Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, December 14, 2007

An End to Sockpuppetry at the Daily News?

Sock-puppeting - the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company.
- The New York Times, July 16, 2007

April writes:
The LMT has a new feature. My user name is locked in and there is a reader poll for each entry. We will see how it goes...

The change to the on-line comments is no longer active, but I am guessing that the LMT was testing the new system last night Hopefully, they will follow through and extend it to the Daily News. At least it would cut down on the sock puppets.
Indeed. New online subscribers to the Daily News now see the following screen:

Making this retroactive to thousands of existing users might be tricky.

The reader poll for each comment is similar to what I have seen on other newspaper websites. The idea is that after a comment gets x number of negative flags, it is moved into a special negative comments section that you have to click on to view. This might be useful if each user only got one vote. At least the user would have to choose to see all the slime.

These enhancements do not go as far as I would like (if you have to give your name for a letter to the editor, why not for a comment that is published on the newspaper website just like a letter?), it would be a good start. As it stands now, the commenting system on the Daily News website is completely subject to fraud and abuse and has absolutely no legitimacy, since anyone can post as anyone else as many times as they like.

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