Should I require ID to comment?

I’m just thinking aloud here, rather than seriously considering doing so, but the latest episode of “Sam Dixon” pretending to be a Christian right wing poster makes me wonder if I should require some sort of proof of identity to allow people to register to comment?

There are now over 1,500 registered commenters. The vast majority of course are no problem. But it is especially those hide behind a fake identity who aim to disrupt.

Now I am not suggesting people should have to post under their actual name – absolutely not. There are many reasons why people don’t want to, and I respect that. But when you register a “username” on this blog, there is a voluntary field for actual name. I could make that field compulsory. Now no one doesn’t have editor access to the blog (currently just me and the ISP system admin) would see the real names, and I am happy to provide some sort of privacy guarantee – maybe even with sanctions for me if privacy is breached.

Of course people like Dixon could also just invent a real name, but I could also make a requirement to provide residential address and/or contact phone number. These again would be absolutely hidden from public view (and I would see if one could encrypt them even) and would only be used by me to verify an identity when someone first registers.

I have no strong desire to create more work for myself (in if this happened I might hire someone to handle registrations for me, and pay them out of the revenue) and I don’t want to create a disincentive for people to comment. I love the fact there are 1,500 registered commenters. But on the other hand, it may solve the problem of those seeking out just to disrupt.

Feedback is welcome.

UPDATE: I should point out that the vast majority of commenters can already be verified with their current details, because an e-mail address is compulsory to register and that often gives their real name

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