October 21, 2009

Should RacinePost require registration on comments?

RacinePost's redesign is fast approaching completion. You can see progress here. Obviously there's some work to be done, but most of the big hurdles are out of the way and it's now just Photoshopping and adding stories.

We're still contemplating what to do about anonymous comments. We'd like to throw this out to readers: Should we require readers to register a username and email address to comment on stories?

From our end, we go back and forth on this. Right now we're leaning against mandatory registration. The new site will require commenters to enter a username. It also allows us to track IP addresses and block certain users from commenting, and gives readers the right to report inappropriate comments. Paired with aggressive review of comments on our end, we believe, for now, an open comment system is workable.

But we can be swayed. So what do you think? Yes or no to registration for comments? Your feedback will go a long way toward helping us make a decision. (And if you have questions, post them below and we'll respond throughout the day.)


  1. I think if you have nothing to hide and are not afraid of lawsuits it doesn't matter if you give your info. But if you wanted to tell a 'secret' and were afraid of being found out you might not want to post. Personally I think it is a good idea to ask for email addresses, and a user name.

  2. Do whatever is necessary to keep the comments responsible and constructive.

    What is the value (to Racine) of destructive commentary?

  3. No, It may be ugly but it is entertaining.

  4. And the process so easy to game

  5. Definitely make bloggers register. There are currently anonymous bloggers who manipulate your comment section for their own purposes and others who are obsessed about a person or company and constantly write useless and untrue comments about them with no fear of being held accountable. The Post is not diligent enough on eliminating irresponsible blogs to let the current system continue.

  6. I think keeping an anonymous is a good thing. It makes for more intersting comments - a person who needs to leave the name will most likely edit their comments. However, I believe that you get it up where only one comment per ip address. That would eliminate mult postings on one item.

  7. And the more folks think they can not heard here (and they can not) the more they will go elsewhere.

  8. Yea - I want to know who "Mr Angry" is - you know the gut who is to the left of Mao and thinks that the French Revolution didn't kill enought people.

  9. Require registration.

    As an elected official and community leader, I try, from time to time, to enter the blogosphere and engage folks on the issues. I decided recently that I will not continue the practice on sites that allow purely anonymous posts.

    The following is taken from an article I read some years ago. It probably sums up best the reason I believe you should discontinue allowing anonymous postings.

    "Anonymity corrodes the conventions of civil discourse, giving vent to impulses that, for society's sake, are perhaps best held in check.
    Viciously personal attacks, racist screeds and paranoid rants are commonplace on the anonymous Internet. While such displays may provide an interesting laboratory for Freudian psychologists, they contribute nothing to debate on matters of public interest. If you've ever been on the receiving end of this invective, you know that it is impossible to reason with people who are screaming at you from behind a one-way mirror. The volume of their screaming only goes up."

  10. Leave the blogs unregistered. It's simpler for everyone and the quality of the comments doesn't improve with registration anyway. Plus, the anonymous option gives you the chance to post anonymously occasionally even if you do have an ID.

  11. People do not post their names because when they do they get attacked here. Denis Navratil was threatened with a boycott because of his opinions on here. So if you think that people just have something to hide that IS NOT IT.

    You are going to keep track of IP addresses, require and email address, block comments when you see fit, but you want our opinion on whether anonymous should be allowed?

    I won't be allowing my IP address or email address to be tracked and blocked by this blogging site.

    I bet you see a steep decline in any comments on your stories. So much for debate of issues. You already can and do delete comments, so there is no need for all the controls.

    See ya.

  12. Anonymous comments are crazy and entertaining. People will say things they never would if their identity was even remotely known. Anonymously, they'll pour fuel on a fire so to speak. (I confess I've done that myself from time to time. Nothing too much -- just a little shove from time to time.)

    Sure it's not constructive or responsible (like Web comments have much value anyway). But it's damn fun to watch the chaos afterwards.

  13. DN Baf and Sassa all would like it to be non anonymous. Why haven't you used your real names in this story then? That is ironic.

    Most times those really most irritating of posts. The nasty ones are the same person. I think they have like 6 names they registered and also use anonymous. So good luck with your ultra safe blogging.

  14. Requiring registration on comments will get you nothing but bland propaganda from members of our local "establishment." If you want people to express their opinions freely,don't make them register.

  15. If readers post obscene or abusive comments, you already have the power to delete them. Otherwise, let's allow the readers to voice their opinions without registration.

  16. Sometimes the comments are as much fun as your articles. If readers had to register, they wouldn't feel free to say what they really think about issues and events. So please let your readers remain anonymous when they post their comments.

  17. Sometimes the comments are as much fun as your articles. If readers had to register, they wouldn't feel free to say what they really think about issues and events. So please let your readers remain anonymous when they post their comments.

  18. Just to reiterate, we're leaning against requiring registration.

    Anon 9:40 - I agree and take tracking IP addresses seriously. It's a creepy process and one we only hope to use to weed out trolls.

    Ald. Helding - I hear what you're saying. Hopefully we can create a safe, open commenting system you feel comfortable contributing to.

    DN - Hopefully adding reader feedback and controls will help better monitor the site. You're right, we could do a better job. Sometimes we just can't get to everything.

  19. keep anonymous postings. many people, including myself, will no longer participate if registration is required. it's also the most fun part of reading the Racine Post.

  20. Mr. Helding

    Please reread your history of the events leading to the American Revolution, note the many pamphlets signed anonymous

  21. I think it is a very good idea to require registration on Comments.

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but it you want to express it anonymously join the other graffiti taggers.

    Allen Filloon

  22. PrefersCoffee10/21/2009 4:18 PM

    Please leave anonymous comments... where else can I read Buba saying that blogging is equivalent to the American Revolution?!?!

    I need a dose of crazy in my life, and the anonymous bloggers certainly give it to me!

  23. The anonymous comments on this site can't be compared with the likes of "Common Sense".

  24. PrefersCoffee10/21/2009 7:49 PM

    Good point, Greg.

  25. Leave the anonymous commenting, it's the only reason I come here at all. Just being honest.

  26. Agreed. The Main Street store is much better than RacinePost. (No snark here ... Common Scents really is a great shop.)

  27. Yes - require registration. Many of these bloggers post comments just to get a rise out of people. One of The best things I like about the Post is that you are "Positively Racine".

    However, there is a little truth in every anonymous post that does bring value and interest to the blogs.

    It's your call...

  28. 8:17

    That's right lets hide our heads in the beach!
    We have nothing wrong in Racine. Great Schools! No Unemployment No Race Issues! No good Old Boy Network!

  29. Please tell me we are not still using Positively Racine. That is such a blatant rip off of Milwaukee. We have so many talented and creative people that we should be able to come up with our own uniquely positive slogan.

    You are just giving in to the pressure from those who are criticized here. The mayor and some of his staff for example. How can we trust with them knowing you can track us that you won't share our identities? How can we safely debate these retaliation hungry officials if we have to put our information out there?

    Someone else will just have to provide what you are no longer going to provide. Don't be surprised if you put out news stories only to hear ECHO ECHO ECHO.

    I don't see a huge problem with the anonymous posting. I ignore the off the wall ones. No one is forcing these whiners to read little lone agree with every post. Can they not past them by? Why must we be comment Nazis?
    It does get annoying when the same guy posts over and over talking to himself and agreeing with himself. But I don't lose sleep over it.

    Another little fact, How many of the comments actually have a first and last name? That is who you can count on to be here when you change.

    Don't give in to the pressure. Run it as you have been, just hit delete when necessary. I am not dissatisfied with this news source.

  30. Why not add someone to do some more conservative leaning stories? Maybe that would calm a few down? or not. If you want numbers of visitors keep it as it is and give more people a reason for stopping by.

  31. Anonymous said:

    ... I don't see a huge problem with the anonymous posting. I ignore the off the wall ones. No one is forcing these whiners to read little lone agree with every post. Can they not past them by? Why must we be comment Nazis?...

    You call people whiners and Nazi, you do not have the courage to put your name on this.

    I say no more anonymous cowardice. It's easy to sling venom and drivel when you are too scared to put your name to it. Stop shivering in fear and stand behind what you purport to believe in.


  32. Oh really so you are not anonymous because you sign Allen on your post. Well my name is Fulana Perez. Does that help you?

  33. How is courage being measured by whether you put a super common first name with your post?

    This is so ridiculous. Nothing will change unless people put their real first and last names. Otherwise they will use nicknames, oddball email accounts, nick names and you will have the same problems. At least the readers will. I don't know how much time and effort you have for tracking IP addresses.

    Fulana Perez

  34. Given the level and frequency of attacks on this website people should be held accountable for their actions.

    Yes, require registration.

    People do not need to use their real name; you can register any moniker and keep to it.

    Anonynimity and responsibility, what a concept.

  35. Anonymous said...

    Oh really so you are not anonymous because you sign Allen on your post. Well my name is Fulana Perez. Does that help you?
    10/23/2009 1:09 PM

    See comments above Fulana, I posted my full name some time ago.

    But here you go: Allen Filloon, Racine Wisconsin.

  36. What is to stop people from registering several monikers? They already do it. No problem is being solved.