Is nixing anonymous comments?

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If you’re one of our many readers riled by anonymous comments on, take cheer: a Conservative MP wants to outlaw the practice.

“One of the best ways to end online and electronic bullying, libel and slander would be to force people posting hurtful comments to properly identify themselves,” MP Dean Del Mastro wrote on his Facebook page last week. “This morning I read comments on a news story posted on an electronic news publication, many of them could only be described as hateful rants. The common denominator is that none of them identified the person that wrote them; this strikes me as something that parliament should address.”

The same concerns have cropped up among MBN readers as they review and add their own comments to those posted on the site.

Many have called for mandatory name disclosure.

“I believe people will show more professionalism in their comments and less prone to vicious attacks when they’re clearly identifiable with their comments,” said Vic Lehan, broker at Mortgage Architects in Lemington, Ont. “This will hold people more accountable to what they say.”

Still, many other readers, while sympathetic to that position, argue anonymity is the best way of enriching the dialogue between brokers who might otherwise be reticent to share their concerns about networks, lenders and colleagues.

“I get that and I totally agree with that point,” said Kilted Broker, aka Jackson Middleton, a Regina, Saskatchewan-based broker. “As a news publication, you want to encourage engagement and open discussion. In certain situation some people only feel safe to freely express their thoughts when their true identity is not known.”

However, Middleton, whose Kilted Broker handle can be easily traced to his blog and professional website, thinks anonymous post are not likely to be taken seriously.

“I think if you strongly feel you have something to say, you should sign your name beside it,” he said. “When I see anonymous comments, I don’t take them seriously.”

  • John Dearin RPA,. AMP. on 2012-10-31 12:57:07 AM

    I can`t agree with `Kilted Broker ` re the anonymous poster would only “feel safe to freely express their thoughts when their true identity is not known``. I don’t get that. I generally don`t read posts by anonymous posters anyway and the few that I have read get zero weight. Having looked back at Kilted Broker’s posts, he has brought some serious comments here that I missed. My review noted most anonymous posts here are full of sarcasm, innuendos, personal and corporate attacks. Gutless and cowardly posts that in my opinion add very little to the conversation.

    I am more concerned that a bloody politician will be looking at this and regulating what we can and cannot say. THAT scares the %@$#$ out of me.

    We need some decorum, if you object state your opinion. If a post is blatantly wrong, offer a correction.

  • @kiltedbroker on 2012-10-31 9:06:23 AM

    John, I agree with you 100%, I hate the anonymous comments that are full of sarcasm, innuendos, personal and corporate attacks. I agree that they are gutless and cowardly posts that add very little to the conversation. My comment that "people feel safe to freely express their thoughts when their true identity isn't known" was actually meant to make this point. The fact that they are allowed to post anonymously encourages an over the top rant style of writing that involves no consequence. I think we are on the same page.

    I am all about constructive conversation that betters our industry and I am not afraid to put my name behind my comments!

  • John Dearin RPA,. AMP. on 2012-11-02 9:12:29 PM

    Agreed, Jackson. We have a great forum here to voice opinions, we as a professional group should not let the few bring it down to thier level. I enjoy a good fight as much as the next guy, as long as I can "see" who I am fighting.

Broker news forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

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