The Sun Chronicle Learns Nothing from Blizzard's "Real Name" Forum Debacle



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Mark Hanchey

What blizzard proposed is totally different from what this newspaper is doing. 

With a game forum who cares what people post, they can say what they want and you can ignore it and move on , it is just a game.

With a news item though , comments have much more power. Suppose you are running for local office and there is an article about you on a site that talks about what you want to accomplish if elected. Someone who does not like what you are running for decides to start a smear campaign so they begin posting anonymous comments stating things you never said. Is the newspaper supposed to go through every single comment to determine if it is true  ? 

Another example. A teacher is arrested for allegedly using drugs at school, he was innocent of the charges and it was only prescribed medicine for diabetes he was using. In comments some of his students decide to post that they should have arrested him , because they hate the teacher, they make accusations that are not true.  If the students of the teacher above decide to gang up on him and post lots of comments then most likely they will have the effect of casting doubt on the innocence of the teacher since readers will see all the negative comments and assume they must be somewhat valid. The teacher gets penalized and the posters do not.

If you want to talk junk on a game forum anonymous, fine, but when you start making comments about someone  that will effect what people think of that person in real life then there does need to be accountability.  In news it is often one sided, you know all about them and their name, but they don't get to know yours while you are free to defame them however you like. I can't see how anyone could think that is fair.





You can just as easily make such accusations, as well as in large groups & anonymously, without needing to use the newspaper online articles as a medium. E-mail, regular mail, etc., come to mind here. You can always affect others anonymously in this day and age, and while newspapers may somewhat contribute to that, stopping it on the newspaper e-article, especially in this manner, will not help all that much. Anyways, a newspaper's online posted comments' contribution to the defaming of anybody is negligible. It's highly unlikely that a measly comment online (of which there are few, unless the article is HIGHLY controversial) will ultimately affect the decision of, for instance, a large amount of voters or policemen.



There's no way in hell that anybody's going to give out that kind of personal information, or pay 99 cents, just to effing post. Honestly, the most likely outcome is that posters will attack the practice, and the 'feature' will be taken off. Seriously, trolling is not that huge of an issue for users, and getting more moderators would be a better idea. Perhaps not as effective as this, but nowhere near as obtrusive / controversial.



I would never pay for the privelege to post on a newspaper website. Even if it's only 99 cents. The entire idea is ridiculous, and yet another example of how newspapers are more and more irrelevant every day.



Sounds like a good way to empty your forum... <shrug>

That said, it's a business and how they run it is their business. I'm honestly not sure what right privacy groups would have to stick their noses in it, given the way it's setup.

In the Blizzard case, people had a right to expect use of the forums in return for the money they paid out to Blizzard for games. Unreasonable limitations on those forums, especially limitations placed AFTER they paid their money was something they had a right to complain about.

In this situation, the Sun Chronicle is monetizing their forums. That makes the forums a pay service, and as such the people who choose to pay know exactly what they're getting into. (Or they damned well should.) It's not a privacy issue, at least not as presented here. As a business model it sounds sh$t stupid, but that's not a privacy issue either... unless the owners realize this and get embarrassed at being associated with the concept. 



Here's the one thing I don't understand. If they are really so tired and disgusted with all the "inappropriate" posts, HAVE SOMEONE MODERATE THEM. Geez. Seriously, is it really that hard for someone to go thru and delete all the garbage? Cause y'know the concept is very 1995-ish.

This system they propose is epic fail. You'd really have to be brain dead to fall for it. Save everyone the trouble and keep the comments turned off. 



Okay so let understand your position, you want them to heir someone to moderate there forum? how are they go'in to make money off of that? it's much easer to politely ask everyone to hand over there credit card info if they want to comment on something. I mean didn't you read? SC get's 99cents, its all about money, really. 

 What is the brain of the internet. What is the Master of the Web. What is the Essence of Digital Matter.



Well yeah, that's why the whole thing is retarded. They say it's not about generating revenue and the 99 cents is just to prove you're a real person. Of course that's bullshit, cause they could just authorize a $1 to verify the card and end it there, with nothing actually charged. But on the flip side it's a one-time fee, so the potential financial gain is honestly pretty small.

But I'm sure if they put their minds to it they could find someone who already works for them to do this, or better, pick up a college intern. Hell, they don't even need to be in the office, it can all be done from home or school. 



I think this is more reasonable that Blizzard (but that is a pretty low bar, as I thought that was the silliest idea I had heard since "You're holding wrong." ) Most reputable newspapers flat out refuse to print anonymous letters to the editor for good reason.

I know from my local daily newspaper that the comments section of the website are overrun with biased, bigoted, ignorant rants that only serve to 'prove' to the others with opposite biases and equal ignorance, they are correct in their bigotry. Discussion devolves to who can yell the loudest over a cacphony of unreasoned thought.

People hide from public condemnation (and libel lawsuits) because of the anonymity afforded by the Internet. Anything you say on the Internet in a public forum you should be willing to attach your name to it.

Now, with that said, with the number of crazy 'wing'-nuts out there, that might take their political beliefs beyond a well-reasoned and cogent rebutal has grown to the point where one's safety might be jeopardized. That can have a stiffling effect on political discourse as well.

The Sun Chronicle is missing the same point as Bizzard did. You need some editorial control of what is posted, just as they don't print every letter to the editor. If a poster doesn't add constructively to the discourse, they need not be given a forum for their voice to be heard. Unfortunately, this means some fallable individual or group has to make that determination.

Personally, I found the best way to avoid the morass of ignorant comments is to avoid reading them. I doubt some half-baked real ID scheme will help.



This is a hacker's dream come true! Nothing like having almost all of your information in one place.



Nothing more.



How long until someone hacks their site and steals a bunch of credit card numbers associated with all of the real names on the website?

To answer Paul's question: while the ability for posters to be relatively anonymous can lead to an overwhelming number of people being called Nazi's, I firmly believe the same anonymity gives people the sense of freedom to share their true opinions.  By using a tag instead of my real name, I do not have to (overly) worry about retribution from my government, my employer, the media, etc.

The Sun Chronicle can do what they want, but that doesn't mean I ever have to read their paper again.  And I won't unless this policy is reversed.



I have to agree with biceps.  It's becoming all too common now for people to use what you post online against you in life.  Employers alone are increasingly likely to fire folks for saying something they might disagree with (even if it does not directly relate to them) or posting content that they find objectionable (again, even if it does not related to them).  While I understand the Sun's desire to provide forums for folks who wish to have a civilized discussion for a change, instead of the usual trite and petty flame wars that dictate conversations online, the use of real names is not the right answer.

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