The Eagle-Tribune, a daily newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts, has decided to stop letting users comment anonymously, effective August 1.
According to a July 28 announcement on the paper’s website by its executive editor Al White, the newspaper and its three weekly newspapers decided to end anonymous commenting because of problems in the comments section. Users must comment with their real names via Facebook or a Disqus account for commenting.
The three weekly newspapers that are joining the Eagle-Tribune in blocking anonymous comments are The Andover Townsman, Derry News and Haverhill Gazette. According to White, its “sister papers, The Salem News and The Daily News of Newburyport” stopped anonymous comments last year.
“Too many used the feature to spew vitriol, bigotry, obscenity, cheap shots and juvenile taunts, no matter how hard we worked to keep the conversation civil,” the Eagle-Tribune’s White explained, adding that dealing with “nasty” anonymous comments is time-consuming.
Hat Tip: Dan Kennedy