While online identity over the last several years has been marked by the steady application of real names and real faces to previously anonymous personas in more and more places on the Web — this is not news, whether you’re 12 or 72 — there does seem to have been a shift in the last year or so in which not only are real people tied to the things that they say and do online, but they’re responsible for them. …

This was inevitable: You start using real names and making real people out of bits, then all of the other things we deal with as people in the real world naturally begin to seep into the online world as well — like moral sensibilities. Now that the Internet is less and less a distinct, separate space from the rest of our lives — at least for most of us, it’s just how we live — the consensus is rapidly crystalizing that the rules and sensibilities of the rest of our lives should largely apply online as well. This is simply where we are in 2012.

After all, why should this woman be allowed to be violently offensive and hopelessly ignorant, just because she’s doing so on the Internet? If there is no shame in what she posted, why delete the post? Or an entire social media presence, as many of the people featured in the post have? We’ve decided these people largely don’t belong in public life in the real world, so why should we tolerate them on the Internet?