I am shortly going to post a question on teaching the shutdown decision (P<AVC) and thought I’d like to post under my real name. I found that I could switch, but it’s clumsy and takes about a day. That made me think of the ways one can post. If I were running this site, I’d allow any post or comment to be made under any of the three following, with easy personalized graphics for doing so:
1. Under one’s real name: Eric Rasmusen.
2. Under a semi-permanent pseudonym, Hoosier Economist, knowable by the webmaster and not especially secret.
3. Under a one-time-use pseudonym, Econ142a, knowable by the webmaster but secret from everyone else in the world under pain of liquidated damages of $50,000 paid by the AEA.
Ex post regulation should be used, not ex ante regulation. Ex ante regulation is what research ethics committees do: they require you, at great cost and delay, to show in advance that you aren’t going to torture undergraduates, even though 99.9% of research is harmless. The alternative is ex post regulation: punish the .01% of researchers that torture undergraduates. In the current context: let everything go through, but then punish posters who behave badly--- something very easy in EconSpark because only AEA members can post, so you can expel a miscreant, as a last resort, and make him buy a new membership to avoid your punishment.