Sep 10 2012

Comment registration now on

I have turned comment registration on. Commenters must now register to comment.

I’m not happy about doing this. I prefer to have as few barriers to commenting here as possible. But recently, one or more people have been maliciously commenting under other commenters’ handles, including my own. Some of these malicious pseudo-comments have simply expressed opinions that the actual user of that name would never express — while some have included comments with repulsive racial and religious epithets, maliciously putting these words in other people’s mouths. So comment registration has now become an unfortunate necessity. I apologize for any inconvenience.


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  1. 1

    For what it’s worth, I think the comment system still doesn’t have many barriers.

  2. 2

    Regrettable but very reasonable. I don’t mind using a valid email but it would stop me from participating if I had to use a facebook or equivalent as a mandatory id check.

  3. 3

    The same thing happened on Jen McCreight’s blog. Perhaps comparing notes and IPs is in order?

  4. 4
    Patricia, OM

    It’s no tribble at all.

  5. 5

    At least the asshats are helping to prove our point. Doing quite a good job of it too!

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    Personally, I find it easier to be a registered user here, although YMMV. I’m not sure what legitimate objections could be raised.

  7. 7

    Ah, the “hey, we can’t do this the other way so we’ll troll by trying to ruin someone’s reputation online for about five minutes” strategy.

  8. 8
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I don’t know what’s worse – the fact you need a barrier to keep the trolls out, or that the barrier only has to be knee high.

  9. 9

    Fair enoughski

  10. 10

    Couldn’t they easily register for accounts with well known usernames and still continue the trolling?

  11. 11
    robyn slinger

    Impersonating other commenters, how despicable. Let’s hope this fence will keep these trolls away!

  12. 12


  13. 13
    Damion Reinhardt

    I think it’s a good move, really. People need to own their shit.

  14. 14
    Pax Gethen

    Sad that some people are so pathetic they resort to impersonating other people in order to spread their hate. I have always followed the policy of displaying or linking to my full name when posting online, personally. I stand behind my words.

  15. 15

    Couldn’t they easily register for accounts with well known usernames and still continue the trolling?

    Most of those well known username accounts are already registered. Some regular commenters may have not registered yet, but may consider doing so now. If a troll ‘steals’ an account of an unregistered regular by registering it themselves they’re now stuck with that account (unless the account is later deleted by admin). They can probably briefly use it to confuse and trick people but it would probably become apparent that the hijacked account is not the person usually posting under that name. The regular commenter would have to choose another account name (unless an admin steps in of course).

    The other way trolls impersonate registered accounts is to register a name using lettering that produces similar looking characters on a monitor (for instance, in some fonts lowercase “L” and capital “I” look almost exactly alike).

  16. 16

    I think it’s a good policy. It’s a shame though that people can’t be honest on their own.

  17. 17

    Whoops looks like part of my handle got cutoff. I hope this is fixed now…

  18. 18

    I think it’s a sensible move. Comment threads can be very frustrating when they get hit by trolls.

  19. 19

    It’s a shame that it’s come to this, but it does pretty clearly indicate which side is the wrong one…

  20. 20

    Not that it wasn’t clear enough already.

  21. 21

    Seems like a good idea to me.

  22. 22

    Personally, registering an account is the bare minimum that ought to be required. Considering the flood of nonsense many sites with open anonymous comments get, I think this view is more than justified.

    The more difficult part is figuring out an effective policy for limiting one person to one account. IP address tracking doesn’t quite work. There may be more than one person behind each IP (possible with most residential and some business connections). Further, people who want to circumvent IP bans can proxy around them (forward traffic through another system).

    Some administrators moderate all comments from new accounts. That works, but it will probably annoy some of the newcomers who didn’t join to cause trouble.

  23. 23

    Weren’t we already doing this? Whenever I go to comment on ftb, I type in my handle, then my password, and the little bar appears at the top of the screen appears saying “Howdy, carpenterman”. (The “howdy” is a nice touch, by the way.) Is there more to registration that I’m unaware of? Forgive my ignorance; I was very late to the party with this new-fangled interwebby com-pew-ter stuff.
    (And yes, I’ve been commenting on other blogs. But Greta, baby, it didn’t mean anything! I swear, I was thinking of you the whole time!)

  24. 24
    RW Ahrens

    I’m registered with WordPress, I hope that’s enough…but I support your efforts, shameful to need to, but good to be able to.

  25. 25
    Bronze Dog

    Looks like my account works across FTB, since I’m logged in. Anyway, good luck with the troll struggle. Don’t think I’ve seen this particular strategy done on this scale, just the rare instance of one woo troll taking one skeptic’s name, so I don’t have strategic advice at the moment. Registration seems like a good idea so long as everyone registers their name before a troll does.

    It’s really pathetic that they resort to impersonation. Sock puppetry is bad enough. Having a few quasi-nostalgic flashbacks to my old blog’s more active days.

  26. 26

    “Some of these malicious pseudo-comments have simply expressed opinions that the actual user of that name would never express”

    Did something like that happen to Romney IRL? It’s not really flip-flopping; His brain has been hacked!

    My name is Mitt Romney and I approve this message. No, I don’t.

  27. 27

    Just checking my thumbs are still properly apposed – in opposition (in opposition to trolls and their ilk, that is).

  28. 28

    Please ignore. This is just a test, after registering with Google+ (which was really easy, BTW).

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