People Using Pseudonyms Leave Better Blog Comments

Dave Copeland, Read Write Web, January 16, 2012

People who use pseudonyms—as opposed to remaining anonymous or using their real identity—are more likely to leave high-quality comments on blogs and other Web sites, according to data released by Disqus.

In addition to leaving more comments, people using pseudonyms are more likely to leave comments that get “likes” from other readers, according to Disqus, which operates blog commenting platforms for about one million Web sites, including ReadWriteWeb.

Not only does the data throw the conventional web wisdom that people who use their real names leave better comment into question, it also gives Disqus and other comment platforms leverage to compete with Facebook, which has made inroads into the commenting space by allowing sites to let people leaving comments use their Facebook identities.

{snip}

Of course Disqus has a vested interest in convincing publishers to allow anonymous comments and remarks left under a pseudonym.

But the company is maintaining that, based on its review of 500,000 comments left using its system, 61% of the comments left by those types of users gained positive reviews from other readers, as opposed to 51% for comments left by people using their identity and 34% for people who remained anonymous.

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  • wmarkw

    This is the most important finding published on AmRen in recent weeks, if not months or years…

    Our country is supposed to prize free speech, but has put such a price-barrier to practicing it that the best speech is something one is not willing to claim.  The social environment for expressing some opinions is less like that of robust public debate than like the rules about telling a man his wife is ugly — whether true, false, or an informed opinion or not, some things just aren’t said.

    If Eric Holder thinks we’re cowards — take steps to honor bravery.

    WMarkW (pseud)

  • RegistrationSucks

    Wish we could test this little theory out, Amren. But since you’ve gotten this new comment system you NEVER publish my comments.

    Anonymity is a great shield in this anti-White world, so not having to register anywhere to comment is good. The old system you had didn’t even require an email address. I wish you would fix this.

    • Southern Man

      I have experienced the same, the dreaded (moderator) changes or worse, just disappeared.  I am hesitating to donate based on my fear that Amren is changing and we all know what that means.  Still, one of the most freedom provoking sites on the internet deserves our support and fight to keep it free. 

      This moderator is not letting that go unchallenged. Moderators only interfere in posts for blatant grammar and spelling errors, editing out cussing and swearing, and on occasion, clipping an undesirable portion within an otherwise good post. Moderators did that even under the old system, it’s just that the old system didn’t state that a comment was moderator-edited.

      • Anonymous

        Honestly the mods were getting a little overzealous for a while. First of all I do not recall that ANY of my typos were corrected on the old Amren, even though I often really wished they would be, but of course we could not edit posts so we had to look at our horrid typos as they were preserved for all Internet eternity.

        Secondly, I have had mods edit my comments AND introduce punctuation errors. I am quite capable of making my own punctuation errors, I do not require help. I try to be nice and supportive regarding all the work y’all have put forth but on this point I have to agree that maybe it is best to take it down a notch.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/GenXinOz GenX ANZAC

          This question is directed to the moderator(s).
          Does this new system require more or less man hours to be invested from your side?
          I get the feeling that it must be about the same, in that unregistered comments seem to still come in waves (at about two a day) and retrospectively pop up chronologically before my own. 
          I suppose another benefit of this new system from a moderators point of view, must be if you are unable to moderate for say 24hrs, at least the forum can still show some signs of life.

          On grammatical errors, last week I googled  “split infinitives, ending a sentence in a preposition and confounding the plural and the possessive” and the answers/examples , made me realize that I need to go back to school, so please accept my apology for irking you with my past, present(?) and future comments.

          On the subject of this article,  pseudonyms get more ‘likes’ than anonymous’s. Depends on the pseudonym, Question Diversity I would be more inclined to ‘like’ before I’ve finished (sometimes started) reading his post, yet Rocky Mountain whose views are often contrary to Amren’s would have the bar raised a little higher than the average poster in my mind, before he/she received a ‘like’. The pro and the con of having a  pseudonym is that people can follow your opinions/story over time, which is good from a readers POV because you can sense the writers commitment/investment and possiblly relate with better, this is equally bad from the writers POV who in this particular political context is always paranoid about what negative outcomes having a track-able history may entail in the not too distant future.
          Anonymous comments are more hit and run, and although they may be incredibly poignant, although for all we know it could be Morris Dees  posting, acting as an agent provocateur to justify his own organisations existence, or acting out some strange psycho sexual suppression fantasy.
          I like the new format, my partner hates it though because the extra time I’m spending here (if looks could kill).

          • Anonymous

            The pro and the con of having a  pseudonym is that people can follow your opinions/story over time, which is good from a readers POV because you can sense the writers commitment/investment and possiblly relate with better…

            Yes. While there have been many great anonymous posts I very much prefer those with handles.  Identifying individuals in some form or fashion is an important element of online communication, or really any kind of communication.

             Flying under one’s “own colors” even when we  KNOW our comments will not always be popular is a character statement. Anonymous is well…just that. No colors; anonymous.

    • Anonymous

      I have realized that our DISQUIS Amren IDs will pop up whenever we post on any site, such as CNN that also uses DISQUIS.

      I think this story leaves out our little niche in the world.  If I were to let my ID be known, I am not sure what might one day happen, FBI at my door enforcing some new Zero Tolerance racism edict, or some Nazi, KKK dude burning a cross on my front lawn.  I don’t really fit into any description, and I hand criticism out for reasons that seem right to me.  I know many like this format, but the potential loss of privacy is an issue for white realists and their weirdo, lunatic fringe (me).  We need extra protection until things change one way or another to allow unpopular free speech without likely persecution.

      • Anonymous

        Yes Disqus links all posts in the user profile. If the FBI or any Fed wants to find out who you are they will. There are MILLIONS of eccentrics on the Internet, far too many to count!

        Best rules to follow are a) Do not make terroristic threats b) Never ever make threats (even jokes) regarding the life of the POTUS c) Do not use your real name as that could attract garden variety crazies and d) Do not get into nasty personal disagreements with strangers that use a Linux operating system.

        • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

          This speaks to an important point.  Never be dumb enough to use your own real name online, and certainly never be dumb enough to make threats of forward physical violence.  There is data mining, but TPTB aren’t interested in our boring lives. 

          However, as far as Linux, if that particular Linux user is using Gnome 3.x, then it’s probably safe to insult him, for he’ll never get anything done in that DE/GUI.

          • Anonymous

            I was stupid enough to think, a decade or so ago, that because I was commenting behind a firewall in a paid site, that my comments wouldn’t become public, and that “we were all buddies”.  One of my enemies from that site put up his own website accessible to anyone, listing his chief enemies and the reasons he disliked us.  Now my name is permanently online linked to “racist” views.  I’m convinced it hurt me in job hunts as I was un/underemployed for years and only after a long time got back on my feet.

            Bottom line:  NEVER use your own name in internet comments.

  • Anonymous

    People who use pseudonyms—as opposed to remaining anonymous or using their real identity—are more likely to leave high-quality comments on blogs and other Web sites

    This is a no brainer. Anyone with common sense NEVER uses their real name online unless they are engaging in a financial transaction or advertising for business/publicity reasons.

    The people that think it is a good idea to post opinions on various websites using  their real name (without a specific agenda/reason) are just plain clueless and that cluelessness is reflected in the quality of their comments.

  • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

    One slight flaw in this study:  How does Disqus know that an apparent real name is the person’s real name?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Pierce/100003179488978 Jared Pierce

    If I were commenting on gardening or the latest exosolar planet or if Vatican II was a good or bad event, I would most definitely use my real name.  If I am talking about the most devisive and prohibited topic in the modern world, the heresy of the twentieth (and 21st century), then I most definitely am going to use a pseudonym.  I would guess that 90% of the paleoconservatives out there, who are professionals and have to pay bills, also use pseudonyms when dealing with this topic. It is a shame, because if I were Black, and a follower of Farrakhan, or if I were a right wing NeoConservative, or if I were a left wing anarchist, I probably could use my real name and just be called a bit eccentric by those who oppose me.  But this one position on this one topic makes it prudent that I lurk under the shroud of anonymity. So please don’t tell anyone I was here.

    Q.

  • Anonymous

    On disqus I think it is. I do not believe they require email confirmation (unlike many forums).

  • Anonymous

    Some of these comments are scaring me.  I don’t use my real full name on here, but I don’t understand the fear associated with providing an email address. I guess I am pretty careful about what I use this email for.  The one thing that frightens me is how connected the internet is.  I have a Facebook account and even though I haven’t nominated to “share” on Facebook what I say on here, sometimes I wonder…..And now back to the email issue…….one can only find my real name through my email if and only if I respond to the particular party’s email.  Am I mistaken?

    • Anonymous

      CourtneyfromAlabama, start creating different free E-mail acounts. When you sign up for them, do not use any correct identifying information (true name, date of birth, ZIP code, etc.). It’s not illegal, and as long as you are willing to accept that the account may be cancelled if the E-mail service provider should somehow find out (unlikley), you are good to go.

      Only tell the truth if, as Sonya610 mentioned, you are doing a financial transaction, and then don’t use one of these decoy accounts.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BHHLO2L4M3G5ZH3KJTDR6DPESA tanstaafl14

        Excellent advice. One of my Gmail addresses is under a pseudonym. Also, when I signed up for a grocery store rewards card several years ago all the info I gave them was fake (name, address, phone, birth date, e-mail) as I didn’t want them linking my purchases. to me.

    • Palnatoki
      • Anonymous

        Oh Lordy, the woman was already nervous and that article might make her too paranoid to post at all!  Those security precautions are taken by people that really really have something to hide such as trading child pornography.

    • Anonymous

      When you respond to their email they get your IP address, which generally isn’t a risk unless of course your email client is set up to display your full name when you reply to emails. My email account only shows my email address when I reply.

      As Mutant_Swarm said, it is better to have some secondary email accounts, you can get one on yahoo in 2 minutes using all fake info.  I have googled people’s emails and found out their real name instantly because 5 years before they posted that email in connection with their name and then they forgot about it.

      Also some sites (like youtube/google) are asking for phone numbers for “verification” these days. I sent a friend a youtube link and she had to sign up for an account to view it, she told me later “I had to give them my phone number”. I said “You didn’t really give them your number, did you?” and she said “Well, yes it asked for it”. Read the FINE PRINT and hit the “decline” button as there always is one and you can still register.

  • Anonymous

    While I like the conclusions drawn from this study, and I agree with them, I do take them with a small amount of skepticism in that Disqus is tooting their own horn.

     As for the reference to ‘like’ responses, this must be taken with the understanding that many ‘liberal-progressive’ sites (such as the infamous Buffalo News) also have a ‘ report abuse’ button which is easily abused by liberals who hate reading the truth and use the ‘abuse’ button to silence their enemies.

    As I reported before, the Buffalo News ended their practice of anonymous postings. Now, before you can post, you have to submit your real name (which is posted), address, and home telephone number all of which are verified before you are given the right to post.

    This has had a devastating affect on posting comments. People with non-politically correct views (like me) are reticent to register. This has turned the Buffalo News into a flaming liberal bastion of one-sided ‘progressive’ views.

    Although I have come to like the ‘like’ button, I truly abhor any cite that has a ‘report abuse’ button’. After a few reports, you get banned (as I have been on other sites). There is no court of appeal.

    The ‘report abuse’ button is the liberals favorite means to ban anyone they disagree with.

    *Anyone interested in reading about the Buffalo News’ posting policy can read about it here from the editor herself, Diana Moon Glampers (AKA, Margeret Sullivan). Read the comments and take note of the ones that have been ‘removed by the moderator :

    http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial-page/columns/margaret-sullivan/article78104.ece

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessie-Peterson/100003091291263 Jessie Peterson

      Yeah, that button gets me bounced from the Philly CBS news site on a regular basis.  When anyone conservative begins to get a following there, his name will end up blocked, so I have dozens of handles at that site.

      – The Bobster

  • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

    How can Disqus know if a name is actually a pseudonym or a real name? Sometimes that is impossible.

    I wonder if Disqus thinks mine is real or fake….

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to this stuff, but doesn’t the IP address get logged anyway, so it doesn’t matter if you submit an email or not, you’re already identified right?

    And even if “they” decided they wanted to round up all the race realists, “they” don’t have the manpower to do this.  And we’re not living in Soviet Russia where people had already been downtrodden and disarmed for hundreds of years and didn’t resist.  We’re far from serfs.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BHHLO2L4M3G5ZH3KJTDR6DPESA tanstaafl14

      You can foil the IP address trackers by using an anonymous proxy such as Anonymizer, Cryptohippie or Tor. The last will slow you down big-time, however, as it depends on volunteers donating server space and most of them are overseas.

  • Anonymous

    So what exactly is “high-quality” comment and who decides that? Is it based on the number of likes? If so, that seems like a pretty lame measure since I can post “Obama Sux” on lots of sites and get plenty of likes but that doesn’t exactly qualify as “high-quality” in my book.

    I quite like the Disqus format but like the article kind of says, Disqus conducted a study that says Disqus is great. Draw your own conclusions from that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Takahashi/743187998 Chris Takahashi

    While I’ve, typically, posted under the moniker “RationalObservationist” on the old AmRen, I’ve used a pseudonym (though one that is closely related to my own name) on sites like DISQUS.

    I suppose the only probable explanations for such a phenomenon — if it isn’t a statistical fluke — is that those registered with aliases, though desiring to keep identity hidden, have more of a vested interest in the topic at hand; so they’re much more concise or intelligent and well-thought out with their posts. Though, when related to a particular topic, that only, of course, applies to sites in which one isn’t required to register and log in to comment.

    The other completely intuition-based, out-of-the-air guess is that it takes a bit of creativity to conjure a decent pseudonym; maybe they’re a bit more witty and/or knowledgeable (many of their names are of obscure origin, or are from historical figures, such as poets, philosophers, authors etc).
     

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GenXinOz GenX ANZAC

      You’re Afro-Japanese?
      If yes, that surely must be a rare combination.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Takahashi/743187998 Chris Takahashi

        Yes. It’s pretty rare. It’s probably the rarest among  Afro-Asians. Black/Asian is pretty rare, all together.  Though, in Japan, Black military personnel, or African “immigrant”, and Japanese women couples aren’t too uncommon, mainly in Roppongi, Tokyo and Okinawa.

        I should note that I had a Japanese grandmother, as opposed to a full-fledged Japanese parent.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know. I do know that here in Amren, I posted a comment, got it deleted by the mod for whatever  random reason ,and then posted it again, and it was left alone. I also complained by email.  But I don’t care about using my real name.  I’m guess I’m too stupid to make a fun , witty, name. I’m just not a happening kat.

    I hope the Illuminati doesn’t find me tho. They’re a real pain.

  • John Maddox

    I’ve always thought that the editors at AmRen have been more than fair. Over the last year or so I’ve probably only had two or three comments rejected and that many edited. Want to have some fun? Try engaging the libs over at Huffington Post. Opposing points of view are nearly always rejected or latter removed. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BHHLO2L4M3G5ZH3KJTDR6DPESA tanstaafl14

      The Free Republic site is truly Orwellian. According to former members, the instant a post runs counter to neocon open-borders orthodoxy, that person is permanently banned and all his earlier posts are deleted. IOW, he becomes an unperson.

  • Anonymous

    “I am disappointed that Amren now requires my e-mail address, however I
    will still contribute if I feel I have something worthwhile to say.”

    As Sonya610 said, “Anyone with common sense NEVER uses their real name online unless they are engaging in a financial transaction or advertising for business/publicity reasons.”

    I’ve been known to create new E-mail accounts for the purpose of responding to one particular post, if it’s a website that I believe may be home to antifa trolls. I have probably created and/or forgotten about at least seventy-five E-mail accounts since I started using the Internet.

  • Anonymous

    This comment probably belongs under the Ron Paul article, but you listing all of this terrifying legislation that has been passed, much of it recently, then throw in SOPA which is the latest attempt to limit freedom, it makes me wonder if the people who desire such things have instituted a crash program because they fear a Paul presidency where all this garbage would be vetoed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessie-Peterson/100003091291263 Jessie Peterson

    It sure is. In fact, I’m using one now.

  • Anonymous

    It is fine to leave your name when comment. If you worry about being heavily associate with that you saying and that it might come back to you later then 1 be careful with your comment. Support and discuss the blog post in a civil manner or 2 just leave your first name or last name because I’m sure there are more than enough people with the same name are on the internet commenting everyday.

    Jackie,
    Jump Branding & Design Inc.

  • Anonymous

    You may also want to try sarahmaidofalbion blog. Lots of interesting articles and links to other sites.