Comment registration now on

I have turned comment registration on. Commenters must now register to comment.

I’m not happy about doing this. I prefer to have as few barriers to commenting here as possible. But recently, one or more people have been maliciously commenting under other commenters’ handles, including my own. Some of these malicious pseudo-comments have simply expressed opinions that the actual user of that name would never express — while some have included comments with repulsive racial and religious epithets, maliciously putting these words in other people’s mouths. So comment registration has now become an unfortunate necessity. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Comment registration now on

28 thoughts on “Comment registration now on

  1. 2

    Regrettable but very reasonable. I don’t mind using a valid email but it would stop me from participating if I had to use a facebook or equivalent as a mandatory id check.

  2. 7

    Ah, the “hey, we can’t do this the other way so we’ll troll by trying to ruin someone’s reputation online for about five minutes” strategy.

  3. 14

    Sad that some people are so pathetic they resort to impersonating other people in order to spread their hate. I have always followed the policy of displaying or linking to my full name when posting online, personally. I stand behind my words.

  4. 15

    Couldn’t they easily register for accounts with well known usernames and still continue the trolling?

    Most of those well known username accounts are already registered. Some regular commenters may have not registered yet, but may consider doing so now. If a troll ‘steals’ an account of an unregistered regular by registering it themselves they’re now stuck with that account (unless the account is later deleted by admin). They can probably briefly use it to confuse and trick people but it would probably become apparent that the hijacked account is not the person usually posting under that name. The regular commenter would have to choose another account name (unless an admin steps in of course).

    The other way trolls impersonate registered accounts is to register a name using lettering that produces similar looking characters on a monitor (for instance, in some fonts lowercase “L” and capital “I” look almost exactly alike).

  5. 22

    Personally, registering an account is the bare minimum that ought to be required. Considering the flood of nonsense many sites with open anonymous comments get, I think this view is more than justified.

    The more difficult part is figuring out an effective policy for limiting one person to one account. IP address tracking doesn’t quite work. There may be more than one person behind each IP (possible with most residential and some business connections). Further, people who want to circumvent IP bans can proxy around them (forward traffic through another system).

    Some administrators moderate all comments from new accounts. That works, but it will probably annoy some of the newcomers who didn’t join to cause trouble.

  6. 23

    Weren’t we already doing this? Whenever I go to comment on ftb, I type in my handle, then my password, and the little bar appears at the top of the screen appears saying “Howdy, carpenterman”. (The “howdy” is a nice touch, by the way.) Is there more to registration that I’m unaware of? Forgive my ignorance; I was very late to the party with this new-fangled interwebby com-pew-ter stuff.
    (And yes, I’ve been commenting on other blogs. But Greta, baby, it didn’t mean anything! I swear, I was thinking of you the whole time!)

  7. 25

    Looks like my account works across FTB, since I’m logged in. Anyway, good luck with the troll struggle. Don’t think I’ve seen this particular strategy done on this scale, just the rare instance of one woo troll taking one skeptic’s name, so I don’t have strategic advice at the moment. Registration seems like a good idea so long as everyone registers their name before a troll does.

    It’s really pathetic that they resort to impersonation. Sock puppetry is bad enough. Having a few quasi-nostalgic flashbacks to my old blog’s more active days.

  8. 26

    “Some of these malicious pseudo-comments have simply expressed opinions that the actual user of that name would never express”

    Did something like that happen to Romney IRL? It’s not really flip-flopping; His brain has been hacked!

    My name is Mitt Romney and I approve this message. No, I don’t.

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