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Huffington Post Eliminates Anonymity to Combat Trolls

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posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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Source 1


Huffington Post ends commenter anonymity because ‘trolls are getting more aggressive’


Source 2


Huffington Post to ban anonymous comments




Wuh ohs, early stages of vanishing anonymity...



The Huffington Post is to end anonymity for commenters by requiring them to use their real identities. The change was announced by the site’s founder, Arianna Huffington, after speaking at a conference yesterday (21 August) in Boston.

She said: “Trolls are just getting more and more aggressive and uglier and I just came from London where there are rape and death threats.”

"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."


Ah yes, the "Grown up internet."

I remember what it was like before the internet at all. And in fact its early stages when it was nothing more than BBS boards. When people who wore the nerd badge used to blurt out prophetic statements like, "One day everyone will used this. And it will be used for all kinds of things like shopping, movies, tv, video calling, messaging, blah blah blah."

Oh, don't forget the "VR World". Back then virtual reality was the next big thing. While it never really materialized, besides MMORPG's that have little mini-universes carrying on in cyberspace, some people really thought the world was going to turn into some Tron-esque hybrid.

And people laughed at them kinda.

Watching a 26k picture slowly appear down the screen in draggy rectangles wasn't really a show of massive computing power. But thats how some of the earliest computers (Which cost a fortune) preformed. It was hard for many to see anything coming out of early computing.

In any case, most people that remember what the early internet was like, will also come clean that they enjoyed it. Sure it was a little rough, and there was a ton of crap posted, but people liked that crap. People liked posting on boards and IRC with handles, getting known for their alternate egos online.

Now they want to change all that. One step at a time. One news agency here, and a couple forums and boards there... With nearly every social media service as well as email provider asking for your phone number when you sign in, there is little anonymity left on the internet.

The worst part is how they do it claiming they are trying to protect you. "Please enter your phone number in case your account is hijacked so we can text you a reactivation code." (You want to be safe don't you??)

Well, now that we've seen actual evidence coming out about the NSA et al, (Most knew this kind of thing was going on anyway) it makes you wonder a little more when the phone number security pop up comes on screen multiple times per day.

How long until the "grown up internet" requires a drivers license or citizenship card? How long before internet borders are tied into physical borders and connecting to certain traffic requires a internet travel visa?
Maybe I'm pushing it here...

But, the internet started as this giant pool of anonymity. A place for people to vent, disturb or disrupt the cookie cut confines of the modern world. A place where a handle and a quick dial up connection could let you disseminate anything you wanted without fear of reprisal.

IS this a bad thing? Huffington (correct me if I'm wrong) supports wikileaks. And while you might argue "transparency" is what is needed for government to be honest... that kind of goes against the whole format of wikileaks and people being able to speak up without fear of reprisal.


The "Age of Transparency" is here: not because one transnational online network dedicated to open information and whistle-blowing named WikiLeaks exists, but because the knowledge of how to build and maintain such networks is now widespread.


Huff article on transparency

I understand transparency in government, but on a comments section for a news agency, what's the point? Does this mean the letter to the editor should be signed and sealed with photo ID as well?

Can we not just have a few places for regular people to plop down their ideas without having to give genetic material to do so?




posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 08:04 PM
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HuffPo is a politically motivated, MSM website. They want to control the message, like all MSM sites.



posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 08:24 PM
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In other words, the Internet "trolls," or nasty anonymous commenters, have gotten worse. The Boston Globe, which covered Huffington's speech, quoted her as saying that "trolls have become more and more aggressive and uglier."

A bit of the hair of the dog that bit me !!

Sounds like they got a strong dose of their own medicine




edit on Aug-23-2013 by xuenchen because:




posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 09:11 PM
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Really excellent post, OP. Awesome points, and well-stated. And I don't think you were really going too far with the borders-and-visas comment. I think the more paranoid among us with an eye for trends have already envisioned scenarios like this, ourselves.


Regarding this issue, specifically, while I agree with everything you said, and I disagree with this move on Huffington's part, I do also kind of see their point. Anonymity on the internet does seem to cause a lot of people to say things they probably would not say face to face. However, that one goes both ways. On the one hand, it does allow some jerks out there to say things that are pretty rude, or directly insulting, or in some cases even criminal such as threatening, etc.

However, at the same time, it allows people to have discussions, for example regarding politics, and make statements, sometimes BOLD statements, that they might shy away from in real life-- which allows for in depth, "truthful" political discussion, or discussion regarding philosophical or sociological topics.


Unfortunately however, the former can often times distract or detract from the latter. ATS even recognizes this, and therefore enforces civility and decorum, which some forums do only in a limited fashion, and others not at all.



But while I can understand the alleged reasoning behind this, I have a rather suspicious mind. I really do find myself wondering why many websites and services seem to be slowly but surely moving in this direction in concert. Google and yahoo have asked me for my phone number. Youtube is constantly, naggingly, annoyingly asking me to use my real name (I won't do it-- I'll delete my account first, and I resent their refusal to take "no" for an answer so much, I've considered doing just that.)

I don't like this as a precedent.


I don't like the fact that this year we get confirmation that the government is very actively involved in e-spying, and suddenly it seems like half the major sites out there suddenly want to know exactly who we all are. That's not raising flags or setting off little alarm bells for everyone else??!??


Seems a little crappily coincidental, to me.
edit on 23-8-2013 by iwilliam because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 09:50 PM
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reply to post by boncho
 


I remember back in the 90`s when microsoft tried out VR chat rooms with avatars,I don`t know if they are still around or not.



posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 10:07 PM
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Yep,

And then when they know who you are (by matching email address to former posts with your new facebook profile), they can then profile you and send your identity to the "community organizer" organizations with all the former posts attached to you for life.

Hell, they will probably put in a search feature so you can look up employees or potential employees by name and see if they "agree" with you politically supporting the progressive cause.

Oh, let's look up his name.. yep, he is a tea-bagger, don't hire him. And just think, all those wonderful progressives can now look you up on facebook and send you "greetings".

Political zealots like THIS: www.youtube.com...

Then they can then find out who you, where you work and where you live..... yeah, great. Wouldn't it great to have some progressive nutballs picket your place of employment? Call your HR or worse because of some posts on an internet board....

edit on 23-8-2013 by infolurker because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 10:44 PM
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reply to post by boncho
 


Lets not forget about YouTube. It seems like every other week when surfing it I get a message asking me if I want to display my real name. I'm waiting for the day when I don't get a choice and it displays my real name, well what it thinks is my real name..tee hee.

Suck it YouTube!
edit on 23-8-2013 by Swills because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 12:38 AM
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So you just create a fake "real name". I understand that the whole thing is lame in principle, but it's really not that hard to get around. Come it to think of it, the only Facebook pages I have are fake, and for reasons such as this. That being said, we're probably not far away from being issued .gov email addresses we have to use for "internet business". Wouldn't surprise me a lick.

But yeah, this isn't going to change anything. Except perhaps to increase the number of I.P. Freelys surfing around the net...



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 06:18 AM
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/facepalm

Anonymity is not a right and its not guaranteed. I'm a member of and a supporter of many anon and crypto related groups (not anonymous those guys are retards). Anonymity is something you have to work for and create, if you think that a website like huffington post or any other website should somehow give this to you then you are clearly not cut out for this. A majority of the opening post here is nothing but attempting to show off how long the poster has been on the internet but it also shows a lack of understanding about anonymity. Crap like this only backs up the illusion that you have no choice, its the internet and you can do what you want. Don't like what the huffington post does on their site on their servers that they pay for? Then don't go there, start your own news site and run it the way you want. Start your own onion site and do what you want. You have a choice, don't pretend like you don't.
edit on 24-8-2013 by Superhans because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 06:50 AM
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The Huffington Post wants to combat trolling, huh? As a first step, they need to fire about 85% of the so-called 'journalists' writing their articles. If they weren't producing so much biased, one-sided garbage then they might not attract quite as many 'trolls' to their comments sections.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 07:21 AM
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Eliminate anonymity and you'll increase violence in real life. People posting their opinions will become the targets of others who can't control themselves. Someone posts a negative comment about Obama ... then the New Black Panthers will have them on a hit list. That kind of thing. Taking away anonymity is a very bad idea.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 07:50 AM
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Originally posted by NthOther
So you just create a fake "real name". I understand that the whole thing is lame in principle, but it's really not that hard to get around. Come it to think of it, the only Facebook pages I have are fake, and for reasons such as this. That being said, we're probably not far away from being issued .gov email addresses we have to use for "internet business". Wouldn't surprise me a lick.

But yeah, this isn't going to change anything. Except perhaps to increase the number of I.P. Freelys surfing around the net...


Having gov issued or regulated IDs online seems like it could be useful if used properly. If it wasn't manipulated and used for all intents and purposes which its designed for.

But I have a feeling the chances are unlikely on that. Just like every other good intention.

Cutting down on identity theft, password problems, creating a standard of trust and responsibility for business dealings online, all these things could be addressed. However, in its creation it would probably be used for something stupid, or maniacal... Sadly.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 07:56 AM
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Is there really any way to not be anonymous on such a forum?

I seriously doubt some website will go so far as to traceback every entry from every IP and validate the current owner of said IP.

It's not like they're investigating crimes after all.

Even if they were, even if they traced a post back to a street address they still have no way to prove who was sitting at the keyboard unless they tap your webcam and microphone and even then the data collected can be spoofed.

Maybe I'm taking the term "anonymous" too literally?

Anyway, who gives a # what somebody posts in a comment on some website?

Obviously those in favor of such a plan have never encountered the proud troll. The jerkoff who is just as obnoxious face to face as he is online. Even more obnoxious face to face. Those people are everywhere.

I remember last year Blizzard and Steam tried this "real name" nonsense. Shocking, it didnt work. My real name is Pissblood Terrwilliger. Or is John Perch? Or Missy Stevens?
edit on 24-8-2013 by thisguyrighthere because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 07:59 AM
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Originally posted by Superhans
/facepalm

Anonymity is not a right and its not guaranteed. I'm a member of and a supporter of many anon and crypto related groups (not anonymous those guys are retards). Anonymity is something you have to work for and create, if you think that a website like huffington post or any other website should somehow give this to you then you are clearly not cut out for this. A majority of the opening post here is nothing but attempting to show off how long the poster has been on the internet but it also shows a lack of understanding about anonymity. Crap like this only backs up the illusion that you have no choice, its the internet and you can do what you want. Don't like what the huffington post does on their site on their servers that they pay for? Then don't go there, start your own news site and run it the way you want. Start your own onion site and do what you want. You have a choice, don't pretend like you don't.
edit on 24-8-2013 by Superhans because: (no reason given)


I am talking about standards. And if the industry standard to deal with trolls is to make people sign up with real names then we have lost something.

This is a lot more than anonymity and a lot more than just Huffington Post. I could care less about the online rag, I barely visit it unless an article is linked from there in one of these forums.

I am talking about standards, and if they are polishing the first set of cuffs for internet traffic so be it. If you champion their act too, then so be it.

But in years time as the landscape of the internet changes, and the only way to interact is by entering your gov issued identification because online businesses felt the only way to "combat trolls" was for everyone to give their identity up... then you can live in your little online paradise.

I would probably become less interested. I leave real life for 10 minutes at a time throughout the day. Sometimes a handful of times, sometimes once, maybe every hour I'm up. But the point is I leave real life, jump into my intergalactic space pod pick up my keyboard, and instantly become Boncho, or Pu Pu Magoo, or whoever I want to be and just relax, hanging out in Anon-World.

Bring real life to the internet and it's just not the same. Any of my accounts that are tied into my real personality and I am mindful of my business, my public profile, my friends and family, my social footprint, etc.

I don't want to live online in real life.

I want to relax for a bit, maybe call someone stupid, maybe say I don't like something, or someone. I would think most people can appreciate this after reading stories in the last year about military people getting reprimanded for posting personal comments about POTUS. About kids who made jokes and ended up with suspensions or worse. About wives and husbands who lost their job for being loose lipped.

Sometimes honesty is refreshing, but sometimes honesty gets us into trouble.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 08:02 AM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere


Obviously those in favor of such a plan have never encountered the proud troll. The jerkoff who is just as obnoxious face to face as he is online. Even more obnoxious face to face. Those people are everywhere.


 


Whenever some ridiculous rule, regulation or law comes out for coping with "internet trolls" ... I always wonder, where are the people in real life to do the same thing to annoying people we have to put up with everyday?




posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 08:21 AM
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Originally posted by boncho
reply to post by thisguyrighthere


Obviously those in favor of such a plan have never encountered the proud troll. The jerkoff who is just as obnoxious face to face as he is online. Even more obnoxious face to face. Those people are everywhere.


 


Whenever some ridiculous rule, regulation or law comes out for coping with "internet trolls" ... I always wonder, where are the people in real life to do the same thing to annoying people we have to put up with everyday?



wow...do you people realize what control ATS has over what you can say here????..... i'm left of center, and I have to be real careful about what I say, and how I phrase my posts here, regarding the right and republicans....I have had thousands of points taken away, because certain MODS say I violated the T&C's...I'll let you guess what side of the political spectrum they hail from......and now you criticize another private website for doing the same?



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 10:09 AM
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reply to post by jimmyx
 


HuffPo isn't wanting to take away points. So I have no idea what you are talking about with "doing the same".

I have seen all manner of political viewpoints expressed on here.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 10:16 AM
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Internet anonymity is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

It's very difficult to post on any top site that doesn't ask to connect with you via a real world identity like Facebook.

I've created a fake FB account with a false identity I use to post to articles like that. A few years back I was shocked to have to use my real amazon account to be able to post to IMDB. Thought it was strange at the time but it is becoming the norm now.

In the 'old days,' one was taught to protect your identity online for your own safety. Way too many crazies out there.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 10:19 AM
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reply to post by AshleyD
 


Who says Facebook contains real data?

You didnt have to use your real amazon account to post to IMDB. You just didnt bother to create a false one IMDB would consider as "real".

The problem stems from anyone putting anything honest online in the first place.

From day one just lie. Then all the mandated "real" info is just asking you to verify the lies.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 10:21 AM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


Um... that was the whole premise of my post. Don't use your real stuff- create false identities.



I have a fake FB, fake twitter, fake You Tube, and fake IMDB.
edit on 8/24/2013 by AshleyD because: (no reason given)




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