There seems to be growing momentum — among print journalists, as least — that newspapers should no longer let readers post anonymous comments to articles online. The idea is that too many anonymous posters hide behind their nom d’online to “spew venom instead of presenting a well-reasoned argument,” as Taffy Brodesser-Akner complained in today’s New York Times article, “E-Playgrounds Can Get Vicious.”
This follows a Wall St. Journal column taking issue with anonymous posts, which I wrote about earlier this week, WSJ looks at “Internet Civility.”
I don’t see what’s gained by allowing anonymous comments. I think with some accountability we will only lose some of the “gratuitous nasty comments” that just don’t engender a real dialog or debate on a topic. So I vote yes — change the system, hold those who comment on articles to be accountable for their comments. Even radio call-in programs have a moderating to pre-screen comments; why shouldn’t online newspapers have the same.