Wired reports on a legal case with important implications for the future of online anonymity–and the ability of internet users to post damaging comments online without fear of repercussions. "Women named Jill and Hillary should be raped": Those are the words of "AK-47," a poster to the college-admissions web forum AutoAdmit.com. AK-47 was one of a handful of students heaping misogynist scorn on women attending the nations’ top law schools in 2007, in posts so vile they spurred a national debate on the limits of online anonymity, and an unprecedented federal lawsuit aimed at unmasking and punishing the posters.
Now lawyers for two female Yale Law School students have ascertained AK-47’s real identity, along with the identities of other AutoAdmit posters, who all now face the likely publication of their names in court records–potentially marking a death sentence for the comment trolls’ budding legal careers even before the case has gone to trial. The unmasking of the posters marks a milestone in a rare legal challenge to the norms of online commenting, where arguments live on for years in search-engine results and where reputations can be sullied nearly irreparably by anyone with a grudge, a laptop and a WiFi connection…

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