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Anyone who's read a news article online... ever... can see that old-style commenting ( ie: Enter your name, email address, and website (optional) ) is broken. StackOverflow's reputation model, and Quora's identity-based approach are two commenting systems that come to mind that seem to be effective in keeping people on, or near, topic.

What is the most effective method of soliciting comments?

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There are a number of factors, some of which are beyond the interface's control like the nature of the content, but one factor in your control is how to handle identity.

Disqus published a blog post and infographic a few months ago looking at policies of real-names vs. pseudonyms vs. complete anonymity, and found that pseudonyms (stable but user-defined) produced the best quality of commentary. Give the post a read, it's worth it and not very long.

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