An important part of our community is trust. And that trust should not be lost when we gather and discuss issues as a community online. As such, all users are required to be 'verified.' This process is very similar to that used to verify letters to the editor: you provide us with certain information, we phone you to ensure its accuracy, and you're done.
An account that has been verified will show the user's real name next to their comments. Pseudonymity used to be allowed, but is no longer.
Why do I see 'anonymous' next to some usernames?
These users registered before verification was required. Their comments still appear but they are labeled as 'anonymous.' Those users cannot contribute anymore until their account is verified.