Monday, November 30, 2015

Does anonymity take away from the conversation?

Lexus Rodgers

Recently, a few online news outlets have begun switching to a system that only allows comments under stories and articles to be made by users who have registered Facebook profiles and log on through the site. This change was made so that conversation and discussions have more value and are being spoken about by real people who want to have the conversation. When news outlets allow anonymous comments, they are opening the door to "trolls" and others who may have nothing of actual substance to add to the conversation. However, is this the best way to go about it an does taking away the anonymous option add to or take away form the quality of discussion? There are easily two answers to this question.

Yes, because as mentioned above, if you cannot be anonymous, it is more likely that people who would actually like to contribute real thoughts and opinions are going to be the forefront of the conversation. It makes sense that there would be less nonsense comments made by people who are just hiding behind their anonymous comment and may even be commenting just to push people's buttons. USA Today stated that they have had to filter and delete way less comments than before the switch and altogether the comments are of much better quality.
On the downside, obviously not everyone uses Facebook and this new system blocks out all of those people and we can't assume that people would create a Facebook account just to be able to comment on the articles. if this system is going to be a widely used thing, it should be open to many more social media platforms to try and include as many people as possible, but even then there's people who don't wish to use social media at all and they will always be blocked out. It also may hurt the news outlets as some people may see this as them giving into the internet standard and creating yet another merger with the Facebook giant.
I think the best way to have quality conversation with people who actually care, and include everyone who wants to contribute, is to be able to register as a user for the actual news sites. It seems like an obvious solution when compared to the social media problem. In the end, the system does cut down on comment "crap" but it will never be eliminated and is not inclusive. It's not a bad idea, but it definitely has more room to grow and develop.

No comments:

Post a Comment