Monday, August 08, 2011

Des Moines | Why this reader prefers anonymity

"I choose to be anonymous here not because of what I say, but because of what others do. I will not set myself up for stalkers. This is a mistake." 

-- reader KCClone, responding to The Des Moines Register's decision to force readers to use their Facebook accounts to comment on stories, eliminating the use anonymous screen names. The change starts late Wednesday. The News-Press at Fort Myers, Fla., is making a similar shift in policy.


  1. The Big G is too cheap to employ comment monitors. Halfway decent papers don't allow comments on all stories, and those that are open to comments are monitored. At most papers, abusive comments have their IP address blocked, but it takes human judgment to know what to do. This is a cheap way out, and ceding power to creepy Facebook, which collects every demographic scrap about you possible and then sells it.

  2. If the guy's attitude is that he doesn't want what he says made public, then he shouldn't say it. Period. Lots of people -- journalists, politicians, business people, etc. -- argue their points publicly. Those people deserve credit, and don't deserved to be bashed by a bunch of folks who are too afraid to attach their names to their thoughts.

  3. 7:57.....So why are you anonymous on your post?

    Politicians, business folk and others you mention don't state their true beliefs. They pander to the masses. They fear stating their true thoughts because they'd get kicked out of office by each extreme vision.

    Civil debate is awesome.....too bad it's hard to achieve. There are a lot of whack jobs out their.

  4. "There" by the way for you grammar police....I was in ad sales. Got by on looks and charm :)

  5. I would immediately stop commenting on all my site's stories, just as I stopped writing letters to the editor years ago.

    The serious commenters on our site do not agree on anything, there's wiseasses and smart alecks and crazy liberals or conservatives and sometimes they switch sides just to be annoying. I don't worry about them.

    Who I worry about are the one-issue zealots who call me or show up on my door to tell me how stupid I am for not agreeing with them. More power to the people who choose to use their names, but I have to protect my family from people whose cause is more important than decency.

    Even without a stranger knocking at my door, I may hold opinions that I keep to myself at Thanksgiving dinner. I don't need my views regarding politics or anything else thrown at me over turkey because the company realized we can save money by not even using the outsourcing moderation we have been employing.

    I will take my comments and my page views away if my site goes to required Facebook (or other) identification. The site can make and use any rules they want, as we remind newbies - TOS are the choice of the provider. Their sandbox.

    But the customer has a choice too - and if you want my time on site, my clicks and my click-thru's -- my expectation is anonymity.

    You make your choice, and I will make mine. A website without relevance in its community has a hard time convincing advertisers to spend those pennies.

  6. 7:57 PM’s anonymous comment hasn’t gone unnoticed.

    Regardless, years ago we had an anonymous call in line. Politicians, govt leaders and a school superintendent complained the loudest about it, which was very comical as what they did not realize was that we recognized their voices when they used it too.

    Frankly, anonymity has its place as too many prefer to attack the messenger instead of taking on the thoughts and ideas they share.

  7. 9:27....agreed.

    I use to enjoy Sunday morning political talk shows. Well thought out opinions, subtly stated in a calm demeanor. Now it's all about entertainment and out shouting someone. Makes you want to throw a shoe at the screen.

    Folks who don't have a good point get by on venom, volume and intimidation. Anonymous or not....if some extreme whack job hates it name calling and belittling begins.

  8. The important line there is "I will not set myself up for stalkers." They're out there and they harass people they disagree with. People should be able to express an opinion without facing that crap.

  9. 2:59- Banning by IP address is a joke. All people have to do is change their IP address or go through a proxy server. Instructions for both are available on Google and don't take a computer genius to figure out.

  10. Jim,
    What's it take to open a "Blog" "Comment Board" like yours on a local level? I think you need to franchise it. I can imagine plenty of traffic here in Des Moines.

    I'll link local hot topics, then let the comments flow. Ad dollars should flow freely.

  11. There is no way in hell I'm posting on our site with a real name. We've had to call the police on a few occasions because of threats on the forums.

  12. I found out about this blog via a link that an online friend posted. I am KC Clone. I'd like to elaborate just a bit on my comment above. I am not ashamed of anything I have said on the Register's website. I'm fairly moderate politically, not particularly vulgar with my language usage, not prone to attacks or name-calling. I do have strong stances on a couple of the more passion-inspiring social issues. I have seen harassment and real life stalking occur on other websites, and heard about it happening on the Register's website. Although it has not translated to real life in my case, I prefer to err on the side of caution. I welcome any of those who feel I am abusing my anonymity to look through the posts on my profile at the Register. It is unfortunate that some (many) people sink to the lowest level of discourse when anonymous, as it has made it difficult for the rest of us.

    And for the record, anonymous @ 7:57 - I'm not a guy...although (like you) I choose to remain "anonymous". :^)


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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