A Note to Commenters

It may be worthwhile to point out in these days of heightened focus on Internet privacy that there isn’t as much anonymity as one might think.

This is particularly true for commenters on L.A. Daily Mirror posts or indeed for commenting on any major blog platform.

You may sign your comment YouWillNeverFindMeHaHaHa@aol.com but in fact your IP address is also saved. It is easy to look up 123.45.678.910 and see who’s being a pest.

No comments get posted without my approval. I don’t have any qualms about banning people who have nothing constructive or pertinent to offer.

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
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3 Responses to A Note to Commenters

  1. Cal and Lulu says:

    So, if we understand you correctly, You or anyone who has a blog that is open to comments, can find out who the commenter’s IP address is by using 123.45.678.910?

    • lmharnisch says:

      Not exactly. Whenever someone leaves a comment on TypePad or WordPress, for example, they are asked to leave an email address. Most people do. A few leave a bogus email address like YoullNeverFindMeHaHaHa@aol.com, figuring that this protects their identity. But it doesn’t. The blog platform automatically logs all commenters’ IP (Internet Provider) addresses, but instead of “MyInternetProvider.com” it’s numeric and looks like this “123.456.78.910.” Then it’s easy for the blog administrator to use a reverse lookup and find the commenter’s IP (let’s say it identifies the IP as att.net) and the commenter’s location, let’s say Hayfork, Calif. So in a matter of a few keystrokes, the commenter is narrowed to an att subscriber in Hayfork, Calif.

      And that’s just for starters.

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