The Huffington Post soon will announce changes, including ranking commenters based in part on how well other readers know and trust their writing.
“Anonymity is just the way things are done. It’s an accepted part of the Internet, but there’s no question that people hide behind anonymity to make vile or controversial comments,” said Arianna Huffington, a founder of The Huffington Post. “I feel that this is almost like an education process. As the rules of the road are changing and the Internet is growing up, the trend is away from anonymity” [Richard Pérez-Peña, "News Sites Rethink Anonymous Online Comments," New York Times, 2010.04.12]
Huffington is saying much the same thing I told Rep. Noel Hamiel in February when he and some other South Dakota legislators who aren't terribly well-informed about the Internet floated the Blog Control Acts.
We don't need to rely on a mostly Republican Legislature to impose more regulations on anonymous speech. We are experiencing—excuse me, we Web participants are driving—the natural cultural evolution of the greatest communications medium ever invented. The first twenty years of the Internet have certainly brought our share of surprises, excesses, and mistakes... as did, I suspect, the first twenty years of fire. We learned to roast wildebeest without burning down the cave; we'll learn to communicate online with sincerity, courage... and maybe even intelligent commitment to the good of society.