The Top Things you need to know about the changes:
You will still get your newsletters after June 13. After that date, you can make changes to your newsletter selections by re-registering as a CBC.ca member with the same email address used on your original account.
You will not have access to your original account after June 13. All accounts will be frozen.
How will cbc.ca comment spaces be reset?
On June 13, all our CBC.ca community members will be asked to use their real names when engaging on our sites.
Everyone who uses an email address to log in will be asked to re-register, effectively creating a new account that will require email verification and use of a real name. People who created a new account after June 2 have already registered in compliance with these new account requirements.
Will this affect users who use a third-party Social site (Facebook or G+) to sign in?
If you sign-in to our comment spaces using Facebook or Google+, you will not be required to re-register your account, but we will no longer publish comments from anyone using an obvious pseudonym, regardless of how you sign in.
For your comments to be published on our sites, you will need to change your username from within the Social media site you use to log on. Warning: If you choose to do this, all the past comments you made on our site will retroactively be linked to your new name.
Or, if that’s not something you’re comfortable with, you can create an entirely new account for commenting on cbc.ca, using your email address.
Which CBC online communities will these new changes apply to?
These changes will first be implemented across community discussion spaces on CBC News, Radio, Sports and TV-related stories and program pages. Radio-Canada already enforces a ‘real name’ policy and they’ll implement email verification in the coming weeks.
Can I re-register now, in advance of June 13?
No. You’ll only be able to re-register after 10 a.m. ET on June 13.
If I used email to sign in, will I be able to access my old account after June 13?
No. On June 13, all existing accounts will go dormant – except for community members who sign-in using Facebook or Google+. Comments you’ve made in the past will remain online but you will no longer be able to access your profile or comment history.
Can I use the same email address to create my new account?
Yes, you can register for your new account using the same email address as before. However, even if you do use the same email address, your accounts will not be linked. It’s a fresh start for everyone.
Can I use the same password to create my new account?
Yes, you can use the same password when creating your new account.
For email sign-in only: What will happen to the comments I posted in the past, to my profile and comment history?
For those of you who have invested countless hours contributing to our stories, accumulating likes and followers, we recognize that the loss of your profile may be hard to bear. We regret this, but believe it’s a necessary action.
Why are you making the changes in this way? Is such a reset really necessary?
We’ve chosen this approach because it allows us to preserve pseudonyms on past comments for community members who sign in with an email address, but also because it means we can implement new verification measures more consistently across all our platforms.
Will I continue to receive newsletters?
If you already receive email newsletters, you will keep receiving them and be able to update your preferences, so long as you re-register using the same email address as before. If you create a new account using a new email address, you’ll need to sign up for newsletters again.
Can I delete my existing account or past comments?
How will you enforce 'real names'?
A moderator will review the name you’ve submitted to verify that it looks like a ‘real name’. Until your name looks real, your comments will not be accepted for publication on our site.
What happens if I use a name that looks real but isn't? Or isn’t really my ‘real name’? How will you know?
We have no way of ensuring that the ‘real name’ you use to comment is really your real name. While we know that some of our community members won’t be pleased with our move to ‘real names’, we hope that the majority will see the value in promoting transparency within our online communities.
Another user is using my name. Can you stop them from impersonating me?
It is common for names to be similar, if not identical. However, we do not allow the impersonation of individuals or misleading usernames. If you feel strongly that you are being impersonated, we will need you to illustrate this for us by providing specific comment examples and profile details. Without these details, we cannot investigate properly. Send all relevant information to Audience Services and someone will get back to you.
Will you be able to ban people more easily now that you are using 'real names'?
Our procedures have always included banning users, when necessary. Attaching ‘real names’ to profiles will not change our practices in this regard.
Will requiring ‘real names’ prevent people from posting inappropriate comments?
No, but the majority of people who use our comments sections already respect our content submission guidelines. By requiring our audiences to identify themselves by name, CBC/Radio-Canada is taking steps to provide a platform that balances freedom of expression while also emphasizing quality conversations in our community spaces.
How does this practice compare with other CBC/Radio-Canada sites?
This new practice for CBC is largely consistent with how Radio-Canada has been applying their "real names" policy since 2011. We’re moving to adopt similar approaches on all our owned and operated platforms.
Can I keep using a pseudonym if I also include my real name in my profile?
Yes. We recognize that for some longstanding contributors to our sites, pseudonyms can be unique identifiers, so we will allow users to keep their pseudonyms, as long as they’re accompanied by a real name.
Will requiring ‘real names’ enhance the exchange of ideas or improve the quality of comments?
We certainly hope so. As a public space, CBC/Radio-Canada online communities exist to encourage Canadians to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas in a thoughtful and constructive way. We believe encouraging our communities to use their real names can have a positive effect on the quality of comments and we count on our users to engage in conversation in a responsible way.
Why do you allow pseudonyms on Kids’ CBC content?
We are of the view that young people should never disclose their identity on online public spaces without the explicit consent of their parents. Therefore, we will continue to allow the use of pseudonyms on all our platforms targeted towards Canadian youth.
Will you be applying these changes to the CBC Music blog?
A new CBC Music website will be launching in June. Their traditional comment discussion threads will not be included in the new site launch as they pause to think about community and engagement and where and how that should happen moving forward.
Why do you allow CBC shows to use pseudonyms when your audiences can’t?
When CBC staff engage in our online communities, they identify themselves using the show title they’re engaging on behalf of (ex: Heartland_CBC). We do not consider show titles to be pseudonyms. This is consistent with existing practices within Radio-Canada.
Why are you implementing email verification on new accounts?
Email verification is a common security feature that allows us to ensure the email address you use to join our sites is valid and working. It also ensures that you are the owner of your account and that no one can create an account on behalf of another user.
Why are you imposing these changes if the majority of contributions to your site abide by your guidelines?
It’s true that the majority of people who comment on our sites abide by our guidelines, but those who don’t are often the loudest and most disruptive. We’re seeking to minimize these behaviours in the hopes that we’ll create a better community for everyone.
Why don't you fix moderation problems instead?
We are actively looking at how we can improve our moderation practices, but these are all additional measures we think will go a long way in improving our comment spaces.
Are you going to get a different moderation team?
No. These changes will not affect how we presently moderate our online communities, though we’re always looking at ways to improve our moderation practices. We continue to work with our moderators to ensure what you see on our sites respects the standards we set out in our submission guidelines.
Won't the moderation team target users they disagree with because they know their 'real names'?
Our moderators do not approve or reject comments based on personal views; we moderate to the content submission guidelines. This won’t change with the introduction of ‘real names’.