Editorial: Facebook, single identities, and the right to be anonymous
Here in the small but intense world of writing for tech blogs, trolling and spam are a daily nuisance. In fact, on a highly commented-upon blog such as Engadget, dealing with them (i.e., deleting comments, banning spammers, and responding to irrational people) can sometimes feel like a full-time job. I know this firsthand, as I have, possibly more than most of the other editors here over the past few years, made it one of my primary daily tasks (along with our three amazing interns). By engaging with our commenters, I've made a few friends. Mostly though, it's a thankless task, an unending, uphill battle for Engadget, which ranges between 10 and 20,000 comments per day. The low quality of many comments is largely caused by anonymity on the internet, and the fact that anyone can sign up for as many Disqus accounts as they wish. Sure, people can log in using Twitter or Facebook, and while the number of people who choose to do so has risen drastically, nearly half of our commenters still use the Disqus option, which is the most anonymous. I'd venture to guess that 100 percent of our spammers and trolls do so. It's a major headache, and one which we've spent an incredible amount of time combating and discussing, and occasionally, just giving up on.