A mini-debate is raging in the news industry over whether allowing anonymous comments is good policy. The New York Times recently ran this piece detailing how some news outlets are moving away from the practice.
When news sites, after years of hanging back, embraced the idea of allowing readers to post comments, the near-universal assumption was that anyone could weigh in and remain anonymous. But now, that idea is under attack from several directions, and journalists, more than ever, are questioning whether anonymity should be a given on news sites.
A week before that, Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote this column about comments, leading with this:
Anonymous online commenting has always been rowdy and raucous, especially when public figures are the targets.
"Excellent!" exulted a Post commenter when conservative columnist Robert Novak died in August. "Hope he suffered."
When Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died a week later, a commenter wrote: "They are going to have to bury him in a secret location to stop people from defecating on his grave."
And after The Post reported last month that the wife and daughter of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had been badly injured when their car was hit by a tractor-trailer, a commenter applauded: "I would dearly LOVE to shake the hand of the driver of the other vehicle."
So now we bring the question here, to one of the most active blogs at sacbee.com when it comes to comments. What do you think?