July 9, 2009

Intense Debate Accounts Now Required to Comment

Look at them, troll mother said. Look at my so...Image via Wikipedia
Last month I tried to sell as many of my readers as possible on using an IntenseDebate account when commenting here instead of simply commenting as a guest. In addition to wanting to inform readers about the benefits of using such an account (especially now that so many blogs are using IntenseDebate for the comments), I revealed another motive. Specifically, I said that I thought requiring IntenseDebate accounts might be a helpful way to crack down on trolls without necessarily having to enable full-blown comment moderation.

My efforts met with a fair amount of success. Many of you who did not already have IntenseDebate accounts created them. However, some expressed their displeasure at having to get such an account. This led me to postpone my decision...until now.

Over the last few weeks, I have realized that reducing troll activity is only one of the reasons I've been considering requiring these accounts. Another involves wanting to get to know those of you leaving comments a bit better. You see, in the current system where anonymous comments are permitted, some users seem to comment under many different names. This makes consistent conversation rather difficult, lets users impersonate each other, etc.

Will requiring IntenseDebate accounts magically eliminate trolls and bring us all together? Of course not. I think it will facilitate selective moderation and improve our experience interacting with one another. But I am fully aware that it may accomplish little. Still, I have decided to try it. As of now, IntenseDebate accounts will be required to comment. If you do not already have one, you can get one here.

This change may not be permanent. One of the nice things about the system is that I can disable the account requirement at any time. Maybe this will be a failed experiment. Then again, it just might work. I guess we'll see.