NPR’s Sara Sarasohn discusses the issue of online privacy as connected with commenting on Web sites:
Recently, one of my favorite independent bloggers, Alyssa Rosenberg, got a regular spot at The Atlantic. I saw that she wasn’t getting many comments on her first few posts and I know that comment volume is one way bloggers measure success. So I decided to comment. I didn’t have anything deep or provocative to say; I just wanted to encourage her.
When I tried to comment, I got a dialog box from Disqus. It said, “Before we post this, who are you?”
I only know about Disqus because I edited a story about people being nasty to each other in comments. Disqus was one of the solutions presented to make online comments more civil. It keeps track of your online identity across different sites.
You can bring your reputation as a civil, responsible person from one place to another. I thought, “OK, here I go, stepping into a civilized website that is responsibly trying to raise the level of online discussion.”
Then Disqus asked me to log in using an account that I had already established with another reputable site. […]
So those were my choices to bring my reputation with me via Disqus: privacy-impaired Facebook, professional Twitter, dead zone Yahoo or deeply personal OpenId. Suddenly, Disqus didn’t seem so much like the perfect civilized solution to rampaging blog comments. Eventually, I used the Twitter ID because that seemed like the most benign choice for my benign comment.