I’ve written before about the value of newspaper web sites trying to create community around profile/registration systems, and possibly even working toward requiring real identity.
Here’s another reason: Allowing unfettered anonymity could spur Congress to take away the protections of Section 230 for internet postings.
I thought of this while reading TechCrunch about JuicyCampus, a site that openly allows anonymous comments about fellow students. Naturally, the site is filling up with hate and bile.
Section 230 is important to our industry. It gives us a greater latitude in creating community than we would have without such protections. Losing that protection would be a serious blow to our audience growth prospects.
There are all kinds of sound journalistic reasons to run online communities in a responsible fashion. Protecting Section 230 is just another reason to set up communities that require some checks and balances.
Also, this recent post from Mark Potts is a very important round up of the key issues surrounding participation associated with news stories. You can really learn all you need to know on this topic from that single post.