Huffington Post to Eliminate Anonymous Commenting

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by ucfgrad93, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Sounds to me like her site needs better moderation. I avoid the comment sections in a lot of websites because they are so poorly moderated, BGR & Engadget for example.

    That is a ridiculous assertion by Huffington. If she truly believes this, I would expect that The Huffington Post would no longer quote anonymous sources in their news articles.
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    There's also a difference between anonymous and pseudonymous.

    We have a long history of pseudonymity, done for various reasons. The "Publius" pseudonym writing The Federalist Papers springs to mind.
  3. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Does Huffington even have real reporting, most of it is just stealing from other sources.
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    That can cost money. And organisation time and resources to deal with the moderators.

    Since all the bright sparks with MBAs are convinced that staff are a cost-center, instead of a profit center, then the supposedly logical thing by that thinking, is to shift the burden onto the commenters. And ok, engagement was supposed to be the driver of traffic, but for some models, it doesn't work too well. They could always outsource to English-speaking countries with low salaries like Ireland or New Zealand, I guess...

    Hate to have to explain the fundamentals of capitalism to a conservative, but it's a dirty job. Someone's got to do it.
  5. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    I tend to view comments on a news site as similar to Letters to the Editor in a newspaper. Those are very rarely anonymous.

    It kind of helps prevent Internet Dickwads.
  6. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    the faraway towns
    This is a non sequitur.

    An anonymous source in a news article is protecting themselves from retribution as they expose a wrong. And, that retribution could be as simple as getting fired from a cushy staff post or as horrible as being tortured in Baghdad.

    A commenter, on the other hand, wants to spout off without their community realizing that that a bigoted dunderhead lives among them.
  7. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    There's a sea of difference between an anonymous source reporting shady backdoor dealings at their company, and some asshat on a website comments section posting vile, bigoted comments.

    Isn't that what the vast majority of news sites are these days? This is nothing new or particular to HuffPo.
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    My local paper did the same thing and the comments are much more civilized. Sure, there will always be the diehards, but before the Internet, the only way to get your comment published was to provide your name and address. I don't see what the problem is.
  9. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    the faraway towns
    There are a huge number of aggregator sites (including Google News and Yahoo) that just collect news for presentation. But, HuffPo and BuzzFeed, etc. are really just grabbing other stories, putting on a quick rewrite and then posting the content as their own.

    HuffPo might be the worst offender (grabbing my own stories and then sticking a new byline) just because they're so large, but I know photographers who spend a significant amount of time tracking down the unlicensed use of their photos.

    It's ridiculous and I wish people would go to the original news source and help inflate the click buys of small newspapers and TV outlets rather than reading listicles all day.

    For instance, when the Texas representative successfully (if temporarily) filibustered the state's new abortion bill, many people watched it live because the Texas Tribune had a reporter in the room, but the Tribune didn't get those clicks because people never bothered going to the source.

    It's a problem in journalism that won't get better until there's a good way to get HuffPo to pay while protecting free speech.
  10. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    I know this sounds absurd on an internet discussion forum, but most internet comments are worthless at best, positively toxic at worst.

    Scrolling through a couple of pages comments on a typical Yahoo news story, and you become convinced most people are morons. Ready through the comments on most YouTube videos, and you realize there are a lot more racist morons than you would have believed. And even more narrowly-focused sites, such as Ars Technica and Gizmodo, you very often see discussion that is little more than one group of fanboys slinging insults at another.

    Some sites, like the New York Times have fairly decent comments sections. But these are heavily moderated - which is expensive. An aggregator like HuffPo isn't willing to pay salaries for journalists to write their copy - so they are hardly likely to pay an intern $12 an hour to read everything that gets posted. Andrew Sullivan's The Dish doesn't have commenting at all (although he does reprint carefully selected reader e-mails) - and it seems none the worse for it.

    Removing anonymity will probably cut out some of the more toxic nonsense. But it won't change the fact that writing interesting, coherent (let alone amusing and entertaining) copy is a skill that relatively few people have.

    If you find a group, or a site, where your personal "signal to noise" ratio is acceptable - consider yourself fortunate.
  11. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I'm still confused by what they mean by "anonymous".

    Are they saying that you will have to use your real name?

    I wouldn't comment if that were the case.
  12. ucfgrad93 thread starter macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Yes, that is what they mean.
  13. Moyank24, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013

    Moyank24 macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2009
    in a New York State of mind
    That article in the OP doesn't give much detail. How are they going to verify that you're using your real name? Right now I sign in using my Twitter account - but my real name is nowhere to be found.
  14. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    Once in a blue moon. Mostly linking/stealing stories. I'd rather use feedly instead (RIP Google Reader).

    Yep, but there's nothing stopping you from making a fake Facebook and then being a pest on HuffPo or any other FB commenting sites. Facebook has little to no restrictions on that these days.

    The only issue is having to log in/out FB accounts to post or utilizing a second browser for news reading/FB commenting.
  15. AhmedFaisal, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  16. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    You hit on the issue that bothers me the most: prospective employers will go to great lengths to find anything about a candidate that they can. I wouldn't want one of my pro-choice opinions costing me a job because the hiring authority was pro-life.

    A little anonymity is a good thing.
  17. localoid, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013

    localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Yes, it is. Quoting briefly from the 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (source @

    And, to quote again, from the same source:

  18. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    This is an excellent point. The comments section of many websites now require you to link to your facebook account. Although you usually don't have to publish your comments in the news feed, it would be easy for a potential employer to uncover your comments on various controversial subjects.
  19. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Not that I peruse that dreck as is, but just in case, here's another reason not to go there.

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