The angry bees are a-buzzing over at the Union-Tribune and its companion website, Sign On San Diego. As of Monday, September 12th, the paper/website will require people wishing to comment on articles to log in via Facebook. No longer will anonymous commenters be allowed to post comments.
As the article announcing the change put it:
“…the veil of anonymity also enabled people to publish some dreadful, hate-filled and heartless comments on our pages and those of every other site that went this route… … Real-name comments also helps lay a foundation for one of our larger efforts: to build communities of expertise around the topics we cover, with commenters known by name and background enriching our coverage with their knowledge, insights and wisdom.”
I am supportive of the Union-Tribune’s decision. The comments section of that web site has long been a black mark on the paper’s credibility. If you happened upon it—say as an outsider thinking about re-locating to San Diego—you’d this town was filled with rabid, frothing, nutcases in desperate need of professional anger management therapy.
While Facebook log-ins are not completely foolproof, the system does provide some level of an identity that can be verified or — in the case of sockpuppets (fake accounts) — shut down.
Meanwhile, the anonymous commenters are having a field day. Here’s a few of my favorites:
**Everyone, cancel your subscriptions now. Stop financing this anti-American, anti-free speech tool of the Socialists…. Lets send the UT to the trash heap of history to join the Third Reich, the Soviet Union, and other anti-freedom slave masters that were rejected and defeated by the People.
**I detest your policy change 9/12. This is to stiffle (sic) free speech, I refuse to link my facebook account to SoS just to comment, you already have my real name. It seems like you are getting too much heat from the left and don’t want to use a moderator. If this goes into effect please cancel my print subscription as of the date this policy takes affect and I will change my home page to one that doesn’t sensor in this fashion ..
**Hey, wait a minute, what kind of a world would it be without publishing some dreadful, hate-filled and heartless comments? Besides, what kind of a publication would the U-T be if it stopped quoting politicians? Equal time, pal, if the politicians get to do it then so do we!