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Internet Commenting Growing Away From Anonymity

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the playing-nice-with-others dept.

The Internet 384

An article from the Associated Press makes the case that internet commenting is slowly but surely transitioning away from widespread anonymity. More and more sites are finding that the prevalence of vitriolic comments is driving away new readers, not to mention other, more reasonable commenters. Sites like YouTube and the Huffington Post are leading the charge, requiring users to log in via Google+ and Facebook respectively in order to establish a real-world identity. The Post's managing editor, Jimmy Soni, said, 'We are reaching a place where the Internet is growing up. These changes represent a maturing (online) environment.' "Nearly three-quarters of teens and young adults think people are more likely to use discriminatory language online or in text messages than in face to face conversations, according to a recent poll ... Newspapers are also turning toward regulated comments. Of the largest 137 U.S. newspapers — those with daily circulation above 50,000 — nearly 49 percent ban anonymous commenting, according to Arthur Santana, assistant communications professor at the University of Houston. Nearly 42 percent allow anonymity, while 9 percent do not have comments at all.

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Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

cshark (673578) | about 9 months ago | (#45795563)

This is just nuts. The internet isn't growing up, big money sites like the LA Times and Reuters are just getting lazy. What ever happened to comment moderation? Why is it so fantastically difficult to screen these things?

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

DigiWood (311681) | about 9 months ago | (#45795625)

Companies like the ones you mentioned are all about not paying someone to do what to you and I would be something simple: Moderate the discussion. They also don't want the readership doing the moderation because that could potentially be at odds with the publications owners views.

Re: Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | about 9 months ago | (#45795969)

It's less about moderation and more about control and mob mentality, because now with people's name and Facebook being available the Internet can go attack that person they do not agree with. I think that is far more dangerous than a few negative comments.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795647)

Moderation requires manpower. Nobody in their right mind volunteers to moderate comments for for-profit businesses, so they have to pay moderators. Which they don't want to do.
Which means either you get spam, flames and shitposting, or forced registration/real id.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795693)

+1 Insightful

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Interesting)

DigiWood (311681) | about 9 months ago | (#45795735)

People moderate for /. all the time that are not paid. /. is a for-profit business.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795823)

Was your intent to refute, or underscore GP?

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (2)

DigiWood (311681) | about 9 months ago | (#45795889)

My intent was to show that people here moderate for a for-profit business all the time.

Re: Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (3, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | about 9 months ago | (#45796007)

People moderate because there is power in moderation. The moderator has the power to help control what people read, they can push their own agenda, and smack down some trolls too. Who doesn't enjoy that?

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#45795863)

Slashdot's moderation is also heavily dependent on the whim of the hivemind. We're not as bad as, say, 4chan, but we're still pretty awful.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795879)

Yes, and this site is quite obviously a different case than a general media outlet like a major newspaper or CNN. Try to implement /.-like moderation on one of those sites and I guarantee that it would be swamped with sock puppets, many of them paid, to push very specific agendas, like the absurd, ongoing denial of the reality of climate change. It would only make the current bad situation much worse.

There are many site where I don't even look at the comments any more, because they're so infested with vileness and nonsense. /. is a notable exception; for me, about 90% of the value of this site is in the comments.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795941)

Can you name a few such sites? I am interested in the commenting technology they use. I am convinced that there is a tech solution to this.

The reason for abolishing anonymity is not to fix the conversation, but to make money.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (3, Interesting)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 9 months ago | (#45795911)

/. is a for-profit business.

Not in the same sense as the examples given by the posts above, from the point of view of the man on the street. /. manages to maintain a certain amount of its "community spirit" so people are willing to put that little bit of effort in, but having navigated through the LA Times paywal people are not going to want to give even that much extra ("I'm paying for this, someone else should be making sure it is worth me paying for" would be a common thought on the matter).

Then again epopel spend time making reviews on Amazon and the like (the good reviews that is: the bad ones are peope with an axe to grind so that isn't quite the same) so perhaps it could work, though they'd still have the problem of the moderation being "off message" and to avoid that they'd be back to paying someone (thsi time paying them to moderate the moderators).

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796003)

./ moderation is about more than just weeding out the trolls, spammers and flamebaiters - otherwise the little flag would be enough. It is a quality-rating system, which is an incentive to moderators but also promotes bias. An angry comment will get treated differently depending on whether it slams OSS or Windows, it leans liberal or conservative, etc. A redundant comment may get a free pass if it's in the right camp.

Also see the blatant abuse of the spam flag in YouTube whenever a comment goes against the current - it's more effective to "silence" the dissenter than just voting down and it doesn't require admin intervention.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (4, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 9 months ago | (#45796025)

People moderate for /. all the time that are not paid. /. is a for-profit business.

People that moderate /. also have good karma and get paid in the form of the "disable advertising" checkbox.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 9 months ago | (#45796033)

If they want to enforce real world identities, they should also do what /. does and allow Anonymous Cowards to post. There will be a lot of reasons for people to not post their real views under their own names. What does one want them to do - lie? This way, let people post views they are comfortable posting openly, and let them post the more uncomfortable views anonymously

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 9 months ago | (#45796125)

The habit of moderating was established and became part of the community ethos before /. became a for profit business.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (5, Insightful)

AJH16 (940784) | about 9 months ago | (#45795747)

If they did that, how would they harvest people's personal information by making them associate their Facebook or Google account with their application? Why have a cost center (paying someone to moderate) when you could have a profit center (farming people's info). It's also worth noting that in the vast majority of cases, all this does is make it so that I don't participate in their comments and the comments sections on most sites that do this seem to be much more dead than the sites that do not.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (2)

game kid (805301) | about 9 months ago | (#45796071)

The worst part about Real Name harassment like that is that it helps the Surveillance State, helps creepy companies, helps creepy marketers (redundant, I know), helps creepy people in general, and scares non-creepy people away from discussing germane but sensitive experiences they have had, and all while THE FUCKING TROLLS STILL FUCKING TROLL AS USUAL BECAUSE THEY DON'T FUCKING CARE ABOUT REAL FUCKING NAMES AND PROBABLY EVEN FUCKING STOLE THE ACCOUNT THEY USED IN THE FIRST PLACE. *cough* Sorry, my frustration with the current state of internet matters talked again.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (2)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 9 months ago | (#45796179)

Fuck the fucking fuckers?

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (1)

pigsycyberbully (3450203) | about 9 months ago | (#45796093)

This is just nuts. The internet isn't growing up, big money sites like the LA Times and Reuters are just getting lazy. What ever happened to comment moderation? Why is it so fantastically difficult to screen these things?

It is just newspeak. Most of the World Wide Web are non-English speakers and writers using non-U.S. forums non-Google and so on. The Reuters news agency comment sections are empty. Other news agencies use random provocateur postings to generate comments. And even with their provocateur multi-identity postings they are empty. The likes of spyware Google do not even have 50% of the Internet covered so they say. They are trying to stifle the Internet and create a heavily spied on newspeak Internet. It won't work American online tried that along time ago. Do not use the log in to post using Google and Yahoo, blah blah blah and they will crawl back under their rock and you will learn to use the World Wide Web, again and not get trapped in isolated newspeak government NSA domesticated newspeak Internet.

Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796107)

I agree. Also, you can always use a fake name on Google+/Facebook/whatever or just do as I do and stop using services that require those types of logins.

No, it's not (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795591)

People are just being forced to give up anonymity. There's a difference.

Re:No, it's not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795829)

If that is true then how is it that I have 12 different fake google plus accounts with names nobody calls their children and am still able to comment wherever I want. I'd say it's still anonymous. I've never used my real name online, not once and never will.

Re:No, it's not (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 9 months ago | (#45796173)

It's conceivable that those sites may someday require a driver's license number or similar for identity verification before they let you post comments or renew your social media account.

I suspect a lot of people would go along with it, because they care more about not losing their social media account then they do about anonymity.

Anyway, you'll still have a choice: post only in the sites that still let you use a fake ID, or post as yourself and self-censor as appropriate.

Whatever (5, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 9 months ago | (#45795595)

When my local Gannett-owned newspaper switched from a PHPbb type forum to the new Facebook comments, it pretty much killed discussion altogether.

The irony, of course, is despite the big banner extolling the virtues of non-anonymous commenting ('"it'll make everyone play nice!" Like that's something we give a shit about) the people who actually had anything intelligent to say were the ones who stopped commenting; since it's still pretty easy to create a fake facebook account, trolls abound.

Seriously, sometimes it's like 4chan without pictures over there.

Re:Whatever (-1, Flamebait)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 9 months ago | (#45795965)

Seriously, sometimes it's like 4chan without pictures over there.

That's because 4chan is a virulent disease.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796137)

incorrect, my good sir

Re:Whatever (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796053)

.... the people who actually had anything intelligent to say were the ones who stopped commenting;....

And many times, one's opinion is contrary to everyone (or many) else's - maybe even offensive to some - and it's nice not having one's identity attached to the comment.

Atheist, Gay, anti or pro abortion, or any other view that has a high degree of controversy and there are plenty of folks out there who'll get physical: against your property or against you bodily. IF they get caught, having them in jail isn't much of a consolation if you're in intensive care.

I for one do not want to get beet up for my pour use of grammer and spilling!

Re:Whatever (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796061)

To be honest, the imageboards probably have the best discussion system as of now. Anonymous posting by default, discussions locked when they hit the post limit and deleted from the server when they reach the last page. Worthwhile content gets saved offsite by the users with anonymity preserved. The only problem is people who actually take things on the internet seriously.

Re:Whatever (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796101)

All real name policies often do is ensure that people hide their true feelings in fear of offending some future boss or person. What you end up with are boring discussions about absolutely nothing, idiots who just don't care what they say at all, and terrible actors.

Nonsense. (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#45795633)

1. The change is happening on companies that make money by connecting advertisers with potential customers. A large part of their revenue comes directly or indirectly through data mining their user base. If their user base is bogus names and bogus information then the value of the data mining is less. Therefore it is in the interest of these companies to get real information in their databases. This is the primary reason this is desirable.

2. Smaller websites that are if anything more known for thoughtful commentary have no such program.

3. There has been a consistent effort by politicians to get identities put on internet comments so they can file law suits or other forms of heavy handed harassment against anyone that would dare criticize them.

4. While internet trolls are an issue, anyone that has been on the internet for awhile gets used to them. You just don't take them seriously anymore. You recognize them for what they are and then you "nothing" them. They are deleted if only from your own perception.

5. It is telling that leading the charge to have identities on the internet are entities such as the Chinese government etc... This is who you're praising.

Will we gain something by having real identities on the internet? Yes. But we will lose a great deal more. This is a fool's bargain. We would do well to protect our anonymity if only because it will protect our ability to speak our minds. Those that advocate for real names are advocates for censorship. Point blank.

Re:Nonsense. (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 9 months ago | (#45796015)

While internet trolls are an issue, anyone that has been on the internet for awhile gets used to them.

For most trolls this is true. However, there are the occassional trolls who have nothing better to do that make your life miserable or are so mentally unbalanced that they think they are "doing good" by harassing you. Online, they have limited powers, but if they get a hold of your real-world identity they can cause serious harm. Example, there's a troll (who I won't name for fear she'll find her way here and see *my* real name) who has harassed me in the past. She didn't know my real name (Slashdot is one of the few places I use it) so her power over me was limited. One of her targets, though, used his real name and mentioned where he worked. She called up his job, reporting him for child abuse (he's a teacher), found and contacted all of his family on Facebook, and contacted his local police department to report him for child pornography. None of those charges were true, and luckily he had warned enough people about her that the damage was minimal, but he's still had to endure years of not knowing who she would contact next to spread lies. (In her mind, she's a "prophet of god" and everything she says comes straight from god himself, so obviously there's no way or reasoning with her.) Before anyone asks, police were contacted in this and other cases regarding her but nothing was done. (Her living in another country complicates matters and it's too "small time" for any real traction to get moving.)

Were I forced to use my real name everywhere, she could have done the same to me or the other few dozen people she's harassed (from bloggers to Boy George to the CEO of FireFox). Now imagine a hundred other trolls like her empowered by having access to the real world identities of the people they are harassing. If real-world identities themselves don't scare away commenters, the trolls will.

Re:Nonsense. (3, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#45796155)

Yes. And it should be understood that the politicians and various political and corporate entities that want you to shut up on occasion will use the same tactics or worse to silence you if they can find you.

This is currently a great frustration for them. They have tried to do this to a few people and publicly lamented that they just couldn't find these people to shut them up.

We let this happen and they will come after us at some point.

Further... the whole thing is really being spearheaded by corporations that are finally having to admit that their vast user databases are mostly full of junk data that isn't actually worth anything. They've tricked their investors into thinking they had a lot of valuable information there... and possibly it is valuable... but not 100 billion dollars of value. And that is their problem.

So they're trying sweeten their databases by filling them with real information.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 9 months ago | (#45796171)

Smaller websites that are if anything more known for thoughtful commentary have no such program.

While YMMV, all of the smaller websites I visit are moderated, and thus have no need of such a program.
 

While internet trolls are an issue, anyone that has been on the internet for awhile gets used to them. You just don't take them seriously anymore. You recognize them for what they are and then you "nothing" them. They are deleted if only from your own perception.

That's your perception, not a universal trait.

Re:Nonsense... Really? (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 9 months ago | (#45796177)

Anonymity is not what you think it is on the Interwebs, at least in the U.S. Given the amount of data collected by the NSA, if you posting anonymously becomes a person of interest to Federal law enforcement, then your anonymity is gone as it doesn't take much to figure out who you are by your traffic.

Facingbook certainly knows who you are, anonymous comments included, if you use that site.

It only takes a couple of commenters .... (4, Interesting)

TechnoGrl (322690) | about 9 months ago | (#45795655)

.... with far too much time on their hands and far too little psychological stability to completely ruin a forum for thousands. I think many, if not most of us, have seen that happen - one bad apple and all that. Add in the social media awareness of P.R. firms (or special interest groups) who will hire paid commenters to astro-turf a particular point of view and you have a recipe for mass incommunication.

I welcome restrictions on who can comment and what someone can say such that we raise the signal to noise ratio and tone down the inanity, the crazy and the spam. I think we have left the era of unrestricted speech in much the same way that we once left the era of unrestricted radio communications. Just as we once started licensing in order to make use of the airwaves for everyone, we now have to monitor and moderate in such as way so as outlandish ideas ideas will not be restricted but outlandish people will be.

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795805)

Viva la fascism!

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (1)

HBI (604924) | about 9 months ago | (#45795819)

Please, enjoy your walled garden ruled by your overlords. The rest of us will avoid such places, and be glad the Eternal September has led to this, finally. We might get the fucking Internet back at last. The spammers and trolls are parasites on the likes of you.

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#45795897)

The Eternal September allowed the unwashed masses to access the Internet that had previously been a walled garden for academics. Those walls work both ways, and you seem to have enjoyed being on the inside.

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796051)

"The Eternal September" happened precisely because the Internet was not a walled garden back then. Not everything which causes a homogenous group to form is a walled garden. The "walled garden" is a metaphor for a privately owned and controlled exclusive area. Academics did not have the power of ownership over the net and could not exclude others from it.

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 9 months ago | (#45795915)

As others have pointed out, it doesn't really work that way. You hope that people posting under their real identity will show restraint, but in practice the comments are often just as nasty. Besides, it is not that hard to create a fake FB or G+ account.

And the flip side is that even posting polite, innocent comments can have real-world consequences. For example: openly professing an affiliation with certain "bad" political parties may (and here in NL: did!) result in being discriminated against at work or in class. It's gotten pretty bad over here, and I certainly will not post even my moderate and reasonable political views under my real name anymore.

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (3, Insightful)

twocows (1216842) | about 9 months ago | (#45796023)

There are already limits anywhere you go, even in places with almost completely anonymous speech (4chan has rules, too, and a moderation team to enforce them). This real name system won't lead to people "watching what they say;" look on Facebook and you'll see that real name tie-ins have very little effectiveness on that. What it will do is lead to a certain set of people choosing not to speak their mind and voice their opinions where there may be real life consequences (which is to say, anything outside cultural norms or anything that goes against the "accepted opinions" of society at large). In the worst case, someone who has something insightful to say about an issue that really needs to be discussed will opt to remain silent when it matters most. I don't think this is where we should be going. I think we as a society should be moving toward a place of more free discussion of ideas and issues, not a less free place. I think there are better solutions out there to deal with individuals who are acting outright malicious that don't stifle intelligent discussion.

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796091)

POTUS Obama does too. You go, NSA!

Re:It only takes a couple of commenters .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796151)

Why aren't you using your real name, then? I'd like to continue this conversation face-to-face.

fictional history of grand heritage killing US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795659)

ego/fear based WMD on credit neogod corepirate nazi crown royals herding us like captivated believers. nothing new in centuries. free the innocent stem cells... never a better time to consider ourselves in relation to momkind our spiritual centerpeace.

Re:fictional history of grand heritage killing US (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#45795901)

Gesundheit.

why not just ignore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795661)

Isn't it easier for users to just ignore the over the top ridiculous comments? Noone is really interested anyway, and any form of relevant discourse would beget better discussions. People aren't stupid, they know when the comments aren't worth spending time over. Only the publications that want to retain their veneer of respectability restrict posts, driving people to meta forums to do their discussion. Aggregate enough of them, the meta site will face the same problems, but this time without having to bow to the advertising dollar.

Re:why not just ignore? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 9 months ago | (#45795875)

Why should they have to ignore them? I have little sympathy for the support of online douches.

Re:why not just ignore? (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 9 months ago | (#45795919)

Isn't it easier for users to just ignore the over the top ridiculous comments?

Not after a certain saturation point. If I see 2 pagedowns of garbage, I'm off to some other site.
Signal to noise ratio as someone said earlier.

Nigger Hitler Fuck (5, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | about 9 months ago | (#45795671)

That is all.

Re:Nigger Hitler Fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795781)

That is all.

I think your point is underappreciated. What actually happens with a forced decrease in the ability to be pseudonymous on the Internet is that we see a chilling effect; a corresponding reduction in freedom of expression. Some might argue that "Nigger Hitler Fuck" has no merit, but I disagree. Anything that can lead to contemplation and discourse has merit. Those that believe there are things which truly have no merit at all should just move along and not read them.

For that reason, I believe that sites that force Google+ and Facebook account tying and "confirmation" with mobile phone numbers are worth less than sites that allow anonymous posting. I'm not going to try to quash them or legislate them out of existence however; I support their right to exist. I'm just not going to use them.

Re:Nigger Hitler Fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795789)

So is that supposed to be a black man fucking Hitler or a black Hitler fucking people?

Re:Nigger Hitler Fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795895)

I interpreted it as a statement that people should consider that there will be things that will simply no longer be said if anonymity is not available. For every reason that that's a good thing, there's a reason why that's a bad thing.

Create a fake Facebook account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795677)

Problem solved.

Re:Create a fake Facebook account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795713)

That's a criminal offense in some jurisdictions.

Re:Create a fake Facebook account (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#45795771)

Bruce Wayne has the lawyers to beat that wrap...

Who am I you ask?... I am Batman!

Re:Create a fake Facebook account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795933)

Si! And I am ... Bat Manuel!

Re:Create a fake Facebook account (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 9 months ago | (#45795975)

That's a criminal offense in some jurisdictions.

So is spouting hate or other language people find offensive. Making something illegal does not automatically stop people from doing it, especially without enforcement. What are facebook gonig to do? Ban the acconut? Too late, the posts have already been made. Call the authorities? They likely don't have sufficient evidence and even if they did I doubt any enforcement personage is going to consider it really worth their time. Sue? Certainly not worth the cost of their lawyer's time.

Growing up to fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795683)

Big Brother thinks this development is doubleplus good!

Non-anonymous comments are worse (5, Insightful)

MrVictor (872700) | about 9 months ago | (#45795687)

Take a look at the Facebook comment section of any sports article. The caustic comments are still there, and contrary to what they want you believe, are worse than ever. Now, instead of your typical benign flames and trolls you have truly nasty, personal insults aimed at a poster's wife and kids or something. It's truly disgusting. If these sites thought real identities were going to stop this thing, they were sorely mistaken. The masses have absolutely no dignity.

Re:Non-anonymous comments are worse (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795821)

Exactly. Don't get fooled, there's plenty of people who are not ashamed of how stupid they are (or they don't even know it). There's plenty of people who are not shy to express their opinions, anonymous or not. What you don't get with real names system is people who have knowledge to share but don't want to be identified in fear of losing their jobs of being harassed.

Re:Non-anonymous comments are worse (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 9 months ago | (#45795949)

Exactly. Don't get fooled, there's plenty of people who are not ashamed of how stupid they are (or they don't even know it).

Hey now. We don't want to start hammering the dork dynasty dude again. Let's only complain about fundamentalist Muslims in far away countries. Let's not talk about fundamentalist Christians living in the swamps and deserets of America.

Re:Non-anonymous comments are worse (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796027)

It's not about improving anything, it's about selling your personal information. Why are so many people over-thinking this?

Growing Up (1)

ConaxConax (1886430) | about 9 months ago | (#45795705)

'We are reaching a place where the Internet is growing up. These changes represent a maturing (online) environment.' - what's so grown up about attaching real names to online posts? Is stifling anonymity really that mature, or is it just about easier peer pressure guided moderation with marketing prospects and profiling? Paper mail can be anonymous and they can send comments to newspapers that get published and people don't seem to have an issue with that, so what's the problem with it when it is online?

Not true! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 9 months ago | (#45795711)

Sites like YouTube and the Huffington Post are leading the charge, requiring users to log in via Google+ and Facebook respectively in order to establish a real-world identity.

I still maintain my fake but according to facebook and Google+, "true identities" of myself. And guess what; it was very easy to get it set up.

Re:Not true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795775)

The problem is Huffington Post required a phone # to verify. Do you keep a throwaway phone handy for that too along with your fake ID?

Re:Not true! (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 9 months ago | (#45795961)

I still maintain my fake but according to facebook and Google+, "true identities" of myself.

You mean Ronald McDonald isn't real!?! He must be real if I can post on his wall.

There are degrees of anonymity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795715)

People have different things in mind when they talk about anonymous (or non-anonymous) posts. From most anonymous to least, we have

1. Anonymously posted via Tor or similar concealing network (but you need to be smartah about it than that Hahvahd kid was)
2. AC like this one (the NSA presumably knows who I am, if they care)
3. Logged in, registered via an email account e.g. gmail or yahoo mail
4. Personal blog under a pseudonym, e.g. Mini Microsoft
5. Logged in, registered via a so-called "real name" account like FB
6. Personal blog under a real name

The desire for people to be fearful (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795723)

Pretty much all arguments against online anonymity boil down to the desire for people to feel fear.

Particularly, variants of fear of how they will be treated if they write what they think.

Fear of how their colleagues will react, fear of how their family will react, fear of retribution from those who disagree, etc.

You wanted to write anonymously? Well, now you have to write under your full name. How are you going to modify what you write as a result, and why?

I point out that the Hollywood List of McCarthyism was NOT a government policy, but a VOLUNTARY NON-GOVERNMENTAL policy that simply involved banning people from jobs if they had particular views which they voiced. Was this a restriction on freedom of speech? Obviously not - people must count on having reactions against them if they voice objectionable views.

Re:The desire for people to be fearful (0)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 9 months ago | (#45795927)

Pretty much all arguments against online anonymity boil down to the desire for people to feel fear.

Do not project onto others what you believe them to believe. Just because *you* want rampant douchery in comment sections doesn't mean everyone else does.

Get what I did there? If that's not what you think, perhaps you need to expand your views of others.

one of the (few) things fark does well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795729)

the ignore button also gives you the option to ignore any comments that quote someone you ignored, so you can truly remove someone from your mental space if you don't want to waste brain cycles on them

Cunts. (5, Funny)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 9 months ago | (#45795741)

Hi.
My name is Johan Smith, and I live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC.

I just logged in to say, you're all a bunch of cunts. Soulskill is a cunt. The mods are all cunts. And this article was written by a cunt.

Anyone who thinks that non-anonymous commentating will drive away the trolls, and the hacks, and the flamebaiters, is insane, and/or a cunt.

Also, anyone who thinks that people are using their real names on the Internet is probably wrong.

Anonymous ;-) says:... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795759)

It's the exact reason why people left Huffington post in droves afterwards. Deleted it from my bookmarks and won't go back!

Censorship by Another Name (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795773)

Ok, not really, but what a sensational headline!

Most of the sites using facingbooks and other comment systems ban comments someone, somewhere, in the media property don't like, which turns out to be most of the interesting comments. And then comments just die.

The "Internet is growing up" has many meanings, but the one the most powerful Americans want is one that is a broadcast-only sh!t pipe the broadcaster can endlessly quantize and monetize their viewers. Discouraging comments fits in nicely with those plans!

Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795777)

I don't think so!

NSA Initiative (0)

craigminah (1885846) | about 9 months ago | (#45795793)

This is just a push by NSA-backed companies to make it easier for them to track everyone's comments and will allow for more accurate targeting by their drones. I don't trust Facebook or the Google so let's hope this doesn't come to fruition.

No. This is really bad. (5, Insightful)

twocows (1216842) | about 9 months ago | (#45795797)

Listen, part of the reason anonymous (and to a lesser extent, pseudonymous) commenting is a good thing is because you can say something you wouldn't normally be able to say for fear of some sort of real life consequences. I'm not talking about "trolling," I'm talking about political opinions or affinity for ideas or concepts that are looked down upon in polite society. Tying your real name to this means that anyone can find it and stifles free speech. Additionally, truly anonymous speech has to be judged on content, since there is no concept of reputation. If you say something stupid, someone will probably call you out on it and construct a logical explanation as to why you are wrong. Ironically, anonymous speech tends toward a place of more well-informed opinions, even if individual messages may vary greatly in quality.

This move away toward "real name" tie-ins is bad any way you cut it. Yes, it cuts down on "trolling," but the cost is too high. There are other ways to cut back on that, anyway, like hiring more effective moderation staff. Even 4chan has a moderation team and users are able to report individual posts (though their moderation team is rather spotty and various less effective solutions often crop up in their absence). There are problems with any solution, but real-name tie-ins will end up with people tip-toeing around, which stifles intelligent discussion and leads to relative echo chambers where only the popular opinion is parroted.

Re:No. This is really bad. (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 9 months ago | (#45796017)

Listen, part of the reason anonymous (and to a lesser extent, pseudonymous) commenting is a good thing is because you can say something you wouldn't normally be able to say for fear of some sort of real life consequences.... Yes, it cuts down on "trolling," but the cost is too high

Disagree. What's going to change from a bunch of anonymous posts? Hell, they might have all been written by the same lobbying group or sales organization.
Nothing changed during the McCarthy error from anonymous people complaining. What changed was real people standing up and saying their opinions out loud in front of congress and the American people. Egyptians can whine all they want anonymously on the internet but when they finally go stand in front of the government palace, then things start to change.

Spewing crap on the internet is about the same as spewing opinions in a bar. Don't pretend it is something holy or important.

Re:No. This is really bad. (3, Interesting)

twocows (1216842) | about 9 months ago | (#45796057)

Discussing issues with others, hearing critical feedback, better informs you about the issue. It's unlikely that any one particular anonymous comment is going to directly affect the world at large (though it might), but that's not the point. The point is to have a more informed and intelligent population, one that is able to come to their own conclusions, see and admit the flaws in their own reasoning, and possibly reach a consensus on an issue that is better than where we were before. Discussing a controversial topic at length in an anonymous setting, you might one day be confident enough in the truth of your position to speak on it publicly, to take a stand on an issue when it matters. And others may do the same.

Censorship by Another Name (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | about 9 months ago | (#45795799)

Ok, not really, but what a sensational headline!

Most of the sites using facingbooks and other comment systems ban comments someone, somewhere, in the media property don't like, which turns out to be most of the interesting comments. And then comments just die.

The "Internet is growing up" has many meanings, but the one the most powerful Americans want is one that is a broadcast-only sh!t pipe the broadcaster (Media Monopolists) can endlessly quantize and monetize their viewers. Discouraging comments fits in nicely with those plans!

No we are not (1)

zmooc (33175) | about 9 months ago | (#45795849)

Internet Commenting is not growing away from anonymity at all. However, some high profile sites that value traffic over content have determined that boring places tend to attract more people since the vast majority of people simply is extremely boring. Anonymous non-boring commenting will always be around. It's just not compatible with the desires of the bulk of advertisers that pay for the boring parts Internet.

newapers dont want (0)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45795877)

the hoi polloi getting above themselves and actually having an opinion for our selves we are meant to be passive consumers for their advertisers

I just want pseudonymity (5, Insightful)

GlobalEcho (26240) | about 9 months ago | (#45795881)

I generally refuse to post anything but the most anodyne statements on public web forums under my own name. Who knows what political or cultural opinion some future interlocutor might find offensive?

However, give me a pseudonym and I'm happy to post. The risk of search engines making the association is small. I'm fine with being legally responsible (and culturally anonymous) for what I post, which is precisely what pseudonymity gives me.

As with moderation, this is something Slashdot gets more or less right.

Usenet (3, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | about 9 months ago | (#45795891)

Talk about going full circle. Back in the days of usenet your identity for comments was tied to your real name and your professional email. Then we had the anonymous internet with little in the way of ties that came when the AOL crowd got internet. I've often wondered what the internet of today would be like with the policies of then.

The big difference was that most people worked for academia which is a very open environment where people don't get disciplined for opinions.

Re:Usenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796013)

The big difference was that most people worked for academia which is a very open environment where people don't get disciplined for opinions.

was and didn't

Internet Drivers License (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795921)

A concerted effort is being made to stifle anonymous expression. Ruling powers would control and police the Internet.

But speech is unlike driving a car. Free speech is freedom of thought, freedom of communication, freedom of assembly.
I don't need a license for that.

Anon.

I always post anonymously (1)

cerberusss (660701) | about 9 months ago | (#45795939)

Slashdot editor Soulskill sucks cocks! And CowboyNeal is a cum-guzzling karma whore!

I always post anonymously for obvious reasons.

3 Possible Roots (4, Interesting)

retroworks (652802) | about 9 months ago | (#45795947)

1) Potential for greater liability if the Site Owner tries to moderate but occasionally lets one slip.

2) Potential for greater profit if linked accounts are worth more to advertisers

3) China cracked down on anonymity (article from a year ago http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-12/28/china-internet-registration [wired.co.uk] ) and we can't be left behind

Naive journalism (4, Insightful)

tom229 (1640685) | about 9 months ago | (#45795981)

This is for advertising/data mining purposes only. It has nothing to do with the "maturity" of the Internet, and it's completely wrong.

Quite frankly you'd be silly to volunteer your identity in any public forum unless you're willing to deal with the consequences. And the consequences of being in the public spotlight are real and plenty.

opens the door (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45795989)

The big problem here is that liberals and unions are known for targeting and attacking non-liberals when they post things that are critical of those groups. It is not uncommon for those groups to attack people at their homes or employers.

Anonymous posting opens up free thought of ideas without worrying about destroying your career for expressing your views.

What about the success of Reddit? (1)

bheckel (128323) | about 9 months ago | (#45796041)

The ability to take on a non-trackable identity makes posting less stressful for me. I think it enhances the discussions as a whole, despite the occasional troll.

Take a bow... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796047)

Slashdot and almost every other site with comments lead the charge on all this fucking YEARS ago.

Yes, you can still post anon here, but no one will mod you up to visibility unless you post pure gold. Mostly, if you choose to not post whatever passes for "pc" here you will be trolled and belittled for not having the guts to make an account(alias) here so that you might rethink having an opinion other than what the gloriously well known posters of this fine board would tolerate. Only the 'known' have opinions worth digesting, all others are not worth the power to light those pixels. Sound familiar?

btw for whomever is designing the 'beta' Slashdot, you should quit and go flip burgers.

The emperor is naked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796089)

If the entire benefit of removing anonymous posting is the implicit threat of force against commentators, who would take such a site seriously? Who would say "if you write the word 'nigger' in any context ever, you'll simply be hosing future employment opportunities"? Or that if you say something unpopular enough, that the majority can lynch you for it later?

It's all a sword to your neck. Anyone who wants your face to be associated with each and every one of your words is threatening real life violence upon you. They are doing it for reasons of their own profitability, and nothing else.

Of course, you can have a fake facebook, fake google plus, fake everything. Dedicated trolls will. But much more threatening, you can have a dumbkid who doesn't GIVE A FUCK and posts wildly offensive shit under his real name at 18 and then at 28 finds that the data miners really have his number.

Non-anonymous commenting only exists as an intention to harm the userbase, with real threatened force. It's the threat of violence.

CNN vs. Reddit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796113)

The CNN forums are an excellent example of an utterly mindless cesspool of hate, stupidity, and trolling combined with Google+/Facebook/Twitter reduced anonymity.

Reddit's an excellent example of pseudonymous posters behaving due to a combination of user-based moderation and Pavlovian pellet-seeking with a dash of "just right" (what I call it when a site feels simple and lightweight and paints fast and doesn't fill the browser's logs with 500 javascript and CSS errors per page paint... hint hint).

So, I don't buy the argument that this is about reducing vitriolic comments, though I could buy that it's about making the mistake of believing that there's an Easy button that can be pressed to reduce vitriolic comments.

Horrible timing for tone-deaf Google/HuffPo (2)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 9 months ago | (#45796115)

We're still in the midst of learning how deeply our own government has violated our privacy and websites decide now is a good time for people to give up their pseudonyms and reveal their true identities? Are they that stupid?

Misconstrued (4, Insightful)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 9 months ago | (#45796147)

Just because sites are doing it in no way indicates that users *want* it that way.

The internet may be (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#45796149)

The community is not. People who are concerned about privacy simply avoid commenting on pages that outlaw having a private moment in life.

I stopped commenting on YouTube. I stopped commenting on various news pages. I guess given time they will find out what drives even more people away than vitriolic comments is no comments worth reading at all. Because for some odd reason, when I peruse the various pages I used to frequent before they became part of the 1984 set, the quality of comments in general dropped, it didn't improve. Now you have mostly self-absorbed showoffs that would dance naked in the street if it only meant 5 seconds of YouTube fame.

People who commented because they wanted to give people a piece of their mind, more often than not inspiring or insightful rather than destructive (and the destructive ones were easily blended out, given the omnipresent ability to simply ignore people you don't want to hear from), are moving away from these sites. There is now very little reason to read YouTube comments. Or, given the fact that it has become virtually impossible to watch YouTube videos without stuttering or loading problems anyway, to use that page altogether.

Yeah, the Internet's not growing up (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about 9 months ago | (#45796185)

It's kind of a silly thing to say that the net's growing up. If anything, it's regressing and for those of us who remember what things looked like in 1990, they know that this statement is out of touch. The some of the biggest sites these days are so noisy and nonsesical that anyone would be hardpressed to find any kind of maturity. And, please don't make a random argument for Facebook because, let's face it, Facebook is where you go to post pictures of your life that are really not representative of your life at all. That's not maturity, that's a desperate cry for help. Even gamers will notice that their favorite web sites have become more gaudy. It used to be that I could go to a gaming web site and get news. Now, when I look at the front page every one of these sites have giant images that can be seen from the ISS, much less written content on the front page, content that's stuffed to the gills with spelling and gramatical errors, and a site design that's pushing its own form of social media. That's not maturity. Maturity happens on sites that push for civilised and intelligent discourse because they're designed to do that. You'll always get some bs, even on /., from ACs that wait for a post to be put up to post something vile, but that's everywhere. If someone wants to complain about immature comments on their sites, they should go look in the mirror because they're doing something wrong.

There is no right to free speech on online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45796197)

Unless you happen to be the owner of said forum, you have no right to expect your comment to remain posted under all circumstances. Some forums are run by asshats, but if you don't like it then leave. Don't confuse your right to free speech with the right to use someone else's property and resources as mouthpiece to publish your speech. You are more than welcome to pony up the cash and start your own forum or website and publish your POV all you want, and that is what the Constitution guarantees, but not on someone else's dime. Websites are private property and whoever owns it is free to edit it however they wish.

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