Anybody think this will work?
Anxious to lift an outright ban on comments, The Attleboro (Mass.) Sun-Chronicle has begun requiring two things of online readers who want to leave their thoughts on stories: 99 cents and their real names.
The newspaper should expect much criticism from various quarters, but it's a fascinating experiment and a bold response to the endless trolling, vitriol and drivel that is enabled by anonymity in online forums.
Pay little attention to the 99 cents; it's not important here. The fee is a one-time payment designed not to generate revenue - this isn't about "saving newspapers" -- but to reliably enable identity verification at initial sign-up and whenever registered readers leave comments.
Maybe so, judging by many of the positive responses in the comments. It's common sense that requiring real names will reduce the snarkiness anonymous responders feel so comfortable in displaying. Maybe the nominal one-time fee will help, too -- people value what they pay for.