taming trolls by connecting users to their online identity
Inspired by NRKbeta’s analysis of this I went ahead and applied for a beta user account for Dagbladet’s new debate profiles. Dagbladet is one of Norway’s biggest newspapers and has a very active user community – perhaps communities would be a better word. Most (or all?) of their articles are open for comments, but often the comment threads fill up fast with trolls, or just with people wanting to vent the same venom (women suck and I’m outraged that my ex-wife makes me pay child support) again and again. As a way of combatting this, Dagbladet is experimenting with giving registered “real name” users priority in debate, so registered users show up first in comment threads, and with a nice icon and link to their profile. Of course I signed up.
The way Dagbladet provides context for debaters is pretty cool. Yes, they want full names, and encourage you to upload a photo. More interestingly, they connect your Dagbladet account to other parts of your online identity. So when someone clicks on my name in the comment thread of a newspaper article, they’ll see my profile page at Dagbladet, which includes not only my comments on that site but also my Twitter posts and posts to my blog. That’s a pretty good way of grounding me, of giving me a context. And it also means that I’m less likely to want to act like an idiot and attack people in debates on Dagbladet – because it’ll all be visibly part of my “self” online. It’d be as silly as acting like an idiot in real life. Sure, some people still do that, but it has social repurcussions.
Here’s where you sign up for a beta account. I got my email after a couple of days.