The Inanity of Open Comments

I am always struck by the inanity of other websites and blogs that allow open commenting on their articles because that sort of anonymity invites chaos, creates confusion and encourages deception and ruins the reading experience.  It is the publisher’s duty to only accept comments from verified individuals.  Without some sort of verification process in place — that at least links a verified email address to the person commenting — you have no idea who is attacking you or for what reason.

Only the anonymous people attack you and other commenters without proper responsibility and retribution.  We must find, and enforce, a way for people to use only their real names when commenting.  No handles.  No usernames.  No email-addresses-as-commenter-name allowed. 

When people are no longer free to hide behind their cowardly anonymity, a much more refined and decent conversation can be had in public that might just change some minds and influence other cogent thoughts.

If you read online news articles, or if you watch YouTube videos, then you know firsthand how awful even registered commenting can be — and that’s why all publishers must also filter and edit out comments that do not directly add to the upward movement of the comments flow.  No comment should ever be published without being first read by an editor.

I loved the “Cracked” story on the “Eight Most Obnoxious Commenters” — that is then filled with inane, anonymous, comments — and it was quite telling when Engadget turned off all comments in early February, 2010 to try to defeat the commenting cowards.

Not every comment is divine.  Not every comment submitted earns publication.

Letters to the Editor in the heyday of paper newspapers were always edited for space and content.  Now that we have “endless space” online — must that mean the rise of the endless, incoherent, comment?  No.  Editors and publishers must do their jobs and manage all content — and that rightly includes comments.

The dire lesson in reading unedited, anonymous, comments is realizing the horrible fact that we are quickly becoming a nation of nasty illiterates who can barely spell, let alone make any logical — or human! — sense at all.

4 comments

  • I am reminded of the story of the man who posted a vulgar word on a website comment section. The author of the article looked up his DNS information and managed to get the guy fired from his job. Not so anonymous sometimes! :o

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  • There is a myth of anonymity on the web — and that’s why publishers and editors must make it clear “we already know who you are” — to crush any sense of hiding. It’s the other innocent readers and comments who get caught by the vileness of the published anonymity of others.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    I really don’t understand this anonymous comment and attack….people should have the guts to come forward and comment…I was shocked seeing this on youtube…pathetic.

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  • I’m seeing people turning off comments on their YouTube videos. I prefer no comments to a rash of words that create a ridiculous wasting of eye space.

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