What's your name?
It's a question journalists with The Post and Courier ask the people who appear in our pages every day. Now it's a question we're asking readers to answer as they register on our website to make comments on stories.
Starting at 10 a.m. today, users of postandcourier.com who want to comment will need to log in using Facebook Connect. The objective is to eliminate anonymous comments and thus help ensure both greater accountability and more civil discourse.
If users haven't already linked their postandcourier.com account to Facebook, doing so before the appointed hour will ensure previous comments or messages are retained. For instructions, go to postandcourier.com/facebook_connect/instructions/
After 10 a.m., readers wishing to comment will be asked to re-register for the website. They will need to have a Facebook account to participate in the online conversation.
"What we're after here is more civility," said Tom Clifford, Executive News Director at the newspaper. "This isn't about censorship. We embrace a lively dialogue. It's a valuable part of the website. But what we do not embrace are the crass, vulgar, sometimes hateful comments of people who hide behind the veil of anonymity to spew bile. Lifting the veil will, hopefully, tone down the vitriol."
Facebook is not a foolproof method of guaranteeing that real names will be used, or that nasty comments will stop. The Post and Courier will continue to offer the "Report Abuse" functionality that allows the community to police itself. Also, as before, editors will review these reports and handle serial abusers accordingly.
In coming months, The Post and Courier plans to allow readers to use their LinkedIn accounts to sign-in or comment.
We ask for your cooperation and support in this endeavor. Abusive accounts and posts will be dealt with on an individual basis.