Business Commentaries

Anonymous Commenting is Back!

Call us crazy (many do), but we are once again relaxing the “real name” commenting policy for those of you that want to post anonymously using a screen name. This is the most requested feature that we hear from readers.

No login is required to post comments on We still encourage real names, or at least an identity (i.e., Matt C.). The option to use your Facebook account to post comments remains available too.

The interactivity of public comments is what largely differentiates a blog from a newspaper. Much of it is pure bile, but online comments could be the most significant contribution to journalism because it reflects the open views of the community … for better or worse. does not sell advertising, so it has never been about getting clicks, but rather how to encourage the best conversation on neighborhood issues. The number of real name comments has been steady and growing. With the added option for screen names, we do not expect the number of comments to increase dramatically.

As always, we won’t allow nasty or inappropriate comments. Check our comments policy for guidelines. Comments are moderated so it can take some time for them to appear on the website. Please keep it clean and as respectful as you can muster!

Why flip the switch (again)? Here are some of the reasons we’re giving Lollipop Lollipop another chance.

  • We want comments to represent the diversity of the community and encourage debate.
  • We know that many folks worry about search engines storing their comments forever under their real name. We understand that in 20 years, you might not want a potential employer or others to find them.
  • A number of incidents have come up where people would send constructive comments but did not want them posted using their full name. Many asked to use just their first name or nickname. Under the real name policy, these comments never showed up. This felt like stifling the conversation.
  • We track a lot of other websites and how they deal with comments. On neighborhood sites, we have noticed a strong reluctance to use real names because of the physical proximity.
  • We agree that not everyone on Hanover Street needs to know your views on political or controversial issues. We receive lots of insults and occasionally threats of retribution, but that does not mean you need to put up with that.
  • Our readers are smart. They can usually make their own judgements on how to take the comments of others.
  • We want comments that move the stories forward, even if that means more work for us in moderating them. We are more accepting of the fact that some comments are just plain stupid.

For details, see the updated comments policy. As always, we will continue to monitor and reserve the right to change our mind in the future. Much of our thought process came from the New Haven Independent and Media Nation. We credit them with having significant influence on our comments policy.

So, whether you want credit or want to stay anonymous, feel free to mosey on up to the virtual water cooler and make a comment!

Matt Conti, Editor

5 Replies to “Anonymous Commenting is Back!

  1. Good move, comments should pick up again.

    How many people do you have reading the blog these days, Matt?

  2. Perfect. Thanks Matt. I would never give my name here. Look back at the post about smoking at the pool. Why would I want that woman to know my name?

  3. @Andy … I don’t sell advertising so the numbers are less important to me than putting out information that people care about and is useful to the community. Of course, it’s always nice to see that people are reading.

    I’ve been pleased that the number of readers continues to grow. Over the last month, the site had nearly 100,000 page views, over 50,000 unique visits by over 30,000 unique visitors. I use Google Analytics to track these numbers. Sometimes it spikes higher or dips lower depending on what is going on.

    Not bad for a neighborhood with only 12,000 residents! Obviously, there is a broader audience that follows the site in the greater Boston area and we have quite a few Italian readers too.

  4. Great decision! I’m a regular reader but have held back from commenting because of the previous policy. It will be good to be able to participate more fully now.

Comments are closed.