I believe in totally free speech. Everyone has, or should have, the right to say anything they want on any topic without sanction. That includes comments on this site, no matter how bizarre or off-base they may be.
However, I also believe that right comes with an equal dose of responsibility — that one own one’s own words.
It is not OK to hide your statements behind fake names. It is not OK to pretend to be someone else when making statements. It is not OK to give phony email addresses. Only cowards and deliberate provocateurs do that.
Too often lately, commenters here have hidden their identities, clearly unwilling to be responsible for their own actions. That stops today. I have been persuaded that some people really need or prefer to use a pseudonym for their own safety (or whatever) and while I disagree with that, I will allow it. But there is no reason whatsoever to give a false email address, and I will check every new address that tries to leave a comment. Those that fail that simple test will not be posted.
If you don’t like the new rules, don’t leave a comment. Your right to do or not do is completely unharmed.
And will you be verifying that the email address holder has valid government identification? Maybe whether or not they’re in the country legally? Perhaps a quick check whether they’re credit score is all on the up-and-up? Heck, you’d better run their name through the police database too, just in case they disagree with you.
You might want to check your fascist tendencies.. just sayin’.
I have had some dumb-ass comments on this blog over the years, but this beats most!
It is quite a challenge to run a blog in an online world that affords anonymity to people who behave badly. Garth Turner blogs six days a week on the Greater Fool blog, about real estate, investing and politics with humor and insight. With great popularity comes a small percentage of idiots, at one point his wife was threatened.
People who run a blog have every right to make reasonable rules on commenting so that the discourse remains civilized. If you don’t like the rules, there’s lots of room elsewhere on the world wide web. If commenters don’t behave, bloggers will shut it down and we will lose forums for education and dialogue, and be the poorer for it.