My local newspaper has recently announced the installation of a new commenting system for their online articles and blogs and I applaud this move.
This new system requires that all commenters to be currently logged into Facebook before they can leave a comment to an article that is published on the OCRegister.com
The adoption of socially connected commenting systems on blogs and articles like those powered by Facebook or Disquss are starting to end the early internet tradition of anonymous or false identity commenting. For me, and I believe for you, this is a welcome change in the way we communicate online.
Knowing who I am — who the author is — matters.
For those who are reading comments, knowing who is commenting helps you decide both if you want to spend your time reading what they have to say and whether you think they know what they are talking about. You want to know if they have credibility before you accept their influence.
For me, as the writer, connecting my name with what I say holds me accountable. I’ll think hard about what I write and will seriously consider whether my words are the thoughts that I want to be connected with my identity and to which my friends can easily observe and read.
The past practice of allowing anonymity unintentionally allowed society to lower our ethical standards. The change to comment systems powered by systems that require you to state your true identity encourage the return to a higher standard of discussion.
Comments are a form of influence and without identity, there is no meaningful influence.