Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Registration Requirement?

I'm thinking of requiring folks to register (either via a Google account or OpenID) in order to comment on the blog. It seems like a reasonable enough policy -- accounts are free and easy to set up (and can even be done with a fair amount of anonymity), so it shouldn't be much of a barrier to entry. And lots of folks have been doing it in order to raise the quality of their comment sections and deter trolling. I'm not sure how effective it is at that, but I've been less-than-thrilled at the quality of the commentariat for some time now, and I know I'm not the only one. I also know several former commenters whose contributions I did generally enjoy who have left precisely because they don't like the direction the section has gone in, and that bothers me, a lot.

On the other hand, I do sort of like the ability of a random reader with no connection to the blogosphere being able to pop in and leave thoughts without having to go through any hoops. It feels very democratic. But how often does that actually happen?

The (very few) blogs I know of that have comments sections that I consider "value-added" to the blog itself are ones that take an extremely aggressive moderating posture -- far more than I've ever done here. I don't think Blogger's comment moderations software is robust enough to let me do that even if I wanted to. But perhaps this is a small step.

In any event, consider this a notice-and-comment period. I have some unaccounted (heh) commenters who post here regularly. How would this affect your posting? What do you think of the possible change? And I also especially want to here from lurkers and former-commenters who have been quiet for awhile -- come out from the shadows for a moment and give me your perspective too.


Rebecca said...

It's fine by me, but then I already have a Google account and I require the same thing for my blog too. I don't know if it will have a lot of effect on the quality of comments, because it's so easy to register. You could institute a system where you have to approve every comment, if you really want to control things.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the idea of being tracked by Google, who I assume to be somehow storing comment histories tied to a single account, so I'd probably have to consider setting up a blogs-only Google account. An annoyance, but not much of a deterrent to regular commenters. Especially if you find certain broken record discussions to be stifling, you're probably not gonna get much return on so low a barrier to entry. Why not just start deleting stuff you think is without value? It's probably a lot easier to click delete than it is to write out some of the treatise length nonsense that pops up.

N. Friedman said...

I have no problem with registering. I suspect that will end your enthusiasm for requiring registration, since you do not like people who challenge your logic or facts.

Andrew said...

Mostly lurker, very rare commenter here.

Registration won't do anything to deter me from chipping in when I feel I have something to add. It probably can't *hurt* the quality of discourse, and you're absolutely right that the best comment sections on the web are the most heavily moderated (TNC and LGF come to mind).

It's been a while since I've used blogger as a platform, so I can't comment on how precise the moderation controls are here, but it's probably possible to force an approval on the first comment from any given account.

N. Friedman said...

One last thought on this topic.

Posts vaporize regularly here. That, of course, is not your fault. It might, however, make sense to use a different host for your blog.

troll_dc2 said...

I absolutely will not register with Google. I have no idea what OpenID is, but I am not thrilled about registering with them either.

I do not comment here all that much; I come here mostly to get a different perspective (and sometimes the comments do a good job of providing that). I am too busy to spend a lot of time on blogs; there is only one other that I frequent. I use my real name on that one; the one that I use here is my generic screen name, and I used it when I commented on VC (before I figured out that I would never get anything done if I continued to go to that site).

If I cannot comment, I may or may not continue to read this blog. I may simply send any comment that seems appropriate to the person who runs the other blog (and you sort of know each other).