New York state lawmakers have proposed a ban on anonymous online comments. Called the “Internet Protection Act” (A.8688/S.6779), the legislation would require a web site administrator to pull down anonymous comments from sites, including ‘social networks, blogs forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.’
The reason for this is to prevent cyber-bullying. A laudable goal, no doubt.
Now, it might occur to people who use the internet, and especially people who have blogs, that the above plan is bothentirely feasible and utterly senseless. If a web administrator is looking at the comment, s/he knows the contents of the comment. If you must make a law, wouldn’t it be more intelligent to require them to pull down comments–anonymous and otherwise–that are insulting or cruel? Why make them waste their time on anonymous comments that are perfectly civil?
It sounds to me like the people who wrote this legislation may not be aware of the concept of “comment moderation”. It would be nice if the people making laws about it were familiar with how commenting on the internet actually works.
(Hat Tip to Immoral Minority.)