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TechCrunch Admits That Using Facebook Comments Drove Away Most Of Their Commenters

from the treat-your-community-right dept

I must admit to something of a minor fascination in how other sites manage their comments. As we've noted many times, we've personally found that keeping our comments pretty wide open fosters the best sorts of discussions in the long run. Yes, like any sites, there are some users who are annoying, and some who exhibit trollish behavior, but most people can get past that pretty quick. In fact, at times, those people (while frustrating initially) can spur some really interesting conversations. One thing we've never quite understood, however, is the attack on anonymity that so many sites insist upon. As we've seen over and over again, many of our most insightful comments have come from anonymous commenters.

So I was actually surprised a few years ago when TechCrunch moved to switch all of its comments to Facebook comments, claiming that one of the good things about it was that it required you to provide your real name. Apparently that wasn't actually such a good thing for lots and lots of commenters -- as after nearly two years, TechCrunch has dumped Facebook comments and is pleading for commenters to come back.

Our comments are obviously far from perfect, but we've never been at a loss for having spirited discussions on nearly all of our posts. There's just something awesome about the community that likes to really dig into the various stories. That's part of why we've always viewed this site as a discussion site, rather than a "news" or "reporting site." We post stuff with our opinion because we expect people to respond -- good or bad, agree or disagree -- in the comments, and for some sort of discussion to ensue. That doesn't mean that we like to encourage trollish behavior, but we recognize that encouraging a real community has its benefits, and one key aspect to that is keeping the barrier low. Too many other sites seem to think the best way to deal with the messiness of some annoying commenters is to make it more difficult to comment. However, as TechCrunch has discovered, like chemotherapy, it's a solution that can kill off many of the "good" cells along with the "bad."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:32pm

    I've said before the best thing you could do here with comments is make all responses to a flagged comment hidden or not hidden together with the flagged comment, because we all know the responses to a troll are part of the troll's plan.

     

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    MrWilson, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:35pm

    TechDirt has the best discussion set up of all the sites I comment on. I don't have to sign up. I don't have to use my real name. I don't have to worry that a future boss will be an IP maximalist who stumbles across my opinions on the matter. But I can still have a consistent persona on the site that tracks my comments with a simple search function (though taking out the commenter name search makes it less obvious, but it was a bit unnecessary unless your commenter name was a generic word or phrase that might otherwise show up in an article).

    I've seen the fallout that TechCrunch has experienced. As soon as one of my favorite sci-fi sites started requiring Facebook posts, trolls started making personal attacks against people based on knowing their real names and what information they could glean from their profiles (or just googling their real names). It immediately soured the comment threads as anyone could suddenly become a victim of personalized trolling. Nobody needs that. And significantly, the trolls didn't care who knew their real names (if they even used their real names on their Facebook account) and the lack of anonymity didn't seem to reduce the offensiveness of their posts.

    So I quit commenting there.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:38pm

    Re:

    There's something in the water here that makes responses to trolls better than at many other sites (*cough*youtube.) I think that it's the result of a tighter focus on subjects, but I'm just guessing there.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:38pm

    Re:

    Sounds like a peachy idea Bent, a good way to minimize clutter for lively conversations anyways.

     

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    MrWilson, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re:

    YouTube also doesn't thread comments so it's a pain to try to track replies and original comments. YouTube comments are just a giant room where everyone is yelling in the dark.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:43pm

    The other thing your system does very nicely is provide a succinct summary of how to format comments.
    All I could yet ask is for you to cease referring to us anonymous contributors as "cowards".

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:53pm

    Re:

    When I first started reading TD in 2007 I thought Anonymous Coward was someone's chosen screenname. A very prolific someone!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:57pm

    Yup, I'd never have made a post here if I had to use my Facebook login to do so. What matters is what I am saying, not who I am.

     

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    Nic, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:07pm

    Funny you mention that, I used to visit TechCrunch regularly until they switched to Facebook comments and I had to stop myself from commenting every time because I didn't want this to show up on my Facebook account. I was very irritated at their decision so I just stopped going there altogether. I doubt I'll be going back although it's good they finally saw the light when it comes to anonymity for commenters.

    I mean, when you work in the IT industry, the last thing you want are your personal opinions to be read by your current or future employers.

     

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  10.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:18pm

    The only thing that Techdirt doesn't do and I miss having sometimes is a Forum system. Something that is threaded (can't stand flat forum models conversations are too rigid in them and hard to follow) and that allows new Top level posts on Life the Universe and Everything (as long as it's in it's relevant forum section)

    I know there is Step2 with a type of forum but it is for specific items only. Yes the chat is there for those who use it, quite interesting to read, but still limited in some respects. A forum I think would be used and also it's a place to carry on conversations that are started in articles but go slightly (or fully) Off Topic.

    Just a suggestion

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:28pm

    I don't always comment, but when I do I can't be arsed to log into any kind of system.

     

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    Shmerl, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:32pm

    They still missed the point. Why can't the use OpenID or Mozilla Persona? Normal sites already figured that much out and don't force commenters to have accounts in Facebook / Google / Twitter or etc, and allow using more flexible mechanisms.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:36pm

    Re:

    Honestly, I always figured the 'coward' half was just a fun little bit of mockery aimed at the foolish who think the only reason a person wouldn't use their real name online was because they were 'afraid' to, a ridiculous idea if there ever was one.

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Re:

    In 2007 there was only one AC then mike used copyright law to grab the name up. After that we began calling the original AC TAM.

     

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  15. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:51pm

    those people (while frustrating initially) can spur some really interesting conversations.

    "really interesting conversations" translation:

    What drives the majority of your comment traffic, Masnick.

    If the echo chamber fanbois here were left to only talk amongst themselves, this place would look like a societal-mores study gone horribly awry.

     

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  16. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:55pm

    Re:

    TechDirt has the best discussion set up of all the sites I comment on.

    Orly?

    This site refers to those that choose to comment anonymously as "cowards".

    All the while Masnick professes to claim he strongly supports the right to anonymity.

    Just more of his usual intellectual dishonesty.

     

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  17.  
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    Pixelation, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:56pm

    Facebook? What is that?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Wow. You're really grasping at straws now.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:19pm

    Yes, please never go to discus/facebook/twitter/g+-only comment hosts. The ones that are only meant to marginalize and fill email accounts with useless spam.

     

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  20.  
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    Spaceman Spiff, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:19pm

    Kudos to Mike

    Mike, I applaud your attitude toward your users/commenters. Your site is one of my daily "must read" blogs. Due to the high volume of comments, I cannot read them all (not enough hours in my day), but I love your weekly recaps of funny and insightful ones. Keep up the good work!

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:20pm

    This is exactly the reason why I leave more comments here at Techdirt than anywhere else. I don't like giving my real name. Or even bothering with my email. That's why I don't comment as much on Ars Technica, Times of India, and so forth as much as I do here. Much less British newspapers such as the Telegraph, where I can't even get their system to work at all -- i.e. I can't comment at all even by logging on as a registered user !!!!

    Thanks for explicitly pointing out what I've long considered a strength of Techdirt.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:38pm

    I don't know what was going on, but I've always felt Techcrunch had a "thing" for Facebook. They were writing articles about their incremental increases in market value every other day, which must've had a big impact on Facebook future increases in valuation, since they kept promoting it.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:40pm

    The most baffling thing about Techdirtcomments is the complete and utter lack of spambots.

    Unlike other sites, that have registration and captchas and questionnaires and and and ..., nobody here trys to sell me Luis Vuvuzela handbags and Marco Polo shoes.

    That cant be a spamfilter, it must be sorcery

     

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  24.  
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    Forest_GS (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:43pm

    Re: Re:

    I think it's cute. (reverse-reverse-reverse-reverse-psychology)

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    AC #19 mentions not going to Discus/Facebook/Twitter/G+

    Well you got that down right. I don't. Used to comment a good bit at TorrentFreak until they turned it over to Discus. After that I never made another comment as I hate being datamined.

    Nor do I particularly like spam so giving out an email, real name, or some sort of ID beyond a nick of some sort, ain't gonna happen either.

    Also used to do Ars Technica, that is until their stupid move about stealing their income if you were ad blocking. No worries, I left and didn't return. But I take ever opportunity to show how stupid it was.

    Whether I comment or not, I do come daily to read the articles.

     

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  26.  
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    Forest_GS (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Nail, meet head.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Facebook?

    I think that is something my children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces use to communicate with. They still haven't got use to the new-fangled idea of paper and the postman.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:54pm

    Re:

    Guhhh?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:57pm

    Re:

    What's wrong with being a Coward? They are a really nice family. I went to uni with the husband. He married one of my friends.

     

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  30.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:13pm

    Re:

    All I see when I read this is:

    Blargha flargha Derp I am a masochist Derp Blargha flargha

     

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  31.  
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    an only moose cow word, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, it was a stab at me because I refused to let Mike use my trademarked name for unregistered commenters.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:34pm

    Re:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this.

    Sometimes a topic gets completely derailed, even legitimately at times, but I don't want to see 30 posts on an off topic conversation. In fact I'd like the ability to collapse and expand entire threads regardless of how they were voted.

    Choice and flexibility is the key to a successful comment system in my opinion.

     

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  33.  
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    Togashi (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Re:

    I believe you have the right to do all manner of cowardly things, and I'll even say that I strongly support many of those rights. Doesn't mean I won't call them out as being cowardly when I see them.

     

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  34.  
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    Ed C., Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:42pm

    Re:

    I believe there is some spam filtering going on, because at one point the comments were getting hammered. It now works so well that they should consider licensing it. Would bring in some extra dough.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: TAM?

    what happened to TAM i miss him/her

     

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  36.  
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    Ed C., Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:59pm

    Re:

    Also used to do Ars Technica, that is until their stupid move about stealing their income if you were ad blocking.

    I agree, that was a bad move for a site targeted towards tech geeks--the very people who are most likely to use ad blockers! I understood their POV though, the site cost money. I would have even considered whitelisting the page too, if it wasn't for those huge annoying animated ads they were running at the time that totally wrecked the flow of the articles! I'm sure companies like HP were paying them a ton of money to run them, but it was totally killing their readership. After a long standoff, Ars not only backed off and dropped the attitude, they opened a paid subscription service as an alternative. I've heard that it actually worked out well.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:10am

    And the news is

    Instead of facebook a required sign in

    You will now be creating “TechCrunch” accounts where you can sign in socially and all of your comments will be tracked on your profile screen, which is launched by clicking on a username. This means you can maintain your anonymity, but there is still accountability as your comments are all attached to one profile.

    That will not do them any good - no one likes to be tracked

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:12am

     

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  39.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:29am

    Re:

    The most baffling thing about Techdirtcomments is the complete and utter lack of spambots.

    Unlike other sites, that have registration and captchas and questionnaires and and and ..., nobody here trys to sell me Luis Vuvuzela handbags and Marco Polo shoes.

    That cant be a spamfilter, it must be sorcery


    Heh. It is a spamfilter (or, rather, a combination of a few different spam fighting methods, but none that involve user annoying things like captchas), though if it's indistinguishable from sorcery that's a good thing.

    We still actually get hit with anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 spam comments per day, but very, very few get through to the site. The one user annoyance is that every so often, there's a false positive, with a legitimate comment being held in moderation, but rarely for very long.

     

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  40.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:43am

    Re: Re:

    I almost agree with your opinion. Most of the trolls here should just ditch the "anonymous" tag and go with just plain old coward.

     

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    MrWilson, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:54am

    Re: Re:

    You're assuming that coward is always a negative denomination.

    I wish I were free to be brave. I wish I didn't have to be concerned about future employers knowing my thoughts about IP or trolls trying to make my AFK life hell just because they disagree with me. I wish my love for and my duty to my family didn't require me to shy away from proclaiming out loud all these things I believe with my name proudly attached to the letterhead. Sincerity and honesty are some of my most valued ideals in life. It's unfortunate that the honesty of my identity has to take a backseat to the liability of being honest in a world where the people with money and power believe that greed is a virtue, control is a right of the unethical, and apathy is a shield against the conscience they try to drown with money.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:58am

    Yeap, went and looked. Would have made a comment only you got to sign up and register to do so. Apparently they haven't gotten the idea right yet of what privacy means.

    So thank you for the info, nope not going to comment under those circumstances. Let it go to the younger crowd that doesn't see an issue with Facebook and the like robbing data where ever it can get it.

    I won't be signing up.

     

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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:40am

    It's not all about anonymity

    It's not just removing anonymity that is the problem - it's the fact that like many tech sites, I'd bet most of their commenters read and comment from work.

    That means facebook, twitter, g+ and a whole raft of social services are blocked - you can't actually sign in to post.

    Heck I use noscript to avoid hitting the corporate firewall logs too much so I don't even get to read comments from social accounts.

     

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    Phil, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:41am

    I've never commented via Facebook on any site, yet I'm commenting here. True for me then!

     

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    christian perry (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:45am

    Surprised about this

    Issues with anonymity aside, I really like FB comments. They integrate my participation in the blogosphere really tightly with the rest of my social (media) life, which is something that other blog comment platforms have woefully failed to do.

    FB Comments have a lot of other advantages. When I get a reply (and they handle threading quite nicely), it shows up on my Alerts, making me more likely to read and engage with it. The UI is speedy and simple. Plus, on a site like TC, where there's a lot of crossover between online and offline relationships, it's helpful to see who I know in a thread, and be able to identify them with both a name and face.

    Plus, it seems like the shift to FB comments has made the tone on TC a bit less troll-y and obnoxious, but that's a subjective call.

     

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  46.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:48am

    I remember getting into a friendly frustrating discussion with someone from their 'Contact Us' dept regarding being forced to sign up with Facebook just to comment on an article, that resulted in being told that there was no way around it. It amazed me that a site as big as TechCrunch would use such a crappy form of commenting system. I asked about the possible implementation of Disqus which I have used on my blog for a while now, but at that time, it was not going to be considered.

    Glad they have come to their senses and are no longer alienating a lot of people from the discussion.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:58am

    It seems to still be tough to make a comment on techcrunch.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 2:08am

    Re: Re:

    So, they no longer require you unblock doubleclick (doubleclick!!!) to join their site? That would be interesting news for me, I might think about getting an account there.

     

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  49.  
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    Murphy's Lawyer, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 2:54am

    Thanks

    Mr. Masnick,

    Thanks for allowing both anonymity and pseudonymity here. While neither is absolute, they can help us separate our lives into compartments we can feel comfortable with.

    I've noticed in the last year or so that more and more places online are requiring "real names". In consequence, I'm visiting less and less places online. I'm just glad I can still lurk, and occasionally post, here.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 3:38am

    the important thing is, will Techcrunch learn from the mistake or will it move to another site that also wants personal details before allowing comments?

     

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  51.  
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    Aria Company (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 3:39am

    Re:

    I disagree with this. In fact, I dislike the current "hide" feature as it is.

    Whether one wants to call it censorship, moderation, or just cleaning up the forum, it still blocks an opinion.

    It's detrimental to the idea behind an open discussion.

    Yes, trolling bites. No question there. But what's the point in shutting down the original comment that spurned all the "good" discussion?

    I should never have to unblock anyone's comment from a site that touts open commentary. It's contradictory, at the least.

    Some of you take TD's position seriously, and I respect that, but under no circumstances should anyone determine what is trolling.

    Because my tolerance of it far exceeds most around here. We're talking about the internet, after all.

    If people don't like the trolling comment, perhaps people should stop feeding it.

    As I've said before: to determine what's worse is difficult between those who troll and those who comment the troll, which entices them to keep trolling.

    Open does not mean hidden.

     

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    JustMe (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 4:00am

    Also went and looked

    First, couldn't see much of anything except the article so I checked AdBlocker and ScriptBlocker. Wowzers, probably five linear inches of things wanting to run scripts. Temporarily allowed TC and their scripting service, but still couldn't see any comments. Didn't feel like allowing the rest of the world to drop trackers on me just so I could *read* the responses to the new policy. Sorry TC, I realize you need to monetize but there needs to be a reason to visit in the first place. News I can get anywhere, I like reading comments from people.

     

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  53.  
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    Niall (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 4:37am

    Re: Thanks

    They miss out on all the fun pseudonyms too!

     

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  54.  
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    Zos (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 4:46am

    Not sure where the butthurt about facebook comes from. i mean...you lot aren't actually using your real name there are you?
    I like being able to quickly drop a comment on a random article and move on, for places that i don't visit often. If i have to create yet another account, on yet anothewr site...i'll usually just say fuck it and move on.
    obviously not an issue at techdirt.
    My only issue with the facebook social plug in is that it seems buggy as shit. often i'll get notification s for new commments, but when i get tro the article nothing actually shows in the comments section.

     

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  55.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:06am

    Re: Also went and looked

    Real pain the butt using that system of Comments.No, you won't see them at all unless you disable a bunch of normal stuff you use.
    You can try google chrome and the same thing happens.
    Took me a good 30 minutes to figure out how I can do a bunch of extra work so I can read those Comments and add my own.

    Using this type of system is a step backward and unnecessary.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    To extend this metaphor, it's best to just shut the door to that giant room. I use a browser addon that hides all the comments and youtube has never been better.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:24am

    Re: Re:

    And hidden does not mean blocked.

    In fact, I'm more inclined to look at hidden comments.

     

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  58.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:26am

    Re:

    societal-mores

    I don't think this mean what you think it means.

    Hint: they're not laws.

     

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  59.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re:

    as a fellow absolutist on free speech, i concur with most of your opinion...

    *however*, i do feel that the 'gentle' censorship of superficial 'hiding' the comment is really not very egregious; especially relative to what *most* sites practice in *really* censoring their comments...

    again, i agree with your sentiment in principle, but think this is about as harmless a method as could be to keep the signal-to-noise ratio up...

    overall, techdirt gets high marks for tolerating 'trollish' (one man's troll is another man's bridge toll collector) behaviors, as well as allowing essentially unfettered speech so we can pretend we are adults with a modicum of control over our lives and say 'pee pee' and 'poo poo' and shit...

    sometimes you just gotta call a fucking dickhead a fucking dickhead, and nothing else will do...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    Real Names ???

    Many long years ago, a colleague and I obtained (legitimately for work purposes) a full list of the names of all employees - around 80,000 names in all. We did a scan for the most common first name and surname and we found that the most common combination was NOT John Smith. It did occur (if I recall correctly) over a hundred times. We did find some quite unusual names appearing multiple times in the list.

    So go ahead and use the "real name" of your choice. Any of the sites that restrict what someone puts in as their name doesn't have clue as to what people have named their children.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Buster, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    I personally like the way FB-style comments are displayed, but I hate the fact that blogs and pages are forcing you to log into FB just to comment. I often refuse to comment and even a few read because reading will make m WANT to comment. It should be open.
    I like the idea of having all my accounts rolled into one single login, BUT the amount of spam, fake links, phishing, and so on makes me not want it. In addition to that, I like some separation. Ultimately it should be a choice: Either comment using FB or comment using your login for that specific site.

     

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  62.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    Not sure where the butthurt about facebook comes from. i mean...you lot aren't actually using your real name there are you?

    What??? You criminal you!!

    /sarc (unless have you actually read the US laws then it's /sad_but_true )

     

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  63.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re:

    *unless have you actually read *
    Seems Yoda the strong me in Yes?

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    dev, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:20am

    I never comment on sites that require me to use facebook or signup. The last thing I need is another account.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    Why Anonimity works

    When the masses, We the People, are allowed to use Anonymity and we have a point to make, as a mass, it removes the individual fear of retaliation allowing us to all express our minds with complete, real Freedom. Simple. For those that like movie references, I offer the masks used in the movie "V for Vendetta".

     

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  66.  
    icon
    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re:

    "Whether one wants to call it censorship, moderation, or just cleaning up the forum, it still blocks an opinion."

    I wouldn't say it block an opinion, but rather places a stigma on the commenter and usually for good reason. The majority of the comments I've seen get reported to the extent of being blocked are typically meant to goad people (mostly Mike) into a pissing contest with personal insults, which is not commentary or conducive to a public discussion.

    Frankly, if the commenter wishes to be heard and taken seriously, it's his/her responsibility to express themselves cordially.

    The other thing is, the report tool is driven by the community. In a way it's the community expressing it's disagreement with the commenter, so who is to say the community is wrong?

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    There's only one problem I have here:

    That persistent trolls are taken serious as 'our usual critics' by the article writers (I've seen Mr. Masnick say this). Initially this made me believe that these trolls were actually serious about the bs they were saying (and I keep seeing people who still think that).

    While I'm glad I've learned that they're (out_of_the_blue, average_joe and some other guy I can't name atm) just trolls and don't seriously believe what they're writing not everyone realises this.

    I believe in the 'don't feed the trolls' (just flag as spam and move on) this community appears fascinated by responding to those trolls with earnest response that I don't think they deserve.

    Other than that, this article is the reason I follow techdirt and not some other site.

     

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  68.  
    icon
    dennis deems (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Re: Surprised about this

    All the stuff you've said praising the greatness of FB is stuff I hate. On top of which, I don't like being required to log into an unrelated account, regardless of how many accounts I'm allowed to choose from.

     

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  69.  
    icon
    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re:

    Whether one wants to call it censorship, moderation, or just cleaning up the forum, it still blocks an opinion.

    It's detrimental to the idea behind an open discussion.


    I understand where this sentiment comes from, but I'm afraid I don't see how it makes any sense when you follow it through.

    It's impossible to have productive conversations, in any forum and on any topic, if every conversation is a free-for-all.

    If you organized a conference to have an open discussion about daffodils, would it be wrong to turn away someone who wanted to deliver a keynote about screwdrivers? Would that be detrimental to your "open discussion", or would it simply be keeping things on topic? I think most would agree that it's okay to "moderate" a particular forum in order to keep things relevant.

    Now, what if they wanted to deliver a keynote about how daffodils suck and this whole conference is stupid? It's on topic. Is it wrong to deny them access to your forum?

    Now what if you say: sure, come give your speech. We'll give you a room and a mic. But if the attendees close the door to your room and just walk past it, that's their decision, and we're not going to force them to listen -- anyone can still open the door and walk in if they want.

    Is that wrong? Because that's basically what happens here in the comments.

     

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  70.  
    icon
    dennis deems (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Added to the top of my To-Do list: find and install that addon.

     

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  71.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re:Hidden

    The fact that trolls did not "report" your post to make it hidden shows that the system is working.

    The hidden comments have been voted on by the community, the voting aspect of this site is part of what makes it interesting and keeps people returning. It isn't necessarily fair just as it isn't necessarily fair that something I find very funny doesn't get voted funniest post of the week.

    Oh wait. Yeah it is fair, and it makes the site more enjoyable. Not everyone has the same tastes.

     

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  72.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah I do to because I sometimes just cant wait to see what boB, Average_joe, and OOTB have to say. ;)

     

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  73.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    It was what kept me here

    When I stumbled on TD the open comments is what kept me here. I commented as an AC a few times, and I will even go as far to say that the openness made me want to join and register. It is rare to find such openness, and thats what sets TD above other blogs.

    Do trolls suck? Sometimes. Some of our resident trolls do provide an insight on the maximalist point of view. Insults aside it is a view into the way they think and it is import to show PPL that those views do exist by (i am giving the benefit of the doubt here) regular people, not just corporations or those who stand to benefit.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why not just avoid reading them?

     

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  75.  
    icon
    trparky (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Add this filter to AdBlock Plus...
    youtube.com###watch7-discussion

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The other thing is, the report tool is driven by the community. In a way it's the community expressing it's disagreement with the commenter, so who is to say the community is wrong?

    This is exactly my problem with it, all too often it's the community expressing its disagreement with the comment rather than actually blocking spam or something like that (note that "all too often" here is about once in every 20 or so blocked comments, which is still too often). If the comment sucks, people will ignore it. We don't need the hivemind to hide something from everyone else because they think we can't just ignore it on our own.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: TAM?

    I miss angry dude and weird harold ;_;

     

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  78.  
    icon
    crashsuit (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re:

    You're right, it is hard. I can't figure out how to leave a comment here either.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    Masnick has access to all the non-public Google tech, so it's not really a surprise, is it?

     

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  80.  
    icon
    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Like Mike says, very rarely does a spam comment get through their own inner filters.

    The fact remains, the report tool is a form of expression in it's own right. You may see it as pointless, but it still allows others to express their discontent when someone makes insults or attacks.

     

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  81.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re:

    You're just jealous he gets a gold toilet.

     

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  82.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    One problem with the "real names only" is figuring out what a "real name" is. For example, I know a young lady whose last name is Student. When she applied to FB, they rejected her application and insisted that she provide them ID before they'd allow her into the boyz club.

    Whereas, when I applied they just let me in. Apparently "Nonken" is pretty common (Huh? What?) but Student isn't.

    When I was running a BBS I once got a logon application from a guy named Joker. Looked it up... yep, there were several in the phone book. I wonder how many Jokers have been refused by FB?

    But I have to wonder: if everybody has to use a real name, and prove it, what's the story behind this?

    In the meantime, using your real name is no guarantee of civility. I've met a lot of people who are assholes in person, never mind hiding behind a computer. (Cue Dark Helmet...)

    Of course this has all been said before, but the comment is buried under half a ton of garbage. I don't expect anybody to read it. Except maybe Officer Obie.

    (P.S. Ms. Student has recently married. I asked her if FB would let her join now that she has a "real" name. She just laughed.)

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    William Chambers, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    Sounds like a shitty part of the industry you work in. My opinions got me where I am today and at the end of the day, I will compromise them for no one.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Given the traffic this site gets and the emphasis on Connecting with Fans, isn't anybody else shocked that the "community" here consists of half a dozen sycophants and a population of trolls?

    Do as we say, not as we do.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Re:

    So one minute we're simply trolls, and the next we're "paid MAFIAA shills"?

    We're neither, although you all pretend to not already know that.

    We're either artists, or people (like AJ) concerned about righting wrongs and stopping the exploitation of artists.

    This site, and all the other Google funded frontgroups and astroturf entities like Public Knowledge, EFF, Free Press, etc seek to make artists serfs, and to use the fruits of their labor to make Google more money. And that's something Google has a lot of; in fact they have so much cash that SEC rules require them to be classified as a bank. They had to get an exemption for this in 2006.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Manfred Manfriend, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re: Surprised about this

    So have you been working at facebook long or....?

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    martin, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re: Also went and looked

    Does not change the fact that it's a really stupid setup, but here's a remedy:

    With ghostery, you can allow scripts in your other plugins temporarily, yet ghostery still blocks the site when it recognizes it as tracker

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    its like the Howard Stern effect.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    Great. I wish more websites had the courage to allow anonymous comments.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re:

    nice try

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    The Techdirt comment system is one of my favorites. It lets the people deal with trolls without actually censoring anyone. Yeah I troll sometimes however it's directed at the man always.

    It pisses me off when I'm on TF and I see a comment that has been removed.. It just makes me so curious to what they said. It drives me crazy when I know I'll never know.

     

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  92.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re:

    This site refers to those that choose to comment anonymously as "cowards".


    You don't get out on the internet much, do you? "Anonymous Coward" is a traditional default name for those commenting anonymously. I believe Slashdot started the practice, but you find it all over the place. It's not intended or (usually) taken as an insult. TD didn't invent the practice, is far from the only one who engages in it, and clearly doesn't mean it as derogatory.

     

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  93.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    Re:

    If you don't want to be referred to as "Anonymous Coward," then just type a different name into the comment form. You don't even need an account to do that.

     

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  94.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    Re:

    But then you'd have to use OpenID or Mozilla Persona.

     

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  95.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    It's good that they ditched the Facebook requirement. Despite perceptions, there are huge numbers of people, particularly amongst the "tech elite" that do not have or want facebook accounts, and nobody is going to sign up for one just to leave comments on a blog. They will probably regain some readers by doing this.

    It's bad that they still require registration to leave comments. That alone will prevent me from returning.

     

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  96.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Surprised about this

    The problem is that they require you to have a facebook account to participate.

    Whatever the advantages are (most of what you cite I wouldn't call an "advantage", but that's neither here nor there), the disadvantage is that everyone who isn't a facebook member is immediately disenfranchised.

     

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  97.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    Re:

    the possible implementation of Disqus which I have used on my blog for a while now


    The problem with that alternative is that Disqus completely sucks in its implementation. Between the two, I'd rather a site used facebook, because either way I won't be commenting, but at least facebook doesn't slow the page loading time down to a crawl.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Anon Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 4:06pm

    just wantd to see how to do it!

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 4:34pm

    Re:

    test

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re:

    The responses to trolls here might be a bit more constructive than on youtube, however they serve no purpose: trolls don't change their mind about a topic, responding to a troll achieves nothing besides making the responder feel good about himself for his ability to contradict a troll.

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Troll comments are not opinions since trolls are not, by definition, people who disagree with you. Trolls are people who will post comments that are not constructive at all - they're the equivalent of people in real life who put their hands on their ears and shout "HERE IS WHAT I THINK AND I DON'T WANT TO LISTEN TO WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY BECAUSE I'M RIGHT AND YOUR WRONG".

    This is disruptive to any discussion that aims to be reasonable (the purpose of a debate is to exchange ideas so that both parties, if they do not come to an agreement, at least learn something new); people shouting their opinions while refusing to listen to others would be shut down in a debate in real life as well.

    The real issue is whether we can determine which posts are trolls and which ones are from reasonable people who just happen to have differing opinions.

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just wanted to add: trolls can also be people who use logical fallacies or make false claims on purpose. In any debate this is also frowned upon and repeat offenders would be asked to leave the room.

    The usual trolls here do this often. If you pay attention you may notice for instance that they frequently resort to strawman arguments (e.g. they'll purposefully misrepresent what articles here are saying) or ad hominems.

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Not My Real Name, Jan 26th, 2013 @ 3:06am

    Slightly off topic or maybe not:
    The whole 'you MUST use your real name' does not work anyway.
    How can it? I have 3 FarceBOOK accounts They are obviously not in my real name, how can any internet service demand your real name unless they also need proof of it.

     

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  104.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 26th, 2013 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re:

    *or* sounds like your 'opinions' conform to the subset that our korporate overlords approve of...

    seriously, there are VERY FEW 'industries' or other niches (mostly in the 'arts') where you are 'allowed' to be free-spirited enough to buck conventional wisdom and not face any/many consequences for it, IF/WHEN it becomes known...

    now, IF your 'opinions' are so mainstream and conventional that they brook no opposition from the korporate overlords, then you are free to spout this ultra-controversial (sarc) opinion as much as you want without any consequences...

    it is only when the nail sticks its head above the rest of the crowd, that The Man (tm) wants to hammer you back down to mediocrity... nails that don't pop up and make a nuisance of themselves, don't get the hammer...

    which nail are you, citizen ? ? ?
    hee hee hee
    ho ho ho
    ha ha ha
    ak ak ak

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  105.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 26th, 2013 @ 5:11am

    Re:

    yes, this is something i squawked about a while back:

    active, interesting threads 'go away' when their stories scroll off the frontpage, and it becomes annoying to keep up with them...

    also, i mentioned how i like slashdot's 'rating' system, which allows everyone to customize their browsing level on the comments...

    further, i was interested in how 'the community' might promote a debate where we would either vote or designate a couple people to go at some particular issue/point of debate... there are many times when one poster has cogent points 'con' the issue, and another is an effective 'pro', um, proponent, but their worthwhile debate can get lost in the noise (or even other useful comments)...

    again, overall, can't get too worked up with how techdirt does its comments; about as open as can be, while maintaining a modicum of fairness and order...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy

    eof

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2013 @ 12:14pm

    Long live Internet Freedom.

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    fslasd, Jan 27th, 2013 @ 8:03am

    THANK YOU. I'm told that on some facebook services like instagram, you are now required to upload a govt issued photo ID to access your data. The current trend is to increasingly curtail our rights in a way that doesn't really protect us at all (i.e. the TSA model).

     

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  108.  
    identicon
    tybor, Jan 27th, 2013 @ 9:31pm

    hello. forgive english. am hungrian.

    tech diapers i need ask question. am having serious problem with current man diaper. is container diapers really containing. if so will switch to yor brand diaper

    please to respond

    tybor tybor97@gmail.com

     

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  109.  
    identicon
    you don't need my name, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 8:03pm

    I don't know howmany we are but I'm the kind of person who will NEVER comment on your website if you force me to use facebook.

    Why would you pollute such a lovely brand as techdirt with the filth that is facebook?

    Makes it look to me as if you are looking for stupid people to drop you a line. HAHAHAHA

    How do we get rid of all the technically sophisticated readers? Wait I know! We can use facebook comments. Nothing will terrify them more than the wrath of joe sixpack.

    Lets have tech comments from people who couldn't do html. HAHAHAHA

     

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  110.  
    identicon
    photographer, Jan 31st, 2013 @ 2:25pm

    With these points we will definitely get the traffic we need on our blog. Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the insight you bring to the topic. Awesome stuff!

     

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  111.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    Good info Mike. Thank you.

     

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  112.  
    identicon
    Jules, Apr 6th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    FB is a social disease

    Was just reading this: http://raventools.com/blog/facebook-comments/

    and note that after posting all this garbage about creating an app and such, they end with announcing they've switched to Disqus - which I've found far easier to use and post comments with. FB is a nightmare if you don't jump through all their little hoops.

    I bet it's driven away most commenters from most other sites, too.


    FaceBook is not a social media, it's a social disease.

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Travis Jones, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    Facebook is a walled garden, it's silly to think we should only use facebook to make comments all over the web because half the people aren't even on facebook. What happens when Facebook is in the plot next to myspace? The whole web goes silent?

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    noosa accommodation, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:05am

    I think that the info you offer and the way you provide it is quite amazing, but why don't you add some more images? It is obvious that multimedia can help users get a clearer idea of what you want to tell them.

     

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  115.  
    identicon
    chat comercial, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:44am

    Keep everything going this way and your website will become the number one internet resource in your specific field! I am waiting for new posts!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 1:40am

    Re: Re:

    No reason why you can't be both.

    You like the DMCA so much? Here, have a DMCA vote! Give hurricane head a dick up the ass while you're at it.

     

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  117.  
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    bugmenot (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:06am

    Bad idea

    Who said that Facebook is some golden standard that everybody has? Not fair to users of other social networks.
    Honeymoon Destinations

     

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  118.  
    identicon
    PS4 Controller Shell, Dec 5th, 2013 @ 12:03am

    Disagree

    I think that Facebook commenting is great implementation for sites.

     

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  119.  
    identicon
    Sophie143, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 6:16pm

    Social Media Supplier

    I just stop and watch this website and i found out that this is very nice and interesting. I love to read blogs and articles i already bookmark this webpage. I'm looking forward to read more and I'll be back for more updates .

    thank you

    buy reverbnation plays

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120.  
    identicon
    Augustine Thomas, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    You're a troll!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
    identicon
    Gigi, Feb 19th, 2014 @ 4:42am

    interesting

    But I don't understand why? techdirt

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    Thomas, Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 1:10pm

    why facebook

    I always looked at Facebook as a kid's thing so why am I forced by most media to sign up. I like to comment so as "Putin must be the casualty of his own action' without having a home address attached to it.
    I have never used Facebook but have signed up several times. No wonder they have a billion users when everyone is forced to sign up or be irrelevant.
    give us a choice- such as using our email

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
    icon
    lostinbago (profile), Apr 11th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Facebook needed

    I've opposed using facebook signing for comments and haven't used it because all those sights don't just want to verify your identity, but use your sign in to reap contacts and emails. i find that too intrusive and resent allowing a third party to profit by selling my data. I am pleased to find a sight that has reversed itself on that objectionable policy. thank you. max berry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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