Sunday, September 8, 2013

Statesman to End Anonymous Online Comments

Posted By on Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM

One of Idaho's most fertile troll habitats just became critically endangered. Idaho Statesman Vice President and Editor Vicki Gowler announced this morning that her paper will no longer allow anonymous comments online. 

Gowler wrote that the Statesman has long struggled with how best to regulate online comments but, "often the conversations have deteriorated into name-calling and abusive attacks." Quoting a recent letter writer, Gowler added: "Trolls are ruining whole online communities."

In the case of the Statesman, that may be an understatement. Gowler admitted that comment threads on the paper's website had gotten so vile as to deter online visitors: "I know many of you have stopped commenting online, or even reading comments online, because of these kinds of anonymous posts. A platform that encourages interactivity and can create a virtual town hall has instead driven many of you away."

Starting Sept. 15, commenters on the Statesman's website will need to log in using Facebook—a system modeled on one used by the Miami Herald, where, Gowler wrote, "editors found a sharp improvement in the quality of the conversation but fewer comments."

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