LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Changes to how people comment on the News-Press's online articles has a lot of people talking.
Wednesday night, the newspaper's website launched a Facebook feature requiring people to use their real names instead of online aliases to post comments on stories.
The News-Press is one of two Gannett papers testing the policy.
The move has sparked a debate over whether putting your name next to your opinion will further constructive dialogue or hinder it.
Since the paper announced the removal of anonymity, hundreds have taken to the site to voice their opinions.
"I was a little overwhelmed. I didn't expect that many people," says Terry Eberle, News-Press Executive Editor.
Eberle thinks the change is necessary to restore civility in what's become an online free-for-all. Lately, he's noticed some will hide behind screen names and attack, and even threaten, others who disagree with their opinion.
"It's just becoming an angrier and angrier civilization, and they're driving away all the people who really want to bring the conversation forward," Eberle says.
The Facebook feature will undergo a 60-day test run to work out the kinks and see if taking away the online mask will change the tone of the chatter.
"We're hopeful that if you put your name or your face to it, you're going to be a little more civil," Eberle says.
The website's forums will still allow anonymous comments.