The anonymous free-for-all that online news commenters have always counted on may not be around for much longer. As anonymous comments come under increasing attack as bastions of "crudity, bigotry, meanness and plain nastiness," as one journalist puts it, many news sites are moving away from the practice, introducing new systems that encourage commenters to use their real names, the New York Times reports.
The New York Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post are among the publications moving toward giving more prominence to commenters who use their real names or are rated as helpful by other readers; Andrew Sullivan and other prominent bloggers simply don't allow comments. The trend away from anonymity is helped, Arianna Huffington says, by younger users raised on Facebook who "don't feel the same need for privacy." (Read more online news stories.)