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Anonymity issue gets resolution

Readers have long complained about the anonymity allowed on our website,, and have queried us on why we allow it.

Now we’re doing something about it.

Facebook is replacing the anonymous commenting system. Anyone seeking to comment on a story will need to use their Facebook account or create one. This system will identify those posting comments by their actual names.

Why are we doing this? Often, anonymous comments have verged on being abusive and, we think, unnecessarily so. While we had no legal requirement to monitor comments, we have done so because it was the right thing to do.

But the abusive comments continue to be posted at all hours of the day and night and often by the same people using different avatars.

We believe comments should be held to the same standards as public speaking in that an individual should provide his or her identity when making a public comment.

Facebook is the engine that allows us to do this and to, we hope, start a more informed discussion and debate about issues. As one of the more popular social networking tools, with some 65 percent of adult Internet users having an account, Facebook seemed the most logical step to continuing public discourse in a more civil manner.

We invite readers to make comments about stories and to start or continue a conversation about issues that matter. It is as much a part of journalism as the investigations we publish.

Your voice is important. All we ask is that you stand by what you say by letting people know who you are.

It’s the right thing to do.

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If you have any questions about this change or have any comments regarding it, feel free to contact Managing Editor Dawn Cobb at .