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Should Anonymous Comments Be Banned?

A bill in the state Senate would force commenters to use name when asked.

A bill in the New York State Senate could limit anonymous comments on websites.

The "Internet Protection Act" would require the web administrator of any New York-based site, including blogs, social networks, online publications and message boards, to "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post," upon request.

Two of the bill's sponsors, Assemb. Dean Murray and Sen. Thomas O'Mara, say the goal is to fight cyberbullying.

What do you think? Does the right to express an opinion outweigh the rights of others not to feel abused?

Please tell us in the comments.

Frank T June 08, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Our founding fathers, Hamilton, Madison, Jay used pseudonyms when writing articles in newspapers. I wondered if there were discussions back then to ban anonymous comments?
pbug56 June 08, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I don't tend to say nasty things on line and I'm not a bully, but neither do I want potential employees to know about my personal opinions on various issues, and I don't want my house or family attached if I say something unpopular. I'd say that outside of criminal activity that names should never be revealed.
Brad Berthold June 08, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I write comments on articles in a NC paper. Commenters have to provide their internet addresses to the paper, but needn't have them appear in the online comments. I think that's a good way to handle it. Some crazies use their real names and write some of the most despicable comments. Many others, like me, use noms de plume. I get asked why. "So the torch and pitchfork, bible thumping redneck know- nothing crowd doesn't burn my house. Is that clear enough for ya, Bunky?" Public discourse, particularly comments by those in a minority, can be separated from bullying, which is a different problem. In the case of that particular paper, the vast majority of editorials, climate change denials, Obama bashing, etc. etc. put me in a (somewhat fearful) relatively small segment of its readership,as far as my views and politics are concerned. No lynchings lately in that conservative, backwater Southern town, but why take a chance? I appreciate the opportunity for the protection of anonymity. My moniker is well known, and often the subject of all manner of vitriol. Some interesting discussions result. The comments are the liveliest section of the paper's on-line edition, and the heart of true public discourse in the community. Otherwise, the low information types would see and hear nothing except the publisher's newspaper slanted diatribes, and hear Fox News, Hannity, Limbaugh et al 24/7 on the two radio stations he runs in town, having a virtual monopoly on local media.
Jacob Mintzer June 10, 2012 at 03:57 PM
You are right. While we are at it, we should ban Mark Twain's comments (not his real name). Dr. Seuss was a bad man and we shouldn't let our kids read his books (for not using his real name). If we talk to people online, they should have our real names, so they can find our address. I'm sure internet pedophiles will love that idea. Good thing people like us have common sense.
Supershafts.com June 13, 2012 at 05:22 AM
How about people using your business name ? that is far worse than posting anonymously.

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