Always give your name.

In his Slate article Farhad Manjoo stated, “I don’t want anonymous commentators.” I would tend to agree with Manjoo’s point of view. A writer or commenter should always have to be associated with their work. This way the reader can put a name to an opinion or view expressed in a comment. It provides a certain degree of accountability to that comment. It could be argued that if a commenter is required to provide their real name when commenting then users will refrain from leaving derogatory or offensive comments. Many Facebook users attempt to clean up their profiles. By this I mean that they will ensure that nothing potentially embarrassing or controversial appears on their profile as they are considering the fact that their friends will be looking at it or maybe even potential employers. They do not want to be associated with anything too “spicy”. I think that if users had to provide their real name when leaving comments on news sites then controversial comments or offensive comments could well decrease, or maybe disappear altogether. Manjoo has a rather cynical view of the anonymity of the internet. He states, “If you give a normal person anonymity and an audience, this theory posits, you turn him into a total fuckwad.” I can see where he is coming from with this comment. If you browse through the comments left under YouTube videos you will find comments left by people with ‘usernames’. Not their real names. A lot of the comments left by these users are deliberately inciteful and offensive. These are the “fuckwads” that Majoo refers to. A prime example of this is with the teen singer Rebecca Black, who has received a barrage of abuse online for her music. People are leaving comments and posting videos that involve her dying. Enforcing rules to make using your real name mandatory could very well get rid of this kind of commenting. I can understand that people may wish to leave out their details when commenting online in fear for safety. However providing real names is important to make the internet and commenting more accountable.

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