Opening Up Comments: A Question

A quick check of the Bastad’s Referrers page, which tells us where people are coming to the site from, indicates that we’re receiving a lot of first-time/one-time visitors from search engines. It also reveals that people are searching for really strange things and finding this site, (For instance, somebody found this site by typing in the query, “picture+of+bird+shit+on+head”), so perhaps I shouldn’t take these results so seriously. But, I do take it seriously. And what I’ve been wondering about is whether or not the fact that I require membership to post comments has been inhibiting the growth of this site.

I’ve also been participating in the blog/journal promotion site, Blog Explosion, and have seen only a marginal bump in traffic. That might have to do with it being mostly a pyramid scheme, but I think it might be more.

So, what I’m asking you, dear reader, is whether or not the logging in to post comments is more of a pain in the ass than you think is necessary. Should I open up this site to comments from all comers?

It seems to me that the reason I’ve always hesitated in doing so is a silly reason: I fear people coming along and pretending to be someone who posts here regularly, trying to start shit. I mean, with the open commenting systems that you see on Livejournal and Typepad, what’s to stop some asshat from coming along and pretending they’re someone they’re not. What’s to keep someone from posting as ilikepants or JonMartin or Beth the Bassist?

And an even worse fear: if I open up commenting, what’s to keep the dreaded Natalie from returning?

I don’t know. I’d appreciate your feedback. Should I open it up or shouldn’t I?