Online Civility, Part 1: Huffington Post’s Ban on Anonymous Accounts a Necessary Step for Productive Dialogue

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Part 1 of 4

The Huffington Post’s recent decision to ban anonymous commenting has sparked a debate about privacy and civility online. Do people have a right to rant, attack, and hate online? Do news organizations have a responsibility to provide an open forum for anything anyone wants to post?

In “The Reason HuffPost is Ending Anonymous Accounts,” managing editor Jimmy Soni offers a compelling defense for this decision.”We are capable of doing far worse things to one another when we do not have to own up to the things we do,” he writes. “One glance at our comment section or the comment sections of other sites demonstrates what we’re all up against. Trolls have grown more vicious, more aggressive, and more ingenious….

“We’ve reached a point where roughly three-quarters of our incoming comments never see the light of day, either because they are flat-out spam or because they contain unpublishable levels of vitriol.”

Soni explains that users will not have to share their identity in connection with each comment; they simply need to have their identity confirmed when setting up an account. In my next few posts, I’ll cover the ways negative posting can hurt your own online reputation and specific ways you and your organization can help facilitate more civility online.

Do you support the Huffington Post’s decision?

 

One response to “Online Civility, Part 1: Huffington Post’s Ban on Anonymous Accounts a Necessary Step for Productive Dialogue

  1. Men are making these decisions but women will be on the receiving end of the consequences whether it’s accepting harassment or opting out of the public forum. That’s the reality but I’m sure Jimmi Soni doesn’t care. I bet one day we’ll have public forum “ladies night” when the contribution of women and others that are more vulnerable ostracism and harassment slowly dwindles..

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