Should Online Commenters Be Allowed to Remain Anonymous?
The ability to hide your identity gives some people more courage to speak out, but that courage often sparks vitriol that others believe would be curbed by being required to use real names.
The internet has allowed instantaneous conversation and exchange of ideas unlike any tool man has seen.
But the anonymity that comes with it turns some people off. Rees Roberts penned a Local Voices post for Patch this week that expressed his desire to require article commenters and posters to use their real names. Two Republican legislators in New York are introducing the Internet Protection Act, requiring state-based websites to have online commenters identify themselves.
Not every anonymous commenter is also venomous. Some just want to speak freely on a topic and a user name makes them feel safer. But when Boston.com sought to interview many of its most active commenters for an article, it found the most angry users — the “trolls,” as they are sometimes known — declined to be interviewed.
Do you think people who comment online on articles such as this one should be allowed to remain anonymous? Or should everyone have their name attached to what they say?