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Anonymity and Online Community: Identity Matters (04 Apr 2006)
It’s true that membership systems guarantee you know nothing more about a person than they want you to know—a one-time use email address, a pseudonym, etc. But it’s not the quality of the registration data that is the purpose of registration—it’s the process itself. By requiring users to take an affirmative action (that requires some minimal effort on their part), it weeds out the casual troublemaker from an interested user. Such registration also conveys perceived value of your site’s membership benefits (even if they are as simple as being able to post to the community or read an article). Registration doesn’t prevent community trouble, but it does present a small but important psychological barrier that turns away many casual would-be agitators.
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