Friday, May 25, 2007

Anonymous commenting

The internet is full of people unable to communicate in a polite and civilized manner. If you disagree with somebody, it is so much easier to call him names ranging from fanboi via idiot to asshole, than to explain exactly why you think that person isn't right. Unfortunately the ability to be anonymous encourages name-calling, trolling, and other sorts of bad behavior. Up to now I've allowed anonymous commenting on this blog, but as the size of my readership has gone up, I attracted more and more of the trolls. I can't voice *any* opinion, good or bad, any more without somebody calling me at least a fanboi, and more often worse. This lowers the quality of the comment section, and by that indirectly the quality of the blog. And most of these comments are written anonymously.

So I'm considering turning anonymous commenting off. And I'd like to hear your opinion about that before I do it. I don't want to block out anyone who is trying to contribute to the discussion politely. Check out this Blogger Help article, which explains my options here. Currently the "Who can comment?" field is set to "anyone", and if I changed it, I would change it to "only registered users". Which means that you would have to create a free Blogger account to be able to comment. Don't worry, you're not forced to write a blog if you do so. :) Of course you don't need to use your real name for that, so it is still kind of anonymous. But I'd think it would stop some of the worst abuses. Remember, this is not about stopping people from disagreeing with me, I think differences of opinion are the lifeblood of internet discussion, but to moderate the tone to a civilized level.

What do you think? Should I turn the ability to comment anonymously off or not?

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