A penny – no, 99 pennies – for your thoughts

The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, MA announced today that that it is charging a fee of 99 cents to post a comment on a story, according to an article in editorandpublisher.com.  The stated purpose is to police comments.  I can certainly understand this action given some of the asinine reaction comments to just about any article in an online edition of the newspaper.  Spam messages also have a way of getting into the comments section. It seems to occur mostly in daily newspapers.
I checked the Sun Chronicle’s Web site and learned that the 99 cents is apparently a one-time registration fee. Also, commenters must use their real names.  This is just another example of what happens when people abuse a system.  I would not mind seeing all newspapers go to requiring real names of commenters.  That’s the same policy as a letter to the editor.  I’m all for free speech, but I’m also for responsible speech.  This policy seems to accommodate both.

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