Study Shows Pseudonyms Lead to the Best Comments

5 years ago

Mashable recently reported on an interesting study done by the commenting mechanism, Disqus. Disqus discovered that "Commenters who use pseudonyms tend to offer better comments." Which opens up a new thread in the ongoing debate about using real names instead of aliases on the Internet. This is coming on the heels of Google+ also announcing that they're finally going to be allowing people to utilize a pseudonym provided it is an established alias and not a newly created one.

Using a pseudonym is somewhere between being anonymous and using your real name. On one hand, pseudonyms are freeing, allowing people to write openly on difficult topics that they may not want people in their face-to-face world to know about. On the other hand, when people keep the same pseudonym across multiple social media platforms, that name becomes its own identity, one that needs to be nurtured and treated with circumspection as much as a real name account.

Plenty of sites and blogs allow people to comment in a multitude of ways -- with your real name (tied sometimes to your Facebook account using a Facebook login option), a pseudonym, or anonymously -- and as the Mashable article points out, it's clear to see the Disqus findings replicate themselves.

Anonymous comments tend to be harsher than necessary, presenting commentary that is usually more hurtful than helpful. Real name comments tend to be more guarded since people are cognizant of how their online words could affect their day-to-day life. But pseudonyms allow people to speak openly -- frankly -- in a way that they may not feel comfortable doing if they knew their words could be found by friends and family members in the future.

What do you think? Do you use a pseudonym? If you do, how does it effect what sort of comments you leave?

Photo Credit: Paper Dolls via Shutterstock.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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