Petty and infantile, that's how I'd sum up the handling of a recent situation on the stltoday.com website (the website for the St. Louis Post Dispatch).
Kurt Greenbaum, after getting an anonymous commenter to resign his job [Ars Technica] when he looked up the commenter's IP address and ratted out the commenter to the school for which he worked, posted a little self-congratulatory post on the Post's website, as well as his personal blog.
Excerpt from the post:
I heard from the school’s headmaster. The school’s IT director took a shine to the challenge. Long story short: Using the time-frame of the comments, our website location and the IP addresses in the WordPress e-mail, he tracked it back to a specific computer. The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot.
I'm not sure if Kurt understands the concept of anonymous posting and spam comments... on this little thing called the 'Internet,' people spam blogs and such with annoying, crass, rude, insensitive, and pointless drivel almost constantly. Even if you require people to be registered users / subscribers, you will get spam. You learn to deal with it. I could care less about the identity of anonymous commenters—and they should know they can always be tracked, to a certain extent—but the idea of selectively calling out certain commenters detracts from the idea of an 'open forum.' I've seen much more insulting and crass comments on the Post's website, so I don't know what got Mr. Greenbaum's feathers in such a kerfuffle.
You'd think the Post, a sanctuary for Catholic-bashing comments and radical vulgarity (in my experience), would either grin and bear the vulgar comment left by an anonymous commenter on the earlier post, or at most delete the comment and move on. Such should be the policy of a large news organization that leaves all their postings open to droves of anonymous commenters (a bad idea anyways, in my book).