“Internet trolls love comment sections because they can be as awful as they want while hiding behind a digital mask of anonymity,” as RawStory.com 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.