Unmasking the anonymous online poster
When independent.co.uk launched its new commenting system, followed closely by the revamped blogs and its comments, I was hopeful that we could start to move away from The Secret Ranter – the type of poster who hides behind anonymity and adds inane insults that detract from the value of free speech.
As the headline said, People may hear when you shout, but they don’t listen – ind.pn/c49Cz. The Secret Ranter can still be found, but I’m hopeful his days are numbered. And indeed we have seen an increase in both the quantity and the quality of comments.
As the article points out: News websites from across the country struggle to maintain civility in their online comments forums. But given their anonymous nature and anything-goes ethos, these forums can sometimes feel as ungovernable as the tribal lands of Pakistan.
Staff writer Neil Swidey concludes: Maybe the best approach to getting people to behave better online is just reminding them how easy it is to figure out who they really are.
The age of accountability is dawning.
* Martin King is Online Editor of independent.co.ukTagged in: accountability, anonymity
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