The death of website registration
June 14, 2007
After a long battle waged by frustrated users and administrators, the forced reader registration system is dead, finally. May it rest in peace.
There was no part of the website that drew more complaints than the registration system that required readers to sign in before they could read the news. It was universally hated, especially for those of us who had to deal with handling reader complaints.
This is a system whose time had passed. We first launched it at the same time most other big newspapers were doing the same thing. Most of those papers have now dumped their forced registration systems, for the same reason we did: because it was stupid to hassle readers in this way.
It took a long time to convince some people in our organization that no amount of reader information is worth the hoops we make readers jump through to use our site.
The death of forced registration does not mean that some form of limited, voluntary registration will not return. Specifically, the new commenting system we plan to launch in the near future will require readers to register a username if they want to post comments. This will help in policing of the comments, and help users to build unique online identities. Eventually we hope to have profile pages so that users can tell a little about themselves if they wish, and with links to past comments. This voluntary registration system will extend to other similar types of social networking features we plan to add in the future.
On behalf of everyone here, I want to apologize for all the aggravation and inconvenience this has caused. The wicked witch of registration is finally dead. May she never rear her ugly head again.