Why are we asking your view on unsigned comments?
Patch sites, including ours, periodically receive complaints about insulting comments, often posted by readers with unidentifiable user names.
We are not alone. It's a major issue for many online news sites that has been exacerbated by allowing readers to post comments anonymously.
Anonymous comment forums, wrote Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., "have become havens for a level of crudity, bigotry, meanness and plain nastiness that shocks the tattered remnants of our propriety." A spirited argument against them can be found in an essay by Rem Rieder, editor and senior vice president of the American Journalism Review.
The other side also is passionate. "Anonymous speech is exactly what the framers of the First Amendment had in mind," wrote Ohio University journalism professor Bill Reader, in an essay in the American Journalism Review. He argued that anonymity's benefits – having opinions considered on their own merits and protecting against unfair retribution – outweigh the abusive posts.
Please let us know your view by clicking an answer in the poll below, and we would greatly appreciate it if you'd indicate the reason for your vote in the comments section.