I ama not a number!
We have changed the way we manage reader “handles” for story comments. Each commenter will now have a unique ID published on the site. This means that some readers — about 5000 — will see their handles change. These are people who share the same handle as others, or who have registered using more than one email address, using …
As you guys know, some of us cannot speak freely. We can give you hints, tell you where scratching the surface may give new clouds of smelly stuff you can report on etc etc. But not with a real name.
I'm OK with a handle as long as it bears no relation to a real name, but that's not what I saw on the login/account details page (which, incidentally, is a b*tch to find). If that handle requires any coupling with the real "me" I'm out..
Of all people, you guys should know that speaking freely and having your own opinion has been thoroughly attacked in the Blair-Bush era. Freedom of speech, nay, even of personal opinion is no longer possible so without a means to go anonymous to a degree it would present too much risk to most people I know.
So, I understand the effort, but please be careful.
So firstly, I have to tweak site and cookie settings in my browser (Opera) to get this profile page to work (although cookies were already enabled for the site of which the login page is part), and then, when I do get to the profile page, I find:
a) my name is blank (which is odd),
b) there doesn't appear to be anywhere to enter a "handle" (or is this to be formed from my [blank] name?), and
c) despite the fact that I haven't opted in to receive any emails from ElReg, several "send me email" tickboxes show as checked.
It doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
There are too many people using silly name on this web site.
Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern Schplenden Schlitter Crass Cren Bon Fried Digger Dingle Dangle Dongle Dungle Burstein von Knacker Trasher Apple Banger Horowitz Ticolensic Grander Knotty Spelltinkle Grandlich Grumblemeyer Spelter Wasser Kürstlich Himble Eisenbahnwagen Gutenabend Bitte einen Nürnburger Bratwürstel Gespurten mit Zweimache Luber Hundsfut Gumberaber Schönendanker Kalbsfleisch Mittelraucher von Hauptkopft of Ulm
Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (sound effect of horse whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (blows whistle) Northgot Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots, stops singing) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson (sings) 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop') Smith
Ditch AC altogether. I'd say the ratio of insightful comments over waste of times from ACs is effectively zero. I'm not saying things posted under "peyton" are all that enlightening, but it just seems the AC posts cruft up a lot of comment threads with people just wanting to vent. Of course, the comments section is very free form - perhaps their functioning as a sort of psychiatrist couch is intentional ;)
Or - if you really want to allow for those rare whistle-blower posts or something - maybe a quota?
1. @Peyton: don't ditch AC. I don't like the silly posts but there are plenty that are AC+actually good, and plenty that are signed+nobbish. I (like to think I) post relevant stuff under AC because it's sensitive and because my handle will inevitably be linked back to my real name (just the way that it is).
2. If you're soliciting for other suggestions, howsabout unfixing the sodding width. Then I can dump greasemonkey.
3. Some kind of rating system a la slashdot would be useful so silly posts get hidden, either globally or per reader (for instance if Flocke Kroes or jake or a few others post then I want it up in lights. If Mr. digraph-with-probabilities AMFM posts I'd rather not see it). Globally would be infinitely easier in any event, but it's a big ask.
I, for one, am terrified that the ex-Bush whitehouse will find my snarky reply to your post expressing the belief that The Man is forcing your IT news web site comments 'underground'.
Seriously, people - there are important, legitimate concerns vis a vis intrusive security measures and restriction of free speech, but pretending that the issue extends past the bounds of the ludicrous only cheapens the entire debate and makes everybody fighting the issue look like a crank.
To change my handle.
Also apparently although I'm allowed not to have a Job Role (I'm currently unemployed) I HAVE to provide a Job Sector (which makes less sense than making me give my job Role) and I have to tell you how big the company I don't work for is and how big an involvement I have in IT spending.
Methinks you need to look at that part of the profile too.
Re-read the comment from AC@14:37 GMT.
Some people simply are not in a position where they can speak in public about anything that might entail a personal opinion or belief, or even personal knowledge, about anything, if there's a chance it could be traced back to them. If you're simply ignoring out of hand anything said by someone for the sole reason that no name was attached, you're missing out on an awful lot of potentially valuable content - and just because someone attaches a name doesn't inherently make whatever they've said intelligent or informative.
Being a blank gives one freedom to be honest in some ways. Aren't we tracked enough as it is?
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