I very much enjoy Beacham McDougald’s Scotland County history column in The Laurinburg Exchange. I agree with him that using Disqus that allows for anonymous discussions can be very destructive to local community. Though I no longer live in Scotland County, I learned from the First Footers reunion last fall that online discussions of local elections had gotten so toxic that it almost led to fist fights.
Civility and democracy are very much in danger in the United States. Journalism organizations must do their part to bring it back, and one simple thing that could be done is to disallow anonymous comments. People are much more likely to act with civility and politeness if their names are required in online comments, and they have to take responsibility for their words. The First Amendment does not protect anonymous comments.
Thanks for your consideration.