April 26, 2005

Anonymous commenting

There does seem to be a difficulty surrounding anonymous commenting on Warwick Blogs. On the one hand there is the advantages of allowing anyone in the world to comment on your blog anonymously:

  • Wider mix of opinion; views can come from outside the bubble.

  • Controversial opinions can be expressed freely.

  • Concealing your identity possible.

  • Its handy when you can't be bothered to log in or the log in breaks.

And on the other we have the disadvantages:

  • Anyone from outside the bubble can abuse people on their blogs through comments, or be annoying by typing repetitive/the same comment over and over.

  • No response mechanism, except deletion, to abusive comments precisely because the comments are anonymous.

I'm not sure how to resolve these issues. To keep the benefits but lose the disadvantages. I assume it is impractical to keep a database of non-warwick university warwick blog community members with an e-mail address authenticated account? This seems to be the standard method of allowing anyone to comment but still keeping it relatively easy to control user access. Another option would be I.P. address banning, something that is often use in IRC chat rooms to get rid of persistant chat abusers. I wonder if there is reason why this hasn't been implemented, beyond time constraints. Perhaps it has and I just haven't noticed it.

I'm not sure what the solution is but it does seem to be a steadily growing area of difficulty in the blog community.


- 15 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. I'm fairly sure IP Logging is on the roadmap. Ok, I know it is.

    26 Apr 2005, 01:11

  2. Some blogs use screened comments, where the blogger in question has to 'okay' each comment before it goes live to the comments section of their blog. It seems like a good idea but very effortful.

    26 Apr 2005, 01:17

  3. Such a screening idea applied only to anonymous comments would seem sensible.

    26 Apr 2005, 03:02

  4. Gordon R

    Oh dear, is this the end for me?

    26 Apr 2005, 09:56

  5. The screening idea still allows for total anonymity, and is pretty much the exact same as having a delete function anyway – all it does is nips the comment in the bud a tiny bit sooner. I would prefer an e-mail authentication of some sort, like they have on most discussion boards, or stick with the IP address logging. It is quite irritating when people abuse their anonymity, or when girls leave comments and I have no idea whether or not they're hot.

    26 Apr 2005, 10:45

  6. I like the idea of screening because I don't want to get rid of the anonymous types (yes, Gordon, that means you) and the 'amusing' pseudonyms my friends have taken to using on their and my blogs. IP logging would be good though…

    26 Apr 2005, 14:26

  7. Gordon R

    Well thanks Holly. I am wondering if my end is nigh and I might have to stop this or reveal myself (well at least to the few of you that I pester). If I am working on a campus computer then do I have a generic IP or a location specific one?? Tricky issue?

    26 Apr 2005, 15:50

  8. I think that the campus computer network was recently changed to allow the identification of specific computers. At least that was widely reported as an anti piracy measure against campus students.

    26 Apr 2005, 16:09

  9. Damn, I guess I'd best stop with the porn and illegal viirus (computer and veneral) downloads then…

    26 Apr 2005, 16:31

  10. Gordon R

    Pirates on campus?? – yikes!! Well I've nothing to hide, it's all nice, intelligent, fun comments from Gordon's corner.

    26 Apr 2005, 16:57

  11. Surely IP banning is only worthwhile on outside addresses if it's definitely a static IP? If it's dynamic, then you'd either have to ban the subnet or ban a random individual each time someone is assigned that IP.

    Obviously you'd be able to guess if an IP is static if there is a lot of unwanted comments from it, but surely a better solution would just be to moderate your own comments? Irksome, but free speech always comes at a price.

    27 Apr 2005, 23:14

  12. Have you posted these issues on the blogs feedback forum? I suspect that now might be a good time to do it!

    29 Apr 2005, 14:02

  13. I haven't simply because Andy said that the IP banning was on the road map and I don't have a better suggestion.

    29 Apr 2005, 18:46

  14. Mark Jarvis

    Look around WarwickBlogs for comments from "Granger" talking about me. My blog is signed-in users only for commenting so this sad person has instead spammed everyone else. This is just one example of the annoyance of unrestricted anonymous commenting at the moment. Personally I think IP logging would be useful since I may be able to track down "Granger". But generally, screened comments is probably the way.

    Unrestricted anonymous comments on a growing blog site like this will soon attract advertising spam if it hasn't already. Blogs has already been crawled by Google, and other search engines. Its only a matter of time before Viagra is advertised all over the WarwickBlog system by some automated spam bot that just hammers every post it can find.

    Hopefully it won't get that bad. Meanwhile, Bubble members only on my blog!

    01 May 2005, 22:08

  15. I welcome grangers comments :D

    02 May 2005, 20:36


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