According to a new data published by Disqus, Internet commenting is at its best when people hide behind fake names, not when they use their real names or no name at all. Disqus is one of the Web's more popular commenting platform, used at sites like CNN, Mashable, and (oh looky there!) The Atlantic Wire. One of its redeeming virtues is the three separate ways it lets people comment: anonymously, with a pseudonym, or with one's real (i.e. Facebook) name. As seen above, Disqus users with pseudonyms not only make a 61 percent majority of comments, but their comments tend to be of a higher quality to boot. Overall "positive signals" -- likes and replies -- are at a high of 61 percent for commenters using fake names, compared to 51 percent for those with real names and 34 percent for the anonymous (see blown-up chart to the upper right).
Now, Disqus has every reason to toot its own pseudonymous horn, especially since it's competing head-to-head with Facebook's own native commenting system, which of course makes you use your Facebook name. But Disqus certainly has a point: the Internet wasn't created so we could express ourselves, real name attached and all, but instead so we could invent a whole new fun Internet person to be. And pseudonyms in commenting system do the good job at untethering us from our fleshspace identities, but still giving us a sense of a reputation to uphold.