Evanston Now today responds to the top request in our recent user survey by opening Forums, a discussion area on the site.

The Forum section provides a place for users to start discussions on any subject of their choosing.

From asking for a recommendation of a good plumber to talking about the presidential election campaign, the forum is the place to share ideas with and seek help from your neighbors.

To view the forum section, go to EvanstonNow.com/forum. To start a new discussion, registered users can click the Start a new topic link.

User names

Also today we’re responding to concerns some users have expressed about anonymous posting on the site by creating a new membership option.

Until now we’ve asked that everyone joining the site use their real name as their user name.

From now on users can register using either their real name or a pseudonym, or “handle,” of their own choosing.

Only “real name” users will be able to post stories and event listings or have their own blog.

But registered users posting under pseudonyms will be able to post comments and create forum topics. And their comments will go live immediately, like those submitted by “real name” users.

We hope that will encourage people who have been posting anonymously to adopt a pseudonym for posting so their comments will go live immediately and so others will have some idea who they’re responding to in a conversation.

It’s just hard to follow a discussion when several people are sharing the name “anonymous.”

Anonymous submission of comments will still be allowed, and anonymous comments will continue to be reviewed before being published.

To register for the site, go to the Create new account page.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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