The comment section on websites are funny places.

By funny,  I mean occasionally they’re inhabited by people with keyboard cojones. Earlier this month Huffington Post decided to ban all anonymous comments because the trolling was getting out of hand.  Although the details haven’t been made specific, by next month commenters will be required to identify themselves by name.

In a speech to a crowd of about 4,000 people, Arianna Huffington’s tone showed she was fed up with trolls:

“Freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they’re saying and who are not hiding behind anonymity,” Huffington told the audience. “Maintaining a civil environment for real conversation and community has always been key to the Huffington Post.

“From day one, our comments were pre-moderated, and we invested in the most advanced moderation technology along with human moderators,” she said. “Now we want to go a step further to evolve our platform — which has always been about community and engagement — to meet the needs of the grown-up Internet.”

Huffington isn’t the only one fed up with comment section bullies.

New York lawmakers have proposed a ban on anonymous online comments. The law dubbed the Internet Protection Act (A.8688/S.6779) would require a web site administrator to pull down anonymous comments from sites, including “social networks, blogs forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.”

The bill states:

A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.

But of course the bill has its critics. There’s this freedom of speech issue people want to throw around.  The thing about freedom of speech, is that it exists, but even assholes have the freedom.  When does freedom of speech cross the line?  Pretty much every day in the comment section of most news sites. The hate and vitriol is repugnant.

Sen. Thomas O’Mara is one of the backers of the bill and believes it can be used to end cyberbullying:

“Cyberbullying has become one of the great tragedies of the Internet age,” O’Mara said at a press conference. “Numerous national studies tell us that upwards of 40 percent of students have experienced some form of cyberbullying at least once, and they feel helpless in the face of it. Victims of anonymous cyberbullies need protection. We’re hopeful that this legislation can be helpful to the overall effort to deter and prevent anonymous criminals from hiding behind modern technology and using the Internet to bully, defame and harass their victims.”

From CBS News:

The proposed law raises questions over privacy and security, as well. The bill would allow website owners access to private information, like a user’s home, e-mail and IP address.

A basic website can be operated by as little as one person. The bill would give that website administrator full access to private information, with no additional security provisions for users who would have to hand over their personal information.

Additionally, website administrators currently don’t have to disclose their identity to users and can pay to protect their personal information from the WHOIS registry. If the legislation is enacted, the personal information exchange would be a one-way street.

But are troll commenters cyberbullies or just cyberassholes?

I’m going to go with the latter.

People feel they can get away with saying whatever they want because they’re “anonymous” while sitting at home, in dirty underwear glaring at a computer monitor. Because that’s just the picture I have in my head of every last troll on the internet.

But I’m sure none of these types exist on Clutch? Right.



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  • justanotheropinion

    I agree that the ability to post comments on line has given rise to not only a new level of bullying, but has changed society as a whole. Many under the age of “pre-internet” have transferred this liberty to real time abuse and disrespect that sees no boundaries.

    My daughter is 18 and has just started her freshman year at college. Although Shi*-talking has always been around, her experience this past week has taken it to a new level. Folks now days believe that you can take the boldness and brashness of internet anonymity to the real world and believe there are no repercussions or no real harm is done. This is not the case. Although she opted to confront her ‘haters’ after a 3rd run in, she is now seeing that this may be the norm, and even she is making the connection between online anonymity and real life challenges.

    And before anyone comments about me NOT using my real name on this or any other forum, I’ve personally had a very unpleasant experience. Long story short, someone took my screen name (which was close to my real name), did some quick & easy internet digging (easy since I wasn’t really trying to hide), found my home address and showed up at my door because the didn’t agree with some political comments I made. Being a single mom, that was way beyond my comfort level. Therefore, I choose to be anonymous. So sue me.

    I’m all for free speech and would never want to curb that. However, the total lack of respect, common decency or legalities has gotten out of hand. Despite my personal experiences, I’m not yet ready to squash any citizens right to free speech. However, something has to give here. I admit that I don’t have the answer, but this can’t continue.

    • MommieDearest

      ” Long story short, someone took my screen name (which was close to my real name), did some quick & easy internet digging (easy since I wasn’t really trying to hide), found my home address and showed up at my door because the didn’t agree with some political comments I made.”


      If you don’t mind me asking, how was that incident resolved? Did the police get involved? Have you been harassed by that person again? I’m glad it worked out and you are able to tell about it.

      This is why no one must be forced to give their real names on line because of crazy mofos like that.

      WOW!!… *smh*

    • justanotheropinion

      @MommieDearest – I most certainly called the police as my kids were younger at the time. Police showed up and the whole thing was over in short order. Since the individual had not “threatened me or my kids” and had not tried to enter my home or destroy any property, it was a wrap. The police would do random drive-by’s all all hours for a few weeks to to check on things. Although I still live in the same house, never heard from or saw the guy again. I am truly blessed – It could have had a different ending or could still be going on.

    • MommieDearest

      Thank goodness!

  • BTel

    Yahoo posts and Youtube posts are the worst. Those two need to adopt this tactic. We should all write to both or start a petition to get this going!

  • It is needed! I myself, get tired of getting cussed out over a simple comment. These wackos live to derail a topic of discussion. Some of these people make death threats, it’s out of control.

  • StrangerDanger

    Just leave the CBSnews New York website. I was reading an article about a black 1-year-old who was shot to death in Brownsville Brooklyn.The comments were astoundingly atrocious and I’m pretty sure the site lacks moderators. I had to stop reading or else I’d lose faith in any sliver of decency left in humanity. I don’t think your address or full name should be necessarily be made public, but anonymity really brings out the worst in folks.

    • Shirl

      I learned the hard way to NOT read the comments section if the majority of the commenters are the melanin challenged…have me giving some of my coworkers the side eye all damned day -_-