Harold (fiddlingfrog) wrote in suggestions,

Create Identicons for anonymous commenters

Create Identicons for anonymous commenters

Short, concise description of the idea
When an anonymous user leaves a comment, create an Identicon to serve as that comment's userpic.

Full description of the idea
When a user allows anonymous commenting the only way to differentiate between different anonymous commenters is by logging IP addresses of everyone who comments.
An Identicon is a system used across the web, notably with Wordpress blogs and on Gravatar-enabled sites, to give a unique avatar (userpic) to commenters on those sites. They typical method of creating an Identicon for a user is by creating a hash of the commenter's e-mail address, but some sites create a hash of the IP address instead.

What I'm suggesting is that LiveJournal create an Identicon for each anonymous comment, based on the IP address of the commenter. The options available for configuring the Identicon software (number of blocks, range of color) should ensure that LJ's Identicons are unique to LJ and can't be matched up to an Identicon on another site.

An ordered list of benefits
  • Easier to identify different anonymous commenters.
  • More private - the original poster won't need to turn on IP logging to identify returning troublemakers, and the Identicon hash can't be reversed to unmask an IP address.
  • Creates more visual interest for anonymous comments and makes them feel more part of the conversation.
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • Some posters and commenters might prefer the inability to distinguish between different anonymous comments.
  • Privacy concerns - some will feel that a unique image tied to their comment is still too revealing, either by tying together comments across the site or by possibly revealing their IP address. Maybe seeding the hash with the entry ItemID could be used to prevent the same IP address having the same Identicon all over LJ.
  • Coding effort to integrate a WordPress plugin to LJ.
  • Legalities of integrating a WordPress plugin to LJ.
Tags: anonymous users, comments, § no status
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