The Voice of OC announced a change in their comment policy today, switching to Facebook comments. What this means is that readers who comment at the Voice of OC won’t be able to hide behind anonymous names – and they will be forced to set up Facebook accounts so they can comment at the Voice of OC.
The downside to this new policy is that many readers may be afraid to voice their opinion as now folks will be able to stalk them via Facebook. Liberal Orange Juice blogger Greg Diamond, an attorney, once threatened to sue us because we wouldn’t reveal the IP address of a commenter he didn’t agree with. Imagine what he might do if he could track you down via your Facebook page?
The post announcing this comment change quickly attracted almost 100 comments, then they were all gone as the Voice of OC turned on their new comments. Many of the Voice of OC commenters who commented today said they were finished reading the Voice of OC.
Here is how the Voice of OC summed up their decision:
Nearly all major news organizations have had similar troubles with commenters and decided to either dedicate full-time staffers to monitor comments, require some level of registration, or both.
As a small non-profit, we want our resources focused on producing high-quality journalism – not monitoring comments – so we’ve decided to switch to a comment section that requires registration through Facebook starting Tuesday.
The Orange County Register made the same decision awhile ago and now they have hardly any comments and they are in financial trouble. We tried to go with Facebook comments but our readers didn’t like the feature. Today our readers can still comment anonymously on our blogs.
How will members of the OCEA, the public employees union that bankrolled the Voice of OC, feel about not being able to comment anonymously any more?
And was this move really done to squelch comments from folks the Voice of OC editors disagree with?