Internet commenters should be required to disclose real name

Although a South Korean experiment of forcing people online to use real name appears to have failed to clean up behaviour such as trolling, it is my opinion that forcing online commenters to use their real name would change the face of the internet.

When you study the South Korean experiment you see that the government required people to disclose too much. It required disclosure of credit card numbers. It applied to sites with over 100k members. This made people vulnerable to hackers and is against current privacy considerations.

What I’d propose is legislation which simply replicated what happens in day to day conversation between people ‘on the ground’. You see each other and converse. In terms of your appearance and usually your name, the default status is that your identity is known to the person with whom you are speaking. This automatically regulates behaviour.

As soon as people can hide behind aliases and false email addresses they feel free to misbehave and troll. They feel free from society’s norms of decency and let their inner demons loose.

On this site, there are some cat loving commenters who use their real names. I use my real name. The trolls who dislike cats and in turn people who like cats invariably use aliases. And when I ban them because they insult people or promote cat cruelty they invariably create new aliases and continue by starting off with reasoned arguments and them degenerating into abuse whereupon they are banned anew.

When I ask them to disclose their names and upload photos of themselves they refuse to comply. This is partly because they advocate killing any outside cat which they know is a crime despite the fact that the law is infrequently enforced.

Anonymity fosters bad behaviour online. It shows us how badly behaved people can be when freed from society’s norms. There is a lot of anger and ‘crap’ frankly inside people. Their true character is released via anonymity.

The behaviour of trolls online is similar to the behaviour of people who get drunk when taking a flight on holiday. They feel released from the pressures of having to behave themselves because they have become semi-anonymous. They are leaving their normal environment and let go.

These inner demons are ever present. They should be kept boxed up under lock and key and the way to do that is by ensuring that online commenters use their real name and photo.

The only potential difficulty is checking that the names are real. I think this can be overcome partly because the internet’s big boys: Google and Facebook know your real name. They could be used to verify it. And most people nowadays have some internet presence so you can cross-reference real names.

There is a general trend and consensus building that the internet needs to clean itself up and if the big boys won’t do it for themselves which seems to be the case then governments will have to step in and legislate. Online comments on websites like Facebook can become unjustifiably hostile. It is like playground bullying. Adults reverting to kids. The Lord of the Flies syndrome. It is time it stopped.

Although Google and FB will complain. They see any restrictions of any kind as having a ‘chilling effect’. What they mean is it will affect their profit margin negatively. Well I say sod off to them.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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9 thoughts on “Internet commenters should be required to disclose real name”

  1. If they hate Michael and hate cats so much seems to me they spend an awful lot of time on something they hate so much. Ne thinks the trolls doth protest too much. Obviously they have nothing positive going on in their lives to spend all that energy on, too much time on their hands and enjoy causing misery to others since they are so miserable and have nothing else to do. If they were not so despicable and vile I would feel sorry for them.

    Reply
    • Thanks. They are a miserable, sad and despicable lot. I can’t totally censor them because the site would only be visited by people with the same views and be one dimensional. It would also be against freedom of speech. Although I have made the rules tough for trolls.

      Reply
  2. And I say ‘sod off’ to you as well. You’re simply a hypocrite. If you recall, I started off posting under my real name. Even posted my photo one. Both are still here, and in nearly every other forum I post, I still do so under my real name.

    The reason I stopped posting in here is because you BANNED all posts under my name. Reply in the unlikely event you have the guts.

    Reply
    • I am not a hypocrite. You though are a nasty person who likes to kill peoples’ pets. Revert to your real name or be banned.

      Reply
  3. And all website owners should be legally required to follow the laws of the USA that REQUIRE freedom of speech. Something tells me that your dictator rules and insecurities won’t allow that. (But then, you already know what a magnanimously HUGE hypocrite that you are. As does everyone else today.)

    Reply
    • Against my good sense I allow trolls on this site. Trolls who advocate criminal behavior and who insult me. So I do allow free speech but since I am constantly insulted I have decided that the trolls need to do what I do: use their real name. Try and be more objective and sensible please.

      Reply
    • That’s a good one. When you are using an internet provider you can contact them about harassment. AOL before it became a joke was quite apt and banning ISP addresses no matter what name someone tried to pop in. I got one extremely nasty troll banned for 6 months by making a formal complaint.
      You may have freedom of speech but if come to someone’s house, website and act like a brutal hostile threatening nasty troll they can toss you. You do indeed have the freedom of speech as well as the right to deal with the consequences.

      Reply

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