New data from the commenting platform, Disqus, finds people who don't use their real names generate more positive feedback from their peers.
The reason people are so mean to each other on the Internet is because the hide behind a cloak of anonymity or pseudonyms, right?
Pseudonyms occupy an odd space in the debate about whether Internet comment systems could be improved by pushing everyone to reveal their identities. The thinking goes that if people are held accountable for their comments, commenting will improve. But on the other hand, people want to preserve the special ability to comment anonymously -- and therefor more honestly -- that comes so naturally online. Pseudonyms are kind of a cross between the two: You can say what you want without fear of retribution (a la anonymity) but you also want to cultivate a persona, and, typically, you don't want it to be hated. The result? Better comments.