happens in "real world" environments, where social pressures that have evolved over centuries tend to keep things in check -- rewarding those who are diplomatic and follow decorum, and punishing those who aren't/don't. This is a GOOD THING....imagine if the discussion in a university class always degenerated into the sort of things you find in unmoderated, anonymous comments threads.

Even people who are nice in other environments may end up posting hateful comments. The Stanford Prison Experiment [wikipedia.org] can give insight into why.

Re:Let's just make *everything* Disney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840460)

Except that idiotic comments, almost by definition, come from those that don't think.

If I want to hear intelligent debate, I'm not going to get it from some anonymous guy on the internet.

Posting anon for epic ironic lulz.

YOU FAIQL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840192)

Re:YOU FAIQL IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840330)

Oh my god! What the fuck is that man doing to his asshole?!?! Arrrrghhh

local paper (2, Insightful)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840234)

having just read a local paper's comment section to an opinion piece and seeing the first comment intentionally rude, you'd think i'd agree that with Reuters. but i don't. the anonymity of blog and news site commenters probably is not the engine of incivility in politics. there are people who are just outright angry about certain things, justifiably so or not, and they don't care how they express themselves. especially when so many of those people seem to lack an education or even knowledge of etiquette.

Huh?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840286)

What's an anonymous comment?

Dangit (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840292)

I won't be able to troll on Reuters any more.

Opinions (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840352)

And here I was thinking that comments was there so that people could get an opportunity to voice their oponions and not that comments was there to be "worth reading"...

Anonymity is good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840356)

People who wish to stay anonymous usually make the best conversation. I often go blog to blog giving my opinions on the same story. But as soon as hit a blog that requires me to sign in, I just leave.
True, very bad comments can show up, but that isn't so bad since that way 'bad' opinions can be challenged publicly. What happens when say, racists, are censored? They don't shut up, they keep talking. But they do so underground, where they won't be censored. Once they find an audience, that audience will only hear their side of the story. The audience won't hear why racism is wrong. The same goes for any controversy.

And in this day and age, when the Secret Service open a file with your name just because like several other hundred people you said in a Facebook poll that you think the president should be killed (which is absolutely not the same as saying you will kill him), it makes sense to try to stay anonymous. Especially when the FBI can track your every moves without a warrant and the president gets a license to kill.

Also, websites that require people to sign in are usually self-righteous communities. The kind of place where the admins will moderate you for speaking of Limewire because "We know most people use it for perfectly legal activities, but it can still be used for illegal file sharing".
Plus, admins and journalists on such websites never reply to comments anyways. They don't even read them. The majority of users support anonymous comments too. They just forbid anonymous comments because they're afraid they'll be sued if someone writes the word "Nigger" and it goes unnoticed by the mods.

Where's the Venom? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840418)

I don’t mean to call out these particular commenters, and I’m happy to see our readers taking the time to engage in robust discussion on Reuters.com. But I’m beginning to think our discussion would be even more robust and insightful if those making comments signed their real names.

Blizzard suggests this very same thing and we see QQ of truly legendary proportions. That thread, here on slashdot, reached a hefty 833 coments.

Today, Reuters does this very same thing, and we get what, 47 thus far?

What's the difference? It was the end of humanity in that one circumstance, but is just mildly annoying in this one? Politics is somehow less charged than PvP balance?

Re:Where's the Venom? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840562)

Well in one case you're paying for a service where you're already using a pseudonym, and in the other case you're not. Blizz's idea was that outting everyone is a great idea(minus the downside that doing such is well, illegal in several countries like Canada, and Germany) along with several states in the US. In this case, they've simply said no more anon comments. Not that it makes much of a difference, since most people who are interested in commenting, don't read and post via wirefeeds. But rather to select forums where they can debate the topic.

For example, if I see something interesting and want to comment I'm more likely to go read the The Globe and Mail [theglobeandmail.com] , National Post [nationalpost.com] or the CBC [www.cbc.ca] and comment/debate/etc.

Re:Where's the Venom? (0, Troll)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840780)

For example, if I see something interesting and want to comment I'm more likely to go Elitist Jerks...

I'm still not seeing any difference.

Re:Where's the Venom? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840574)

The difference is one is a news site that you don't HAVE to comment on, or could comment on somewhere else, and the other is a video game forum. I don't think I have to go any further with the explanation of the latter.

Re:Where's the Venom? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840798)

The difference is one is a news site that you don't HAVE to comment on, or could comment on somewhere else, and the other is a video game forum that you don't HAVE to comment on, or could comment on somewhere else

Still not seeing the difference, from an empirical point of view.

Re:Where's the Venom? (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840972)

A lot of news sites require accounts to post comments. Rather than signup for every site I wish to add a quip to, I decide it's not worth the time and doubly so since it's often not a local issue or news source.

If they want to try to bring order, they can certainly attempt to try. Non-assholes without accounts will be inconvenienced and assholes will simply conjure up a fake name using a phony email account and spew their shit accordingly.

Blizzard, on the other hand, was changing for the same goal but had different tools to use: paid accounts. Ban your account and you'd have to shell out $ to get back in. Blizzard was complaining about their forums being a cesspool but they're the ones who let it happen. They shouldn't have let people post from any one of their characters (except RP forums) and forum bans should mean game bans. They never opted for those and instead would have exposed people's names to the internet.

And then there's apathy. We've gone over this. People who don't want to use their names will use fake ones. People who want to be assholes will be assholes. This dude doesn't understand it.

Re:Where's the Venom? (2, Insightful)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841140)

Blizzard already doesn't allow anonymous postings, and never did. Their proposal was to involuntarily switch from handles to real names pulled from original account information that could not be changed and up until then was kept confidential. If all these people were paying a monthly fee to access the news site they might also feel more invested in how it was run. You're not seeing the same reaction because the situations have nothing in common except the word "anonymous," which never actually applied to Blizzard's forum anyway; Blizzard has always known exactly who every poster was. That entire debate was a smokescreen to keep the entire conversation revolving around whether Blizzard should use the information to plug their players' accounts into Facebook, which was the real reason for the proposed change.

Anonymous Sources too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33840438)

Will they also stop reporting "news" from officials "Speaking on condition of anonymity"?

Two words: Reframe It. (2, Interesting)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33840850)

Add comments to a web page without the permission of the website operators.

http://reframeit.com/ [reframeit.com]

No one will comment. (2, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33841250)

I predict that eliminating anonymous commenting will bring an end to commenting in general. Sure, there will be a handful of people who will still be compelled to comment, but most wont venture. It's no different than most people, when in public, avoiding sensitive subjects. The people who will comment will more likely be those who already are compelled to post political commentary on Facebook.

Then there's the whole other issue of having your name plastered on every site you post comments.

The big problem is that the vast majority of people are nowhere near as well informed as they'd like to believe they are. There's an interesting problem society faces today: people know a little about a lot of things. We're probably exposed to more information than we've ever faced before. But it's all disseminated in bite-sized chunks that offer little to no substance. So we're aware of many things without really understand the complexities behind them. And I haven't even gotten into the issue cherry picking and bias. Compound these problems with the fact that humans tend to polarize everything. It's all or nothing.

So we have millions of misinformed, occasionally ignorant but very passionate people commenting on everything. And far too often, because they're incapable of cogent arguments the proceedings devolve into irrational name-calling. Of course, this is all facilitated by the fact that generally these interactions are anonymous.

Slashdot offers the best solution I've seen so far on any site. That said, it's dependent on three few factors:
1) The maturity and knowledge level of those posting.
2) That the site isn't heavily dominated by a particular mindset. All the moderation in the world wont help if group think takes over.
3) There's some level of responsible oversight by those running the site.

It may just be that news sites don't make for the best discussion forums anyway. Discussion forums might be better left to sites like Slashdot where there's a more specific draw.

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