The Herald-Leader doesn't allow anonymous letters to the editor to appear on the Opinion page. Letter writers must provide their name and contact information so we can verify their identity.
For years, however, we have allowed anonymous comments to be posted at the end of articles on Kentucky.com. This has at times allowed a level of name-calling and personal attacks in that space that would never be allowed to appear in the Herald-Leader.
Starting Sunday, those who have something to say on Kentucky.com will be asked to say it with their name attached.
Readers who want to leave a comment on a story on Kentucky.com will now be required to log in using a Facebook account.
We have wrestled for years with anonymous online commenting, and it is one of the top sources of complaint I hear from readers about our website. Both online and in print, we welcome public debate and discussion, and online commenting spaces can provide a valuable virtual town hall for thoughtful discussion about the news of the day.
We have tried different commenting systems and methods, but those intent on disrupting the comment space simply create a new anonymous account to continue doing so.
We realize, of course, that Facebook commenting is not a perfect solution. We also know some people will be unhappy with this change. But on Facebook, most people use their true identities, and many of our readers already have Facebook accounts.
More than 33,000 people have already connected with us as followers on our main Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kentuckycom. Those who don't have an account can create one for free at www.facebook.com.
Through the years, many readers have told me that they either stopped leaving online comments or stopped reading them because of the mud wrestling in the comments section. I invite those readers to re-engage with us online.
Overall, we think this change will encourage a more respectful, civilized online discussion of the important issues affecting our city, region, state and nation.