New Google policy pushes commenters to use their real names
By Will Collette
|YouTube's latest anti-troll effort|
Mashable reports that Google is trying to address a problem as old as the internet of commenters who like to hit and run by posting nasty or stupid comments on blogs, news stories, videos (like those on YouTube), forums, etc.
We certainly see a lot of that here at Progressive Charlestown where just about every racist, hateful, libelous or just plain stupid comment is posted by an anonymous sniper. Of the 629 comments we have spiked (the ratio is about 1 rejection for every 4.25 comments that we publish), nearly all are anonymous.
When Google-Plus account holders log on to YouTube and want to post a comment, they will see a screen that encourages them to use their Google-Plus account name – their real name – and, if the commenter decides s/he doesn’t want to do that, they go to a screen that asks them to give their reason for not wanting to give their real name.
That’s a GREAT policy. There are occasions where a person might have good reason not to reveal his/her identity – whistle-blowers exposing a public safety hazard or corruption, for example, or a Syrian rebel who doesn’t want his family killed.
I’m not sure fearing retaliation from our CCA-controlled government ranks as a reason to hide your identity, even though CCA retaliation against its enemies is very real.
Our policy at Progressive Charlestown is to encourage commenters to give their real names. We’d love to have the technology to be able to do what Google YouTube does (since we use Google’s Blogger as our platform, maybe that option will become available in the future).
Each Progressive Charlestown writer has the discretion to accept or reject comments on their articles, though we always spike racist, homophobic and libelous comments. We will sometimes post anonymous comments we find interesting, funny or that express their love and devotion.
If you want to post an anonymous comment calling me a jerk or calling Progressive Charlestown a commie-pinko e-rag, go post it on the other blog – they love anonymous comments that attack their long list of enemies. Or just stalk me in the supermarket as one of the CCA Steering Committee members has done.
When you want to take a stand on an issue, show that you have the courage of your convictions by putting your real name on it.
For those of you who find the Blogger set-up for comments challenging, here’s the way it works. First, go to the pull-down menu right under the comment box marked “comment as” and make your selection. If you have a Google account, you can use that.
If you have a website or want to be identified that way, choose “Name/URL” and enter your name and your URL. For example, Mike Chambers, Cliff Vanover, “Jerry,” “Peyton Storm” or any of our other CCA fans might want to use this option – give your name and plug in the CCA website address.
If you select “Anonymous” as so many readers do (I think mainly because they can’t figure out how to work the other options), you can still sign your name by typing it in right at the beginning of your comment.
Write your comment and then hit “publish.” I have heard that some readers see a red dot at this point. I have no idea what that is but suggest an eye exam.
Your comment then goes into a queue for review. If your comment is obscene, racist, homophobic, libelous or just plain stupid, it goes to spam limbo.
As noted earlier, each author has the final say on comments on his or her articles. We each have different tolerance levels for anonymous comments. It should come as no surprise that mine is very low. I put a lot of effort into my investigative reporting and expect that anyone who wants to take a shot at me should have the guts to sign their name, as I do, and deliver some counter-evidence.
Bear in mind that you have no “right” to have your comment posted on Progressive Charlestown, any more than you have a “right” to be published in the Westerly Sun or on Regressive Charlestown.
 If you still can’t figure out how to post a comment, Progressive Charlestown’s techno-wiz Tom Ferrio has offered to make a “house call” so he can observe what the problems are and help you work out a fix.