A while back it became standard practice for most newspapers to allow comments on the web versions of their stories. Personally I thought it was a necessary step, and I thought it would make for a kind of interactive version of "Letters to the Editor." Now my opinion is that if you judge a population by the comments left on the websites of news organizations then we're a bunch of flaming idiots.
At least one newspaper has decided to try and make some lemonade with their commenting lemons. It's going to charge people who want to comment on stories:
From tomorrow, the Sun Chronicle, a Massachusetts paper, will charge would-be commenters a nominal one-off fee of 99 cents. But it has to be paid by credit card, which means providing a real name and address.
And the name on the credit card will be the name that will appear on comments. So it's goodbye to anonymity.
At the same time, the poster must acknowledge that he/she will abide by US state and federal law and agree to be legally responsible for any content he/she posts.
They won't make a dime, but I have to give them an A for effort.