Should Internet Peeps have to sign their names when leaving Comments on Websites? August 28, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Should Internet Peeps have to sign their names when leaving Comments on Websites?   August 28, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – It’s been a weird and wacky week dear viewers of The Cornwall Free News, and I have an odd conundrum that I thought I’d share with you and ask your opinions?

It’s not easy being a small independent online newspaper.    A lot of chores and never enough resources which is why it was very alarming when one of our largest sponsors dropped a bomb on me this week explaining that they had a lot of concerns about Online Posters and comments.    That would be you guys.   In particular the ones that don’t sign a name.

Now this is a very slippery slope and impacts most media sites.   We’ve had over 12,000 comments on CFN since 2009, and I think we have a good handle compared to some other media companies.

Generally people can only post negative comments if they sign their names to them, but while investigating this whole process it was presented to me that essentially even a person signing their name isn’t 100% conclusive.  At best all that could be proven, even if that, is where the message originated from and the machine it originated from.   Unless someone is sitting in a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean they could say that it wasn’t them using their computer.    Now this is a rare issue.  We’ve only made errors on a handful of comments out of those 12,000, but sponsors have concerns; image, message, positive results so we take this very seriously.

And therein lies the challenge for us.      As some of you know we’re a lot more than a “local newspaper” not that that’s a bad thing.  I love that we are the largest window to the world for Cornwall Ontario.  It’s a buzz!   But deep down we’re really a National magazine; one that’s slowly evolving.   Like they kept saying in the Facebook movie “We’re not sure what we are yet”.

Revenue is crucial to any business, but as we apparently can’t get any government grants even though we qualify for a bunch (our MP forbids us to enter his office, never mind assist us) are only now in the process of getting our first National sponsors, and as we don’t ask you our amazing viewers for contributions other than supporting our sponsors when you can, we have to depend on our sponsors to survive.   We can’t grow unless we get them results and grow our sponsor pool.   We need to hire more staff and invest in bringing you more features and expanding.

Now I can’t capitulate to that pressure.  Yes, today that would be a big chop from our bottom line, but I can’t sell my soul that cheaply, and if you give into those kind of pressures and bullying early then the line will never be drawn.

That though is a whole other story.   (The sponsor in question has asked that they not be outed at this point in time even though I feel it’s a juicy National story)

Today I want to know what you think about people commenting on websites.   Should people be forced to register and sign their names to each post?   Why shouldn’t they if you don’t think they should.   I know who many of those who use pseudonyms are.    A few others I have cracked the whip on like our old chum Smee who doesn’t get to post some of his nonsense until he signs his name, right Mike?

Our comments and posters are a huge and vibrant part of CFN.   You guys and gals have very strong opinions generally.   Would you stop posting if we made you register and sign your names to each post?

Is this simply “Big Brother” in a sense or is it simply common sense?   There are some interesting opinions on both sides of the argument.

Speaking of which here is a clip in tribute to some of our special posters 🙂

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teMlv3ripSM

Team Cornwall

 

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25 Comments on "Should Internet Peeps have to sign their names when leaving Comments on Websites? August 28, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario"

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flipper
Guest

The sponsor remains unnamed… how ironic.

Indeed the sponsor is demonstrating how anonymity may sometimes be necessary, to promote open dialog free of threat… from customer and business both.

Jacqueline
Guest

If people must leave their name, they will more than likely act with courtesy. Honestly, I think the general public and sponsors will take you and the CFN more seriously if CFN insists that people sign their posts. All that being said, not having anonymity will certainly prevent people in sensitive situations from posting.

Len Pidgeon
Guest

I think people should have to leave their name. I beleive many people are cowards, who can sling slurs and insults..but don’t have the balls to own up to it.
I believe some of the comments that I have read in the past, have made your “paper” look trashy.
Signed Len Pidgeon

Mike Bedard
Guest
I am both a frequent user, a newer advertiser and a supporter of the Cornwall Free News and Jamie…but not a Liberal…lol! However, I do believe it would not be a personal failure to have people create an account that must be verified with a real name before they can post with any other name! I post with my full name because I am not afraid to back my comments! Ultimately, the popularity and success of this site is dependant on the frequency of the visitors! As a businessman with professional accounting training and through experience with my own business,… Read more »
Jerry
Member
I just checked Canada’s two largest dailles, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and both do not require a person to give their real names. The CBC has the same approach. A nickname or even just a number is acceptable for all three media. The Globe does seem to have a stricter approach as to which comments are acceptable and which do not meet their guidelines and thus not shown. I suggest that your paper do likewise even if some of your readers will claim that you are acting as judge and jury, which in fact you would… Read more »
Furtz
Member

I’m curious as to what sort of comments sponsors have had issues with. I understand that foul language and personal attacks against a sponsor (business or owner), would be a problem, but aren’t they filtered out?
Have there been sponsors who have objected to posters expressing their political or religious views?

flipper
Guest

Yes indeed Mr. Pidgeon… Eric Blair, François-Marie Arouet, and Samuel Clemens — what a cowardly crew.

Furtz
Member
I think a lot your commentators would disappear if full and correct names were required. Expressing political and/or religious views publicly can be a very dangerous thing to do career wise. I know for a fact that my last employer of 13 years would never have considered bring me on board had he known my political leanings ahead of time. I also know that both my MP and MPP hate my guts and would never help me out because of things I’ve written in various local papers over the years using my real name. Free speech is a great idea,… Read more »
Roy Berger
Member

I just found sixty thousand other websites that accept nicknames including Toronto Life, Macleans, Georgia Straight, The Belleville Intelligencer and just about every web site in Free Africa and Australia. I note that the web sites in Free Africa risk their lives to print some news and thoughts. I don’t need the advertising money from Cornwall to express my views to the world…no problem to move on and reward the brave with my delightful presence. I can run and play and chase the wind any where I want.

Roy Berger
Member

It comes down to a few concepts. 1. Moderation/Moderators are important. 2. If slander/libel laws are crossed…every computer has a ping number. 3. It’s a typists playground.

Your advertisers do their jobs well. CFN does its job well. They are separate entities. Symbiotic yes, BUT. BUT. The advertiser with concerns, should think a little harder. Like most news sites, this one provides the writing on the wall. Learn/Benefit from it if you can. Enjoy the crisis/opportunity. Anon is a gift to the world.

gerry
Member

Ahhhh yes, lets cut to the nub, it all comes down to is there really any “freedom of the press” today.
Its not about online posters signing in or not….Its all about a sponsors ego and using the press
for their own agenda and personal trip. Lets hear the issues as you understand them leaving sponsors name out of it. If the sponsor has a legit argument then he will want to be heard by posting to this forum.
What ensues will be true freedom of the press.

Stan
Member

Another happy Pony….

Furtz
Member

Somebody once said that the biggest threat to an elected government is an informed electorate. Someone else once said that he who controls the press, controls the country, or something like that. I think there’s some truth there.

smee
Member

Jamie
Considering you have posted an associated name without consent does that mean I can now post on this site again.

William Jones
Guest

Names should be mandatory, people should have to register to comment. I think those who wish to remain anonymous have little or no credibility. I read a lot of posts here and I appreciate the variety of opinion and idea but I find the most negative comments come from people hiding behind psudonyms.

smee
Member

William Jones
Could you identify which posts you are referring to?

Stan
Member

Perhaps “William Jones” is a pseudonym too…..?

antagonizer
Guest
I get a kick out of this ‘full disclosure’ push people have toward internet communication. Seems to me that people would love nothing better than to stare some net troll down on the street, even scold them for their words, and so the argument that it may somehow it will force them to “have the balls to own up to it” thereby diminishing their troll behaviour is their battle standard in this dispute. Let me set up a scenario for you; A discussion flares up on say…The Cornwall Free News, and one poster, we’ll call him Mikey, starts running his… Read more »
Furtz
Member

Google “William Jones” and it comes up with 3,210,000 results. Might take a while to track him down.

Grimalot
Guest
I say cut the sponsor, they are just trying to pull what many here in Cornwall continue to pull and you don’t need that. Your sponsor relegates themselves to the level of Guy Lauzon and others in asking you to do that. Im totally with Jerry and other posters that have advised that just about 99% of all the major online sites allow anon posting, and if your sponsor can’t have the fortitude to allow you to act the same but instead threaten you with potentially pulling their business, that says more about them then you. And I’m totally with… Read more »
Eric
Guest
I would imagine some of your mumbers of viewing, are people who come back a few times to see if there are responses to comments. Would there be a reduction then? In dealing with people over the years, we see there are some who want to know more about you, just so they can feel superior or can belittle your thoughts or even your present place in life. I do not post my last name for 2 main reasons. Job search/present employment and to keep peace among my family and friends.Employers now google prospective employees and comments made may not… Read more »
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