Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why I will no longer allow anonymous posts here

The LA Times’ James Rainey wrote a great “On the Media” column today. It’s entitled Website Comment Boards Bring Out the Inner Vulgarian. Boy, I’ll say.

I’m a frequent poster on the LA Times’s LaLand real estate blog. The blog examines the local r.e. market. Peter Viles, the blog editor, rode along with me on our local caravan back in February. Most of the posters there believe the real estate market is in the middle of a prolonged crash, and it can get a little shrill and flame-y. I admit I have contributed to the flames in the past. Lately, however, the comments have been getting very more and more childish and vindictive. For example, from yesterday: “Real estate agent…when you’re too ugly to work at Nordstroms.”

And here, a poster named Anon has continually challenged me on statistics (see my Stalker post, below), ignored my boots-on-the-ground posts on my local market experiences, and has sent in some increasingly viscious comments. Anon, if you don't like my blog, don't read it. If you want a forum, create your own blog.

I have loved the freewheeling nature of blogging and open commenting in major media outlets. But, Rainey is right. The tone of the comments everywhere is descending and beginning to seem like recess on the third-grade playground.

And, this blog is not a democracy. I started it to try to give information about my local market, promote my services and (hopefully) amuse you readers with various real estate absurdities. So, I’m not only going to moderate posts, I will no longer allow anonymous comments of any kind. As Rainey’s article says,

“Webmasters could begin to fix the problem and heighten the level of discussion by requiring folks who want to share their views to also agree to publication of their real names. If you're not willing to put your name beside that lovely screed, maybe it really isn't fully fit for human consumption.”

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