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Should news organizations allow anonymous comments?

Most media sources today offer a space for comments and many allow users to comment anonymously.

The topic continues to be a problematic one for online writers. Speaking at SXSW, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton said: "Anonymity is at the heart of the internet and discovery of truth through the internet" but at the same time, there are stories his journalists won't write because they fear reader backlash.

Former Gawker writer Doree Shafrir said, "The tone of a comment thread was set within 30 seconds of your post going up, and more often than not, what you wrote — particularly if it was personal — felt like an attack by a thousand spikes all piercing you at the same time."

Do the news sites you visit or work for allow anonymous comments online? Do you think sites should require self-identification from readers?

Yes It Should Be Allowed

I believe anonymous comments should be allowed as some commentators may not be comfortable to reveal their identities based on their position as status. Allowing it would give everybody the opportunity to comment on chosen topic of interest without any fear.

Ayodeji Victor Bolorunduro

Yes they do

Yes. I think that new organizations must allow the new comments. So that they will get the feedback from the users. In the new sites no one like to give their information, because they are not trustworthy for them. So if you are a new user they you must allow Anonymous comment but if you have old site then you should not allow such things.

Yes. It must be

Yes. It must be allowed. There will many anonymous in such countries like my country, Myanmar for people in such countries use to afraid or cowardice for reporting to news agencies. So they don't mention their names and addresses. News agencies must read them carefully and select appropriate fair ones. And they must make some solutions for them

DrKhinMyintOo

Depends on the country, but

Depends on the country, but in the US - no! It's just a way for people to take potshots at writers without having to take responsibility for their actions.

Yes. It must be allow. There

Yes. It must be allow. There will many anonymous in such countries like my country, Myanmar for people in such countries use to afraid or cowardice for reporting to news agencies. So they don't mention their names and addresses. News agencies must read them carefully and select appropriate fair ones. And they must make some solutions for them

DrKhinMyintOo

Do the news sites you visit

Do the news sites you visit or work for allow anonymous comments online? Yes. The readers free to write anything. Their comments are so filthy. Do you think sites should require self-identification from readers? Yes. It is important for responsibility.

Triono W Sudibyo (INA)

NO

NO

Every government will want to

Every government will want to have control over the media and so be able to set the agenda for the people.

anonymous comments shall

anonymous comments shall never be allowed at all just promote healthy journalism.

Anonymous letters are a

Anonymous letters are a source of trouble to newspapers. It’s better and safe for newspapers to publish letters with name and address only. If possible try to get a signature too. Anonymity always leads to confusion. In an Indian paper published from the Middle East, some cowards write letters targeting people with different views. They never give their names. Instead Father’s or siblings names are attached to the letter. It would be ideal to avoid them in editorial page of a daily. But for a reporter, anonymous letter or phone call may provide important clues about exclusive stories. Take the example of Indian Railways or Indian posts department. Even after six decades of Independent India, these departments have not improved much from the colonial system of the past. In such a circumstance lower level employees could not express their views on matters of general interest. If such persons, discloses something with a request to hide his identity, journalists can encourage them.

C.O.T Azeez Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Rieder's comment are from the

Rieder's comment are from the dark ages of journalism, from the same school of thought that thinks the web will cause the death of journalism - one's comments might be anonymous but the IP addresses aren't, you can't get anything more revealing than that.

In fact, in essence, the storing of IP information from commenters and readers is an affront by media outlets against basic privacy.

For the purposes of legal action against defamatory comments, the IP addresses will suffice to identify them and any efforts to publicly "out" anonymous commenters would damage the integrity of public debate(now more freely available via comments on websites) and free speech.

I suspect his problem is not with anonymous comments but with the freedom and level playing field that news on the web provides, and, which scraps traditional journalistim's soapbox.

If we used the same thinking that is behind Rieder's theory, then every NewsLtd and Fairfax news website should have the names of all those who write, produce, hold shares, contribute info, own and manage, on every story and every site - every little independent news website and webdiary would have the names of those who write or submit content, bloggers from third world regions and war zones would have to put their names and lives on the line - the idea Rieder is proposing is not only unsafe, but suggesting that commenters should own up to who they are, though the mainstream media have a veil of anonymity behind the title of their publication, shows a massive double standard.

All news publications should

All news publications should require full identification of persons who post comments whether online or via traditional media.

If the person wants to use a pseudonym rather than his or her real name in the posting, the medium can choose whether to permit that. But the actual identity of the writer should be known (and verified) by the publication in question.

Just as no reporter should be allowed to use anonymous sources unless the editors know the true identity, no postings should be permitted without the same precaution.

Persons who are allowed to voice opinions whether reasoned and well-articulated or vitriol and lies should be willing to stand up to public scrutiny and responsibility for their remarks. Otherwise the publication provides no service and the contributors do not add to a meaningful exchange.

The real issue is the failure of the media to explain and exercise appropriate editorial policies.

Steve Coon

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