The jury’s out on whether sites like Ragan.com should require people who comment on articles to sign their names
There’s a bit of an internal debate raging at Ragan right now. Well, “raging” may be a bit strong. But people are talking about something. Here’s the scoop: On Ragan.com, we recently enabled a function that allows people to comment on any article they read out there. This is the way of the world now, and we need to practice what we preach, right? And, just like at most blogs and other social networking sites, you can choose to be anonymous if you want to be. That’s what started the debate. One of the articles posted was a tad bit controversial, and it generated a bunch of comments, and many of them were pretty rough and mean; and all of the ones that were rough and mean were, you guessed it, anonymous.
Is that what we want? Do we want people hiding behind anonymity? Will the fact that they don’t have to put their name on something lower the level of discourse? After all, it’s hard to be rough and mean when you have to take responsibility for your words. It’s real easy to throw comment bombs when you’re just another “Anonymous” posting out there.