January 11, 2012

Disqus Product Blog | Infographic
One of the most popular commenting services for news websites and blogs says its data shows that commenters using pseudonyms are “the most important contributors to online communities.”

The service gives each user the option of commenting with a Disqus account, a social media identity or anonymously. It says 61 percent of commenters use pseudonyms, 35 percent choose to be anonymous and 4 percent use their “real identity” verified by Facebook. It also says those with pseudonyms post the best comments, while anonymous comments are lower quality. One theory: People don’t mind being accountable online, but they don’t want it to blow back on their work or personal lives by using a real identity. A pseudonym protects them while providing a measure of accountability.

Disqus says commenters using pseudonyms are most likely to post “positive” quality comments that get likes and replies. “Negative” comments are those that get marked as spam, flagged or deleted.

Disqus releases these results as it faces competitive pressure from Facebook’s own comments plugin that many news sites have been using to verify identity, drive social referrals and raise the level of discourse.

Earlier: News sites using Facebook Comments see higher quality discussion, more referrals5 lessons from how Philly.com handled comments on Conlin sex abuse stories | New York Times overhauls comment system

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Jeff Sonderman (jsonderman@poynter.org) is the Digital Media Fellow at The Poynter Institute. He focuses on innovations and strategies for mobile platforms and social media in…
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