A new post by Erick Schonfeld up at techcrunch points to some data from online comment management system DISQUS.
The take home as interpreted by Schonfeld:
According to the data, 61 percent of all Disqus comments are made via pseudonyms, versus 35 percent anonymous and 4 percent using real names (i.e. Facebook). People with pseudonyms also comment 6.5 times more than those who comment anonymously and 4.7 times more than commenters who use real names.
Okay, but what about the trolls? Disqus maintains that only does allowing pseudonyms produce more comments, but the quality of the comments is also better, as measured by likes and replies. Disqus maintains that 61 percent of pseudonymous comments on its system are positive in that regard, versus only 34 percent positive for anonymous comments (I knew it!) and 51 percent positive for comments made using real names. People who use pseudonyms post better comments on Disqus. Their comments are liked more and generate more discussion.
There you have it folks. Data to prove what I've maintained nearly constantly since starting a pseudonymous blog that allows anonymous commentary. And, more specifically, since I've started pointing out that online venues that 1) overtly desire vigorous commentary and 2) require real name registration are shooting themselves in the foot....after tying one hand behind their back.