This is an argument that is probably as old as the first comment left on a web forum or posted to a NNTP newsgroup and hasn’t gotten any clearer as we move into the Facebook world of social media. In fact many are suggesting that the forced use of real names predisposes people to leave better comments and is the idea being pushed by services like Facebook, and a growing number of blogs.
Well, it turns out that this might not be the case if a study by Disqus, a third party commenting system used on a very large number of blogs and other sites, holds any water.
The company analyzed nearly 500,000 comments that had been made on its platform and found that contrary to popular perception, and Facebook PR, those people that used nicknames, or pseudonyms, are responsible for some of the highest quality; and number, of comments on the web.
“The average commenter using a pseudonym contributed 6.5 times more than anonymous commenters and 4.7 times more than commenters identifying with Facebook,” Disqus said.
These partially veiled commenters are also soliciting more “likes” and replies — positive quality signals, according to Disqus — than their anonymous and real name counterparts. Sixty-one percent of comments made by people using pseudonyms showed positive quality signals, while 51 percent of comments from those using their real names and 34 percent from the anonymous types possessed positive quality signals.
Now Jennifer Van Grove was quick to point out in her VentureBeat post that because Disqus was a commenting platform and in direct competition with Facebook that was in their best interests to paint the information in a favorable light.