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.

My profile page at

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.

10 thoughts on “taming trolls by connecting users to their online identity

  1. Inge Thorud

    @jilltxt om vår innføring av nye profiler i debattene på Vi tar gjerne i mot flere testere!

  2. […] Dagbladet omstiller og fornyer seg, alt for ?• m??te den nye tid – eller avisd??den som den ogs?• kalles. Interessant nok velger Dagbladet (igjen) ?• gj??re sine endringer innomhus. NRK har som kjent NRKbeta der (en del av) statskanalens fornyelse skjer i full offentlighet og i tildels n?¶rt samarbeid med leserne og brukerne av tjenestene. Dagbladet gj??r ?•penbart noen riktige grep og implementerer interessant nok elementer fra sosiale nettverk. […]

  3. Magnus Hoem Hagen

    Thank you for sharing your first experiences with the new features, Jill. As to our intentions, youíre quite on the spot: Lack of context has been an evident problem in our application so far. Hopefully, this means an improvement on that matter.

    Dagbladet.noís take on these issues feels like a continuous experiment. Ever since we opened our articles for comments, several adjustments have been made in order to keep the debate as good as possible.

    Obviously, we havenít always been that successful in doing so. Seeing comments like yours being written on now, though, make it all worth the effort 🙂 Of course, such comments deserve a response from the writer of the article, and we hope added context will make it more worthwhile for journalists to jump into a dialogue with their readers.

    – Magnus,

  4. Jill Walker Rettberg

    Magnus, I like the concept – and for the first time I actually felt comfortable commenting in Dagbladet’s debates (previously I’ve just assumed I’d be drowned by trolls).

    Are you planning on letting me friend other users? I assumed I’d be able to friend NRK Beta’s ÿyvind Solheim Solstad, for instance, and was surprised when I couldn’t find an option for that. I realise it’s still in Beta, but it’d be an obvious expansion (which you’ve probably thought of).

  5. ÿyvind Solstad

    Did you mean ÿyvind Solstad or Eirik Solheim? Yeah, I know. Two “sol”… 😉

  6. […] One of Norway’s largest newspapers, Dagbladet, is attempting to discourage trolling by creating user profiles with real names, a head shot and a profile. Participants willing to submit to the process are given priority in comment threads, though the forums also remain open as before. […]

  7. Inge Thorud

    Magnus is currently offline, on a train somewhere, so I’ll step in: We’re working on connecting users to each other, and we’ll probably launch it in the next couple of weeks.

    The functionality will resemble twitter’s followers more than the private Facebook version. We want you to be able to both connect to your friends, like ÿyvind Solstad, as well as follow other interesting users, like a journalist or a person you often (dis)agree with in debates.

  8. Jill Walker Rettberg

    Oops, sorry ÿyvind, I promise I’ll try to get your name right next time!! Inge, I’m looking forward to the following options. And yes, following people you DIS-agree with is important – so the term “friend” is not appropriate, is it.

  9. […] Twingly er en annen sak som forbinder blogger. Se p en artikkel i Dagbladet – nederst er det lenker til blogger som har lenket til artikkelen. En annen ny vri Dagbladet gj¯r er  la folk lage profiler som knytter sammen kommentarene deres i Dagbladet med bloggen deres og Twitter-feeden deres – smart  skape kontekst for debatt p den mÂten. Her er min profil hos Dagbladet. Dette  samle forskjellige sider av onlinevirksomheten din er noe det ser ut til  bli mer og mer bruk for. Jeg viste tidligere hvordan man f.eks. kan lime in sine i bloggen sin. Det fins ogs egne sites for  organisere egne sites: Secondbrain og Friendfeed, ja, og mange flere. […]

  10. R.N.

    It has struck me how Bergens Tidende selectively opens for debate on
    While the newspaper has complained of trolls, it’s the articles that create heated debates conforming to the bergen-stereotype that’s open for debate, such as “Er du ein bergensar?” and “Se listen med byens beste og verste str¯k!”. At the same time, an article on offshore windmills and one on a school lacking teachers, were closed for comments. It’s the latter articles that could have gotten added value from reader comments, but BT focus on comments as entertainment. isn’t that afraid to be corrected and reprimanded by their readers and Their motivation for twingly is commendable. Anders Brenna goes into more detail on their strategy in his blog-post. He’s jumped ship from to Teknisk Ukeblad and it would be exciting if his strategy and vision for online journalism works out.

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