Huffington Post puts a stop to anonymous comments

This is an old post but I’m leaving it here for the hell of it. Failed links have been updated (where possible) or removed.

Huffington Post is changing its commenting policy, putting an end to anonymous accounts and requiring users to be ‘verified internally’.

As of next month, Huffington Post users won’t be able to create anonymous accounts to post on the site; going forward, their identities will have to be verified internally. HuffPost recognizes that many people are not in a professional or personal situation where attaching their name to a comment is feasible, and this change will not require users to identify themselves in connection with each comment. Rather, we will ask users to verify their identity when creating an account, which will reduce the number of drive-by or automated trolls.

Huffington Post’s managing editor Jimmy Soni explains the background to the decision:

Trolls have grown more vicious, more aggressive, and more ingenious. As a result, comment sections can degenerate into some of the darkest places on the Internet. At HuffPost, we publish nearly 9 million comments a month, but we’ve reached the point where roughly three-quarters of our incoming comments never see the light of day, either because they are flat-out spam or because they contain unpublishable levels of vitriol. And rather than participating in threads and promoting the best comments, our moderators are stuck policing the trolls with diminishing success.

It’s simple and painless to decry online toxicity; it’s harder and more important to do something about it. We at The Huffington Post have chosen to take an affirmative step by verifying the identities of new commenter accounts. We won’t eliminate every last note of negativity and nastiness on the site, but we believe this change will offer the guarantee of a gut check.

The rest of the post is here.