Newspaper announces plan to reveal commenters’ real names retroactively

(Credit: Raw Story)
(Credit: Raw Story)

“Internet trolls love comment sections because they can be as awful as they want while hiding behind a digital mask of anonymity,” as is reporting. “But now one newspaper is changing its policy so that commenters’ names are exposed, both going forward and retroactively. This, predictably, has a lot of people up in arms.

“The Montana Standard has always required users to register with the site by providing their real names. Once commenters are through that process, though, they can use a screen name when they post comments (this is fairly standard stuff). As of Jan. 1, 2016, the Butte, Montana-based newspaper is making all comments, going back years, appear with attributions to commenters’ real names.

“An editor at the Standard (said he) believes that some of our challenges are unique to community journalists. When a relatively small city is at the center of your market, just about everybody commented about is known, and the anonymous comments sting. . . I think that instead the relatively few posters who consistently offer destructive and noxious comments enjoy the cloak of anonymity in order to avoid community accountability.

“I believe that our site is and should be a community meeting place, and as such, rules of conduct should apply. That said, I am as ardent a believer in free speech as you are likely to find in this profession. I also believe in transparency and accountability.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

8 thoughts on “Newspaper announces plan to reveal commenters’ real names retroactively”

  1. Going forwards, yes, going backwards no, no, no!If it is a small town, everyone can connect the dots, due to the absence of new posts, or due to uncharacteristic faked civility

  2. The trolls who comment on Todd Juvinall’s blog should not own guns. I’m hoping our Sheriff is monitoring Todd’s blog. He should be questioning Todd. These abusive people are commenting unmoderated:
    “AnonymousDecember 2, 2015 at 9:21 PM
    Hey, Man Boobs fue boss of Nevada city and crew, on the day of the slaughter in Cali all you can mooo about is ruinits newest socialist waste of other peoples money. What no Obama screed repeat against guns and the JV ISIS? GO GAVIN, GO POT LEGALIZATION, GO HEIDI HALL FOR SUPERVISOR. GO BERNIE SANDERS. (%* you stupid tax payers is the truth the most hated former journalist in the region only says over free grub. ROFLOL”


  3. Todd’s blog is so well managed that people can even post pretending to be someone else, as recently happened when someone used my name to post on his blog. The saving grace is that mixed in with all the fat jokes, dick jokes, chick jokes, Islamophobia, nativism, racism and bad grammar only a handful of ‘psychos’ ever see it 🙂

  4. I know Pastor Ron of the Twin Cities Church has seen Todd’s blog. I wonder if SCO Engineering, which has submitted plans to build a housing subdivision on Todd’s land in GV, reads his blog. It would be good for all these people to see what kind of “citizen” Todd Juvinal is.

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