Should online commenters register with a credit card?


I’ve lodged a comment today on Greg Jericho’s latest interesting piece at The Drum about privacy and freedom to comment.

My reason for doing so is the confusion that seems to have arisen about whether online commenters should register with a credit card.

I recall discussing this with both Greg and Jonathan Green at The Drum, so thought I would share my views on how/why it could be done.

This is what I had to say:

Another nice piece Grog. The irony of the Australian doing a feature on you yesterday was extreme to say the least.

Only to be exceeded, in fact, by your graciousness and generosity in doing the interview IMHO.

On the credit card point. I think that might have been something you and I once discussed. If so, I suggested that paying $1 by credit card to register to comment on an online news/opinion site would be more effective in proving that one is a “real” person than using one’s Facebook profile (which is a method used by some media organisations).

Using emails addresses or Facebook profiles does not weed out anonymous or pseudonymous commenters (clearly), or the astroturfing that can be perpetrated by them. But paying $1 by credit card demonstrates you are actually who you say you are, because the issuing bank will have made sure of that before issuing it to you. Or you would hope so……

2 thoughts on “Should online commenters register with a credit card?

  1. There are a couple of things you’ve mixed together here:

    1. Requiring a real identity to comment.
    2. Requiring payment for comment.
    3. Accepting credit cards.

    Point 1 seems to be the core of what you’re arguing, and deserves a good hearing/debate.

    But points 2 and 3 are deeply problematic for a number of reasons. However, there are efforts to solve it that are going on in the internetosphere.

    You may need to distinguish between an identity provided by, say, Google+ versus a “real” identity provided by a bank. Do you really need a “real” identity to achieve the effect you desire (cleaning up comments)? Probably not necessary, unless you have reason to think otherwise.

    There are many identity providers: Apple, Amazon/PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, or for those less interested in being fisted by an unaccountable corporation, there’s also OpenID.

    I’m commenting using my Twitter identity, for example.

    Efforts are being made to make these identities “real”, by linking them to financial institutions (i.e., credit cards), so you may get what you want without opening the can of worms that is charging for comment on your site.

    But suffice it to say, there are lots of people considering this problem in the blagosphere.

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