02/10/15 468 W - + 8 - 5 No More Anonymous Comments on WRAL News Stories

Did you catch this story yesterday on the WRAL web site? They are changing their comment system from (a.) the WRAL based-system, which allowed anonymous user profiles to (b.) Facebook, which requires and displays your real identity1.

Unless you're contributing to the sports forums, that is, which will remain anonymous-enabled. An earlier version of this story said something to the effect "we recognize that 'smack talk' is a part of the experience that users enjoy.'" Something to that effect and which made me laugh, since that's entirely true of fire blogs. (Folks love some pot-stirring, except when they're the ones being critiqued. Or their departments.)

I've clicked around the WRAL site this morning and found that they've connecting a couple different social media channels to their registration system. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more. Are you still required to have a Facebook account, if you register using Twitter, for example? Don't know.

(The user agreement screen includes a "receive special offers" option. Based on experiences with too many other commercial web sites, clicking "no" will nonetheless result in unsolicited said offers received via e-mail. Here's hoping WRAL proves me wrong.)

Does this new system mean that WRAL's archaic "business hours only" commenting period will shift to real-time? With commenting permitted on the weekends? Maybe we'll get lucky. (Must have been a math thing. Salaries of nights/weekend moderators greater than income tied to web clicks during same period. Since nobody reads the news just for the news, right???)

Why are they making the switch? Quote them: "A growing number of news sites are eliminating comments entirely because of the resources required to monitor and remove abusive or otherwise inappropriate comments left on stories. We, however, see value in allowing readers and viewers to thoughtfully discuss the news of the day."

We've blogged about this before, notably in this October 2013 posting titled Civility, Psychology, Online Comments and The New Yorker.

Will this blog be making the switch one of the days (or years)? Unsure and for a couple reasons. For starters, we'd probably have to move to a new platform. (This blog uses an older version of Pivot.) Also, adding Facebook comments might mean that the comments "live" somewhere other than with the original posting. Which is problematic for archive purposes. 

Anyway, it's an interesting and not unexpected move from WRAL.

1Real identity, really? Not entirely true. Facebook really really wants people to use their real names, but it isn't absolutely required. In fact, some drag performers recently made the news in a spate about same. That is, as memory serve. Mr. Blogger keeps more a closer on issues relating to performers who favor tropical attire.

Remember personal info?

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