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May 02, 2007

Comments policy: Pick a handle

Notice to commenters, please pick one distinctive handle and stick with it. Don't just use "anonymous" as your handle.

Pseuds are welcome, of course. If you want to pick a distinctive variant on "anonymous" like "anonymous 2007" or "anonymous source" or "alcoholics anonymous," that's fine.

I'm just asking folks to be consistent in what they call themselves. It's not conducive to discussion to have to guess whether two comments signed "anonymous" were written by the same person or not.


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Sounds like you want to discourage comments

Oh, Please!

Ideally, there would be an automatic message telling Commenters to pick another name when they put "anonymous" or "anon." or "anon" in the Name box.

Putting "anonymous" as a handle sounds like you are a coward.

Fair enough, have anyway. It really isn't that hard to do.

Putting "anonymous" as a handle sounds like you are a coward.

Making someone change their typepad account from "anonymous" to make up another pretend name like B-Money really calls for courage.

But my comments can always be traced back to me and I cannot behind the guise of being "anonymous" when commenting. And my handle is not a "pretend" name, it is an actual nickname I go by with friends.

Tracing comments is overrated. Disagree or agree on the merit of what is written, not who wrote it.

"Sounds like you want to discourage comments"

Sounds to me as if someone has a little difficulty with reading comprehension. Lindsay's stated goal, whether or not you (a) believe it, or (b) agree with it, is to make things more 'conducive to discussion', so that one doesn't 'have to guess whether two comments signed "anonymous" were written by the same person or not.'

She has explicitly stated that pseuds are welcome. Is it really so hard to pick a name that's not already in use, and use it consistently--at least in the comments you make to the same article?

You don't need a TypePad account to comment here.

Eric, why retype a handle when one is already filled in on the form? Do you think this special request has anything to do with the objectionable anonymous comments on another thread? I do.

Respond to anon6pm, or anon 3:41 if you have trouble keeping them separate. It's not difficult, and I suspect the discussion might go further if you concentrate on what is being said, not who is saying it. You miss a lot automatically disqualifying or crediting based on the handle.

One problem with trying to respond to the content of what is being said if there are multiple commenters posting as "anonymous" is that it becomes difficult to address inconsistencies (real or apparent) in the cummulative contributions of one (or many?) posters over the course of the thread. I'd imagine that at least for some anonymous posters, the appearance that someone else's words are coming out of one's own mouth might be inconvenient.

Also, as it's Lindsay's blog, it seems like it's her right to set the ground rules, whether any of us like them or not.

Why do people try to guess gender or more by the handle? Why does it matter who is writing -- isn't the Internet supposed to be an equalizer basing on writing and thoughts, not preconceived ideas of who is posting what?

"Why do people try to guess gender or more by the handle? "

It is frustrating that people try to guess gender from the handle, and then, having guessed a gender, begin to assume things about the writer, based on their gender. However, if I understand Lindsay's policy, commenters are free to take handles that are gender neutral, such as "1984 was not a shopping list". You wouldn't be able to guess the gender (or race, or age, or religion) of the person who has that handle.

I'm going to delete any further comments signed "anonymous." If someone can't be bothered to retype their screen name once, they don't deserve to participate.

It is also conductive to one's sanity to have a consistent name.

Picking a name and sticking to it is how I ended up with my name, which I then named my blog. Not necessarily the first choice I'd have used from scratch, but what the heck, I got used to using it.

I comment as DefJef or SanderO... because I am password memory challenged on top of being non typing PC dork... If I can't get one of these nicks to work and I use anon I wil signed it as def or SanderO... Sorry... Shoot me.

anonymous, are you an anonymous concern troll, or what?

if there are 2 or more people calling themselves anonymous then there is no way to create a (coherent) continuing dialogue over several comments.

and asking to take an argument on its merits regardless of the context of the person who makes it is not only inhuman its ludicrous on its merits. the context of a person adds great texture to the argument.

words without context are merely words, and aren't perforce an actual argument at all.

defjef, don't be alarmed, you don't have to remember squat to comment here, just how to spell "defjef."

it's amazing that anyone would fight to be "anonymous" when "pseudonymous" is actually, for all real intents and purposes, the same as far as actual results achieved.

nobody tracks down your number and calls you on the phone to harass you whether you are "anonymous" or "skippy the bush kangaroo."

"I am password memory challenged"

One of us is missing something. True, the line following "Post a comment" says, "If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In"--BUT!

The following fields are Name:, Email Address:, URL:,
Remember personal info?, and Comments: -- I just filled them in (skipping URL:) *once*. Since I checked "Remember personal info?" I haven't had to fill them in again, except, of course, Comments.

I have never been presented with a password field; I do not have a TypeKey account; I do not have a TypePad account.

It may be that the email address is checked for validity before a comment is accepted--I've never tested that. Even if you do need to give a real address, there's no way it's going to be checked to see whether it's one you care about.

Just put "Forgetful SanderO" in the Name: field, or whatever strikes your fancy. I don't see that keeping it the same through one comments thread, or even for a whole week, is that onerous.

Is the TypePad software presenting you with a different form than the one I see (and just described), or what? What is the problem?

So, in order to avoid typing in a psuedonym of any length or language, anonymous has typed 7 comments about how doing so will limit discussion. Based on track record, ain't nothing going to slow this one down.

There are a near infinite number of letter/number combinations, choose one and find out that it is easier than cleaning your toilet.

Sorry, eight, missed one in preview.

There's an undeniable benefit from cleaning a toilet.

Wow. Of any post, I'd figure this would be a fairly non controversial one. Most people already gravitate to one handle, and the benefits of it are pretty obvious. I mean, there are drawbacks but it's hard to support the notion that you shouldn't have to stand by what you've previously said.

As for the notion that Lindsey Beyerstein is somehow trying to stifle debate or crackdown on people who don't disagree with her, I have to wonder what blog you've been reading. She seems to go well out of her way to try and see other peoples perspectives, and this blog doesn't really have any onerous commenting policies. There are clearly sites on the internet designed to block contradictory opinions, but this isn't one of them.

I have to come to the conclusion that anonymous is either kidding, or just a complete troll out to make trouble and probably doesn't believe a single thing their saying.

or he's just lazy.

50-50 chance and it is one letter less, I'm kinda lazy too.

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