Monday, March 09, 2009

Goodbye, Anonymous Comments

We've made a joint decision to no longer allow - or, more accurately, to start enforcing our previously stated ban on anonymous comments. In the future, anyone who wants to post a comment will need to sign with a first and last name so they're identifiable.

Why don't we like anonymous comments?

1. Civility. Anonymous comments encourage nasty snark-fests of the worst kind. People write comments behind a computer screen which they would never make if they had to sign their name. It's one of the worst aspects of the internet and helps destroy the potential of this medium for communication. It can also have a chilling effect on people who want to engage but would like to disagree agreeably. While some blogs enjoy controversy generated by flame wars as it attracts readers, we've tried to get you to stop by for other reasons.

2. Responsibility. If you're going to write something, you should own it. We sign our names to every single post on this blog. Some have pleaded that they need anonymous comments because they have a job. Guess what? We have employers too. And politicians often annoy a section of their employers - known as the electorate - when they take a position on an issue. Ironically, speculation over who wrote a nasty comment creates suspicion and often hurts the reputation of several people who didn't write it as people try to guess who did.

3. Elections. Politics isn't always pretty but we don't need to help out with the mudslinging. The level of snark always seems to rise exponentially when there is an election. Interestingly, when we posted comments from supporters of various candidates during the appointment process to fill the vacancy in District 18, the opposite seemed to occur precisely because people had to attach their names to any statements they wanted to make. As 2010 is around the corner and the District 4 Council special election is in full swing, it seemed a good time to make the change.

4. Multiple Handles. Some people create multiple personas to try and give the impression that they have more support. Stick to your own name please.

So, goodbye anonymous posters. We didn't really get to know you but we look forward to meeting some of you out in the open.

David Lublin and Adam Pagnucco