"You would think Web sites would want to keep the hate-mongers from taking over, but many sites are unwitting enablers. At washingtonpost.com, editors and producers say they struggle to balance transparency against privacy. Until recently, many of the site's posters identified themselves with anonymous Internet handles -- which were the site's default ID. Now, people must enter a "user ID" that appears with their comments.
- But on the Internet, Mr. anticrat424 is continually elevated to the podium, where he can have his angriest thoughts amplified through cyberspace as often as he wishes. He can call people the vilest names and that hate-mongering, too, will be amplified for all the world to see.
If Web sites required posters to use their real names, while giving the shield of pseudonymity when it's merited, spirited online debate would continue unimpeded.
- It might even be enhanced by attracting contributors who are turned off today by name calling and worse. Except for the hate-mongers, who wouldn't want that?
These days we want "transparency" in all institutions, even private ones. There's one massive exception -- the Internet."
P.S. Of course it gets worse when ambition and money are the motivation. When most of the money is being paid by and information approved by basically 1 organization, well, you get people such as 'Nadia' or 'xyz,' etc. Usually these types also consider themselves to be very tolerant of others--as long as they agree with them. So if you see yourself here, complain to the author of the article, not me. Or ask your Mommie to.
- From article by Tom Grubisich, WashingtonPost.com, "Sunshine for the Virtual Town Hall, " 5/14/07 via Poynter.org/Romenesko