by DANIELLE ARCAND
I am not going to tell you who I am until the end because I want to prove a point: Knowing who I am doesn't matter. Anonymous internet comments allow everyday people to freely say how they feel without the worry of being judged.
The belief in a certain statement should not depend on who the speaker is, but rather what the speaker is saying. The same goes with internet comments. Why should internet comments require an identity? It shouldn't matter who the author is, but what opinion they are conveying.
Anonymous comments allow people to feel "strong"; since their real identity is hidden, they are provoked to write things they wouldn't normally say in real life, sometimes even malicious things. However, this is just an example. Many people write thoughtful comments as well.
This is where a filter should be inserted. Comments should still be anonymous on the internet, but perhaps they should be pre-approved before being posted. The need for a full name and e-mail address will deflect more people from sharing their ideas; good or bad.
A user who commented on John Hatcher's article on Poynter also had a great idea. When an article is posted, there will be a comment section. Next to the comment section there will be a count-down notice saying "you have [insert number] amount of days before the best chosen comments will be shown". This would encourage people to put more thought and effort into their comments and would most likely deter users that are prone to writing hateful or malicious comments.
While I do think that improvement is needed when it comes to anonymous online comments, I do not wholly agree with John Hatcher. I believe comments should remain anonymous, but some sort of filter system should be produced to keep the conversations flowing in an intelligent and optimistic manner.