After some thought, I have decided to change my comments policy. When I first began this blog, I ran an open comment section where comments posted immediately. I really hated to have to permanently turn on comment moderation. I liked the spontaneity of an open comments section, but it had been heavily abused both by spammers and by malicious people. So with some regret I began requiring that comments be held for approval.
Today, I go one step further and have the courage of my convictions. I will no longer publish pseudonymous comments. Yes, some of my best friends are pseudonymous, and all kinds of people say they have all kinds of good reasons for not using their real names. And I've had lovely, insightful, valuable comments from people who don't use their real names online. But I've had a lot more abuse and harassment from the pseudonymous, and on occasion my trust and willingness to believe that someone had a good reason for concealing their identity has been horribly abused. Enough is enough.
On average, people behave worse when given the opportunity to conceal their identities. You yourself may well always be on your best behavior when undercover, but you give cover to others' dreadful behavior and to loathsome creeps. I will no longer be offering up web space to pseudonymity, though I will not be purging the site of past comments left under the previous policy.
I am getting incredibly sick of having to use special tools to sort out who is speaking. I don't care if your hundred best friends know you by the name of a Tolkien character or some such, if I don't know who you are and you aren't willing to share that information, I am no longer willing to publish your comments. If you need the witness protection program, you are in the wrong place.
While I do not dispute your right to use an alias on the Internet, cyberspace is large, and if you need to do that, you can do it elsewhere.