Anklebiters will bite

Requiring real names does not reduce unwanted comments:

YouTube has joined a growing list of social media companies who think that forcing users to use their real names will make comment sections less of a trolling wasteland, but there’s surprisingly good evidence from South Korea that real name policies fail at cleaning up comments. In 2007, South Korea temporarily mandated that all websites with over 100,000 viewers require real names, but scrapped it after it was found to be ineffective at cleaning up abusive and malicious comments (the policy reduced unwanted comments by an estimated .09%).

I think some people fail to understand why I delete anonymous comments. There are two reasons. The first is that it is difficult to keep track of who is saying what when there are multiple anonymous commenters. The second is that if you can’t be bothered to take the three steps required to click Name/URL, enter a name, and click okay, the chances that you are going to say anything that requires notice are nil.

I’m not saying that it is necessary to register with anyone or provide your real name, the point is to maintain a consistent identity so that people can connect one comment with another. But that identity need not be linked to your actual identity. The ineffectivness of requiring real identities in nominal pursuit of civility is useful information, however, because it demonstrates that the real object of the campaign against Internet anonymity is something other than civility.