Idea for Hacker News: Add a waiting period before new accounts can post. Like registering a gun.

A picture named can.gifThe other day I suggested perhaps adding blocking to HN, mostly as a way of starting a discussion. And it led to some interesting ideas that I think are worth considering.

A lot of the personal attacks come from accounts created to post one message. The user has never commented before, or submitted a link to the site.

So here are some ideas:

  • 1. Add a waiting period before new accounts can post. Like registering a gun.
  • 2. Charge for creating an account. Maybe $5 or so. Not very much money, but perhaps enough to make someone think again. If they want to be anonymous, use Bitcoin. That’s what it’s for.
  • 3. Automatically downvote posts from accounts created within the last hour. Make it clear to readers that this comment was made by a new account.

What made me think of this idea was yet another one-off flame from a user named redmarx who created the account 13 hours ago, the exact same time his post was created. Now what do you think is going on there? A courageous whistle-blower, or a coward who doesn’t want to own his or her own words? 🙂

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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