I still think Red, that although the management know who you are and have your details, it is totally different making a comment under a Username, and having your real name printed there for everyone to see--as it would be for example if you wrote to the Letters Pages of any newspaper.I take your point gg, but I don't think that's it. You have to be registered to comment to begin with and supply more than just an email address.
Granted you can have a username but you don't really have anonymity and the comments are quite well policed, it's not a free for all and nothing like here.
I do think it is a very cynical attempt to get people to subscribe because the paywall failed.
The reason though is their pricing structure, the basic cost is €12 a month. They aren't pricing wrt digital but as a substitute for printed media and aren't taking into account that the way it is consumed is different.
To put it in perspective, Netflix is €9.99, the value isn't comparable. They need to rethink their business model.
I agree that the whole digital/pay wall thing is problematic.
Even women of my age--the demographic who should, you'd think, be buying hard copies of newspapers---have got into the habit of gleaning our news from many free on-line sources.
A very nice middle aged man from the Irish Times rang my doorbell the other day, trying to get me to sign up to the digital IT.
He said he would throw in the Saturday hard copy free. The IT have copped on that people buy only the Saturday copy, to relax on Saturday morning with lifestyle and culture sections
On a larger point, and not really the point of your OP, I think we'll miss the old-school, properly-paid journalists who travelled to war zones, etc, checking their sources, going out to get the news that others then could rip off and circulate for free.
We'll just all be a bunch of ranters on-line. We'll all be "journalists"-- with predictable results, I fear.