Bearing the gleeful headline, "Bye-bye trolls?," an article moved over the wire this week about software company Activision Blizzard requiring people to use their real names when they post in its online gaming forums.
The move, according to The Associated Press, "is the latest sign that online anonymity is falling out of favor with many companies." As partial proof, the article points to a recent announcement from The Buffalo News that it will require commenters on its website to "give their real names and the towns they live in, just as they would do in a printed letter to the editor."
How face-numbingly boring will that be? Half the fun of any newspaper website is perusing the insane asylum following each article: the political extremists, the critics and player haters, the antagonistic know-it-alls who call everyone an idiot while policing "grammer." At the Statesman site, the Broncos vs. Vandals war about everything ...
Many newspapers moderate comments, deleting the truly vile, but few are able to keep up with the bonehead blitzkrieg. Sure, some commenters are thoughtful, intelligent contributors, but they're almost universally trampled by the comically delusional.
At the Statesman, we've debated the pros and cons of online commenting. Right now, comments are anonymous. Who knows what the future holds?
Blizzard — which makes the popular game "World of Warcraft" — is hoping the change will encourage a more positive environment on its forums and cut down on the ugliness that permeates the Internet.
It might help a little.
But let's face it: There are a whole lot of unhappy campers out there. Forcing trolls to divulge their real names won't keep them under bridges.
To read the complete column, visit www.idahostatesman.com.