Feminism 14 November 2011 Normal person + internet anonymity = ? Talking on <em>Woman's Hour</em> about sexist trolling online. Print HTML This morning, on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, I think I managed to shock Jane Garvey by relating some of the lowlights from the stories of sexist abuse I've been told in the last few weeks. We talked about whether women get more abuse, how comment threads could be moderated and what percentage of commenters are abusive. "People are just really nasty on the internet," said my fellow guest Tamara Littleton, of e-Moderation. We didn't have time to get into it on the programme, but one of the most interesting things to come out of the discussion is whether anonymity is the problem (you can see a light-hearted treatment of that here). I can see the arguments against insisting on real names -- because those in sensitive jobs may feel inhibited from commenting otherwise -- but I think that discussion forums should encourage users to invest in an identity, to take pride in their contributions. The Guardian, for example, does this with commenters' profiles, so you can see everything a person has written and many sites require registration with an email address. Another interesting suggestion I've heard in the last couple of days is charging a nominal one-off fee - say 20p - for your first comment. The NS's own David Allen Green, meanwhile, uses pre-moderation on his personal blog, and said this gives the comment section a "letters to the editor" feel. You can listen to the segment from Woman's Hour here. It's about 20 minutes into the programme. › Reviews round-up Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics. Subscribe More Related articles No, feminists aren’t scared to write about the Cologne attacks Helen’s story of abuse in The Archers reminds me of my own – so I’m willing her to leave Barbie has a new look. Time to celebrate?