The Problem With Anonymous Comments

Paul Tilley, the creative director of DDB Chicago and one of the advertising executives responsible for the McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it!” campaign took his own life recently. Why? Well no reason was given but he did it in the middle of being bullied on certain blogs. In response to a post criticising his wish to be a game show host because “you need some charm for that” twelve anonymous comments were posted insulting and abusing him. People were so hateful of him that they even started posting copies of his internal memos on these industry-specific blogs, effectively retarding his ability to do his job.

This is a tragedy. That someone could let things like that get to them so badly is awful. People have always been as cruel as they can when protected by the anonymity of the internet. It’s to be expected. He should have made a post himself laughing at how pathetic they are and showing them up, sacked the staff responsible for leaking memos and moved on. But unfortunately for his family, he didn’t and the shame of these attacks took it’s toll.

This is one of the reasons I don’t allow anonymous comments on this page anymore. Although I would like to allow the many people who find me through search engines to say their piece, there are only about 3 mature people with valid things to say for every ten idiots who want to tell me how they’ve fucked my mother last night (taken from an actual anonymous comment left on a photo). Maybe Opera will one day allow us to moderate our anonymous comments before they show up on the page like certain other blogging platforms do? We can only hope it’s before something like that happens here.

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42 thoughts on “The Problem With Anonymous Comments

  1. The point I'm making is that other blogging platforms make anonymous comments invisible until they're approved by the blog owner. Some can even be set up to send an e-mail with a comment confirmation in ensuring the commenter uses their own e-mail address.It's all very well editing things, but when someone posts animal porn links and you're offline they're there for everyone to see until you can delete them. And we all know there's worse things on the web than that. Plus too many twats can really get you down.The system described in the first part of this comment would stop that, and stop people thinking badly of you for allowing such comments simply because you haven't gotten round to deleting it yet.

  2. I don't allow anonymous comments from the very beginning… Though I've started this blog to keep my friends who are far away updated about what's going on in my life…

  3. I'm just using them as free advertising. They want to have a billboard of my blog up on their pages they can. I'm not gonna do a pity adding.The system's changing soon anyway. They're working on different systems. It'll either be "mutual adding or nothing" or the unrequited will be reclassified so their friends lists says they're "Fans of…"

  4. I allow anonymous comments although I've had my fair share of idiots.. To implement it so it'll be invisible till the blog owner makes it visible would work excellently here..

  5. I have disabled anonymus comments, but I'd enable it again if approval was implemented.Not necessarily because I've had my share of idiots, but because of the risk Mik points to – what if somebody suddenly posts a picture or something other abusive when I'm away for a few days…

  6. I'm the only person in my circle that is on Opera Community, and they check out my blog periodically. I would love to be able to allow just them to post comments but, for the reasons you stated (and for the reason that I just do not want to be annoyed with idiotic postings in general), I do not want to open my blog to anonymous comments

  7. Yes, it's a nice post. I don't allow anonymous comments on my blog either. I haven't given it much thought really.

  8. I've always thought that if someone had something to say to me via a comment, then they should be prepared to have at least a 'web identity' (i.e., 'Clean'), if not their own (i.e., David Scott Aubrey).To me, it's a case of, "I'm not asking them to do anything I'm not doing myself, really".Sure, I'm not showing photos of myself (nobody should be subjected to that ๐Ÿ˜† ), but I'm not asking for every little detail of their lives, either …A little O.T., but … if I've gone to the trouble of posting something and someone wants to comment to it, I don't consider it too much for that person to at least sign up with Opera (plug plug) and take a bit of time to fill in a profile (even a carefully constructed profile – whatever they're comfortable with).It's irritating to get comments, wonder who the person making 'em was, go to their 'About' page and find … nothing – not a name (beyond an obviously quickly-made-up-one like, "cottoejrhe56746", not even an avatar (which isn't that hard to put up, really, even if it isn't a photo of that person). Not anything about – generally – where they come from. Not even what gender they are (not that that really matters).Even, "Hello, I'm dsfjghdfgkjdh456456, and I'm a male living on Earth – my avatar is a picture of a rock" is better than nothing … :rolleyes:It's also beyond me why people leave such obscure and just generally offensive messages like the one you mentioned was on a photo comment! Yes, they think they're getting away with something if they choose to be anonymous, but what's the point? I just don't get it. It only paints that person as some brainless clod who doesn't even have the balls to step up and stand behind their comment …(And, yes, I know there's some situations where people don't have free speech and anonymous comments are a matter of life and death … )Deep breath, David … drink some coffee … there you go … Sorry … once I get rambling, it's hard to stop.It is, indeed, a tragedy about what Paul Tilley did to himself, and those who had any part in it are hopefully feeling at least a little bad about it (though probably not). Of course, for such a thing to push him over the edge, he was obviously suffering severe depression and/or stress from other sources, and/or perhaps invested too much of himself in people's reactions to his online presence. We'll probably never know.Hopefully, though, it can at least serve as a lesson to someone, somewhere, whether it be to raise consciousness about the impact a person's suicide would have on the people left behind (whether they believe it would or not – it would), or what, I don't know …In any case, before I take up too much more room on your blog, I'll stop.That was a very valuable post, Furie. :up:

  9. Originally posted by clean:

    "Hello, I'm dsfjghdfgkjdh456456, and I'm a male living on Earth – my avatar is a picture of a rock"

    ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

  10. A definite improvement to a blank about page :up:.Just one point though, you can't edit your avatar from operamini so some phonies don't have avatars.

  11. Believe me, I find comments invaluable as a source of inspiration for new posts. Some of my most popular posts have started by people commenting away here. So never worry about taking up time. :D.The example I gave on the post wasn't really a fair example of anonymous comments. I'd blocked someone from my page a couple of days earlier and the typing style was very similar. But it was an example of the fact that anything can be left up for however long until we get around to deleting it. And we don't spend all day here.One of the strengths of blogging platforms is that the option to comment without having to be a member of the site is there. Until OpenID is taken up by every website I don't want to have to create dozens of accounts for different places so it's nice to be able to comment using my e-mail as an identifier.I'll admit the profile thing you mentioned pisses me off too. I've lost track of the amount of times I've been added as a friend by someone who's just joined the site, added a load of people and gone again, never to be seen again. I spent hours on my profile, picking a theme and making my first post when I got here. Then I checked out some groups that interested me. Then went for a stroll on the blogroll and dropped some comments. Even got added to the friends list of a group owner and added him back. Of course, I got locked out of my account cause I hadn't activated it and had to create this one, but at least the effort was there. :up:

  12. Sadly, in this case the people left behind have taken to leaving anonymous insults on the same site, this time directed towards the creator of the post about him. Another missed lesson by humanity.:rolleyes:

  13. I'm angry at those bullies and sad that Mr. Tilley thought so little of himself! That's not a particularly eloquent statement, just the politest way to put it. :furious: would be closer to what I'm actually feeling, and :zzz:ย ย May God have mercy on his soul, and theirs too.

  14. I'm a big fan of the WordPress way of handling comments. You can set it so people who've gotten comments through before can have theirs automatically approved, set it up so anything with more than X amount of links has to be approved before it gets made public, etc etc. It's a very clever system that would be great here.

  15. anonymous comments invisible until they're approved by the blog owner

    I agree! Another nice idea is allowing anonymous comment posters to let them put their email address and website.. like in wordpress

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