I have tried to keep an open forum on Complexity Simplified, to not discourage the free-flow of discussion, and for the most part I have not had any problem with allowing comments even from anonymous users. There has been a small amount of spam, mostly from those selling things that may or may not be legal, but nothing too overwhelming, so I have allowed anonymous users to keep on posting comments.
Unfortunately, though, I have noticed an increasing number of comments from anonymous users who I would like to engage in conversation, but who do not identify themselves. It seems that if you have a very specific point to make about my blog post, especially one that is based on a misperception or incorrect assumptions, you should identify yourself instead of lobbing unsubstantiated charges and statements from behind a wall of anonymity. After all, I sign my posts with my name, so why shouldn't those who comment have to do so as well?
So, to encourage people to sign their names, or at least their user handles, when they comment on my posts, I've now changed the settings to allow comments only from registered users. Okay, you're right: "encourage" is not the right word here. What I am doing is now "requiring" people to sign their names--and making this change has raised a lot of questions in my mind about what a blog's comment policy should be.
My question for more experienced bloggers: how do you handle comments on your blog? Do you moderate each comment? Do you allow free and open commenting? Or do you choose a middle ground, and, if so, how have you chosen that midpoint?
In this age of free-flowing information, when people anywhere in the world can post anything they want, including leaked classified information as was recently done by WikiLeaks, the comment policy of my little blog may seem a minor issue. But, of course, it's important to me, so I'm curious about how other bloggers handle this. Please add your advice below! And, yes, you have to be a registered user now to do so...sorry about that, but see above for my reasoning.