The Independent has unveiled new measures to provide greater accountability when it comes to online comments.
Using free commenting system Disqus, commenters have to log-in using their Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo or OpenId accounts. People can also create an account independently via Disqus which is then validated via email.
It won’t stop all pseudonymous commenters, but it should halt the worst knee-jerk excesses.
“If you are speaking up, then speak up proudly and with responsibility. Embrace this opportunity to come out from the cloak of anonymity. That’s for the cowards for whom ‘freedom of speech’is something to rant about rather than an expression to live by. With all its obligations.”
The logic is difficult to argue with. Newspapers would never allow anonymous gratuitous sniping on their letters pages, so why allow it online?
Press Gazette also uses the Disqus system, but our settings are much more open rendering our commenting system pretty much a free-for-all. That’s worked for us, mainly because our readers are such a well-behaved bunch!
The Times and Sunday Times have gone further with their relaunched websites. Only registered users, and later subscribers, can comment and they must do under their own names unless they can make a compelling case for anonymity.