What do Maximum PC readers like I Jedi, big_montana and Ghok have in common with Mark Twain, Bono and Jackie Chan? They all use pseudonyms. While that might not seem like a big deal – this is the Internet, after all – a recent study by Disqus, empowerer of comments, claims that folks who rock pseudonyms have way better stuff to say than the anonymous horde and jerks like me who use their true name.
As anyone with an internet connection will tell you, YouTube is a treasure trove of entertainment and knowledge. Giggle inducing personal rants, drunken midnight confessionals, honey badgers, music videos, short films; you name it, and Google’s video service can likely dish it up for free. Well, almost free. In order to enjoy the millions of free videos that YouTube has on tap, you’ll also have to endure the oft-times tragically inane, sometimes troll-baiting, often gobsmacking viewer comments that come along with it. Unless of course, you decide to install No YouTube Comments, our Browser Extension of the Week.
If you thought Blizzard was boneheaded for expecting its forum members to agree to use their real names when posting in threads, wait until you hear this. The Sun Chronicle is taking this bad idea -- the same one that Blizzard quickly reversed course on when common sense, and a public backlash, prevailed -- a step further. Readers who want to leave a comment on a story not only have to use but their real names, but fork over a buck to verify their identity and share their thoughts. What. The. Frak.
"To encourage intelligent and meaningful conversation, all posters will be required to register their name, address, phone number, email and a legitimate credit card number as proof of who you are," reads a message in the comments section of thesunchronicle.com. "Your credit card will be charged a one-time fee of 99 cents to activate the account. We will not retain payment information after the one-time transaction."
It doesn't stop there.
"The poster's name as it appears on the credit card will automatically be attached to the poster's comments, as will the city/town and state of the community in which they live."
The idea here is to cut back on trolling without having to outright ban comments, Nevertheless, something tells us this one isn't going to sit well with privacy advocates.
What do you think about The Sun Chronicle's policy?
Many online commenters try and compensate for their lack of insight into the subject at hand by summoning their ability to enliven even the most vapid discussion with a highly stimulating cocktail of profanities. But not everyone can fully relish this amazing ability as not everyone possesses it. The practitioners of this colorful art are often persecuted by the prim archpriests of insipid internet discussions.
But the paper’s director of social media, Kurt Greenbaum, who had posted the concerned article, managed to track down the anonymous poster using the WordPress e-mail alert that accompanies every comment. The alert included the commenter's IP address, which was found to be from a local school.
“About six hours later, I heard from the school’s headmaster. The school’s IT director took a shine to the challenge. Long story short: Using the time-frame of the comments, our website location and the IP addresses in the WordPress e-mail, he tracked it back to a specific computer. The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot,” Greenbaum wrote in a blog post on Monday. Was it right on the paper’s part to pursue an anonymous commenter? If yes, then what is the point of allowing anonymous comments? Have your say without the fear of getting fired.
For some unknown reason YouTube has decided to make possible real-time searches of comments. Seriously? Comments are the thing you avoid on YouTube, expressing either gross immaturity or venting some real, and ofttimes inappropriately placed, anger. If there is a good thing about YouTube comments is we’re subjected only to a few of them--and they are easily ignored.
After reading some of searched comments I’m not so sure companies would want to know what people are saying. Not the people posting on YouTube anyway. Give it a try. Type in any innocuous term. Count down how many entries until you read something obscene or vulgar (or worse). In my few searches I didn’t get past the top five.
The world’s leading search engine has made a fresh addition to the Google Toolbar. Called Sidewiki, it is a universal commenting and annotation system. It is meant to supplement, and not supplant, a website’s existing commenting system. Online denizens can freely drop and post comments on any website of their choosing using Sidewiki.
It appears in the form of a window on the left side of the browser. Spam and indecorum are two of the biggest problems afflicting website administrators and readers. The search engine giant firmly believes there is an algorithm for every problem tormenting humanity, including the above-named issues.
“I’m sure some publishers will have some objections to something like this but (at the same time) many traditional publishers also objected to blogs,” Aseem Sood, product manager at Google, told PaidContent.org. He believes Sidewiki will lead to an increase in return visitors to a particular site and so website administrators have nothing to fear from it. He also added that his company has no plans to taint its new comments system with ads. “Right now, our goal honestly is to increase the engagement of users on the web.”
Recovering after a three days of barbeques, fireworks, and general July 4th weekend shennanigans is never easy. But somehow we managed to arrive to work on time today to bring you the news and a couple new features. The things we do for you faithful readers. If you missed out on news posted over the weekend, here's a quick recap.
We’re getting closer to July 4th, AKA Independence Day for those of us in the States. Is anyone planning on celebrating with booze and a barbeque, or is the long weekend just a good excuse to start a marathon session of Team Fortress 2? Fellow nerds, the correct answer is obvious. On to the news recap:
WoW dongle even nerdier than the gamers who’ll use it
Don’t forget to download our latest podcast, located in the post right below this one! We shared our thoughts on the Diablo III announcement (spoiler: not all of us are enthusiastic), debated the merits of Vista 64-bit, and caught up on a lengthy backlog of listener questions.
Hit the jump for tonight’s evening discussion topic.
We’re officially through half of 2008, and it’s also been one week since the new website was launched. Hope you’ve enjoyed your stay so far. You’ve been pretty vocal about the change, with both positive (“more content is awesome!) and critical (“the color scheme burns my corneas!”) feedback. Either way, keep the shout-outs coming – we want to hear more from you. And one place you can definitely do that is in the comments section of each article. In fact, this post is a great place to do it. Every night, we’ll be running a recap of the news from the day and give you a chance to talk back (or is that back talk?) to us and fellow readers in a friendly discussion. Want to play an impromptu game of Team Fortress 2 or talk about a movie you saw recently? This is the place to do it. But first, the news: