If you comment you should reveal yourself!
Jim Brady, Executive Editor of the Washingtonpost.com blog , has come out as saying that he would like to see a technology that could identify people who violate blog etiquette or site standards and if need be, kick them off. He goes on to say that he's not interested in personal information, just personally identifiable information in order to hold people accountable for what they post.
I have mixed feelings about this. And I'm really interested in how others feel about this too.
"I think part of the problem is that people aren't held accountable on the Web," Brady said. "People say things online they would never say when disagreeing with someone at the dinner table. I think heated debate is fine, but when there are (flame wars), many people won't take part for fear they will be attacked and bashed over the head with the (Internet-equivalent) of a steel pipe."
Are You Kidding?
As in real life, there are times when it is easier or appropriate to keep things to yourself or say them in private. Sometimes you want to make a comment that could possibly yield some type of political or personal repercussions. Are we not entitled to participate in those conversations too? So, here I argue the need to keep commenters anonymous.
Be Accountable, Stand Up For What You Believe!
Unfortuntely, when commenters don't police themselves and keep the conversation civil, I can also see where requiring accountability for your statements might force authors to clean up their words. As bloggers, we've all seen comments get out of control, pejoratively. So, yes... commenters need to be held accountable and have some type of identifiable footprint.
On the other hand, I believe that all comments, even the ones that are laced with insults, originate from someone's passionate feelings about something. I also believe that the use of profanity can be seen as simply having a lack of vocabulary. Not all readers are effective writers and many know it and are embarrassed for it. If we require that all commenters have some type of identity, are automatically excluding a population of poor writers? Additionally, blogs are like private property. Bloggers can do what they want and commenters can choose to read or leave. Is that in itself, such a bad thing?
As you can see, the jury is still out for me. What are your thoughts?