In the winter of 2011, after some conversations in our newsroom, we posed the question to our readers: Do you think commenters should be required to use their real names?
The majority said yes. So after some careful thought, we decided that would be our policy.
Starting on Feb. 1, 2011, we will begin requiring all users to use their first and last names when commenting on our website.
In order to apply for verified status, you must edit your profile and check the box that says "Please verify my status." We will verify your identity by either giving you a call, using the number you have provided for us in your profile, or by checking your information against our subscription records, if you are a subscriber.
Once you apply for verified status, you get all the perks of being a verified commenter, with a cool green badge and the satisfaction of speaking with your name behind your words.
If you don't apply for verified status before Feb. 1, your comments may disappear until you verify your account.