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Login requirement for comments now enabled

The whys and hows in handy FAQ format:

Why?
Three main reasons: In some discussions, there were too many people using the default "anon" as a "name," leading to confusion. As UH has gained more participants, we've picked up more nasty hit-and-run trolls. And we've picked up a new breed of spammers who took advantage of the anonymous posting ability to craft comments that manage to evade the site spam filters (mainly by limiting the number of links in their posts to one or two).

How do I register?
Go to the registration page and fill out the simple form (the toughest part is coming up with a Universal Hub user name). Hit Submit and look in your e-mail for a message from Universal Hub. Click on the link in the message, which will bring you to your new Universal Hub profile page, where you can set your own password. And that's it.

What do you do with my login information?
Your profile page will let you set a default so that you are automatically notified of any replies to your post. You can also "subscribe" to specific discussions (i.e., get e-mail notification when somebody posts there). You can decide, on your profile page, whether to let other users contact you (via a Universal Hub form; your actual e-mail address never appears, unless you type it into a post or comment yourself). Other than that, I don't rent or give out e-mail addresses. I do occasionally contact individual posters if I have a question about their posts.

Feh, I don't trust you to keep my info private.
That's your right. I've been doing online stuff in Boston for years and years, so I do have a reputation I'd like to protect, but if that isn't good enough, you can create an account at some Web e-mail host, use that to log in here, then delete that account (the danger there is that if you forget your password, there won't be any way to have a new one sent to you). I am working on enabling OpenID (I'll certainly post when that's available). If you happen to have a drupal.org account, you can use that here.

Won't this new policy inhibit some discussions?
Quite possibly, and it's one of the reasons I dragged my feet for so long on requiring registration to comment on posts (the other involved some technical issues). But I think we've gotten to the point where the problems related to a completely open system (see the first answer) are beginning to outweigh the benefits. I could be wrong; I'll certainly be watching to see what happens and could reconsider requiring registration.

Any questions I didn't answer? Reply here or e-mail me.

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Comments

yay!

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I had thought that I had created an account years ago, but then later had problems logging in and never could get the system to reset my password. When you announced closing off anonymous comments, I tried to to reset the account again, which didn't work, and then tried to create a new account which at first didn't work but on second try it did.

Is it possible that the account creation page doesn't allow an email address that has two dots in it? (as in [email protected]) or possibly it won't allow two accounts to be assigned to the same email address?

Since logging in would never work, most of my comments have been anonymous. And although I don't think my anonymous comments are the ones you are complaining about, I think I might be better off not being allowed to hide behind anonymous comments. You frequently write about a former employer of mine, and maybe my comments will have a little more tact if they are tied to my name.

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possibly it won't allow two accounts to be assigned to the same email address

That's the problem (or, if you're being particularly glum, a feature, since it makes it harder for sock puppetry).

If anybody has login problems, please let me know and I'll take a look.

You frequently write about a former employer of mine, and maybe my comments will have a little more tact if they are tied to my name.

Tact is good. :-). But go as pseudonymous as you like.

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All for registered logins. But how far down this road are we going? Kill files for filtering out known trolls? I suspect not. This blog appears to be modeled on moderation.

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Which moderation takes increasing amounts of the moderator's time and attention. Automating the process leaves more time for fun (and work, if that's your how-I-pay-the-bills thing).

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For front-page posts, yes, I basically do that already. But for comments? One of the reasons to require logins was to try to avoid that. Moderation adds delays to discussions and sets up the moderator as more of a potentate than I'd want to be. The model I'd like to emulate is MetaFilter.

There actually is a Drupal killfile module. I installed it a couple of times, had the same result both times: Seemed to work for people who were logged in, but resulted only in some PHP error message for people who weren't. That is A Bad Thing, and I figured it wasn't worth the trouble to try to figure out.

But as long as we're talking about accounts and such, what features would people want to add? Avatars? Better profile pages? Other stuff? One thing I'll try to install over the next few days is a module that will let you embed YouTube (and other) videos in posts by pasting in their URLs into a simple text box.

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Can you change the posting page to make it more clear what the difference is between Story and Article? Right now they're described exactly the same way: "Post Boston-related news and comment."

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Not had any experience with Metafilter.

I vote against avatars. Everyone knows each and every avatar is going to be a pair of red socks, etc.

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Moderators can exercise their judgement and remove any front page stories which do not follow the posting rules. They don't really jump in and get rid of comments unless there's some kind of pissing contest which gets way out of hand.

Plus there's a little bit of a user-driven positive moderation system, you can mark a post or a comment as a "favorite" and while it's obstensibly a bookmarking method, folks pretty much use it to denote a post or comment that they particularly liked, or found useful to the discussion at hand, etc. There are no star ratings and the number of times you've been favorited aren't used to rank you as a poster (they're just listed in your profile) so it turns into less of a popularity contest, since there's nothing flashy to gain and more of just a "hey this was cool" kind of approval. Users cannot mark posts or comments down, so you can't conspire a big ol' gang to get rid of stuff you don't like.

I rather like the positive moderation in this case.

And yes, I agree, no avatars. That is a darn fine idea.

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Keep it simple and uncluttered.

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The Avatar, 1967-68, published on Fort Hill, Roxbury.

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The Last Airbender (speaking of which, I can't believe M. Night Shyamalan is going to get to completely ruin it).

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I agree, Ive actually skipped over signing up for websites because I couldnt think of what Id want my avatar to feature. Plus the streamlined clean look of your site as it is makes it look enough like a work related website that I can sneak in and type a comment without being too obvious about it. If there were a million avatars featuring who knows what it will be way more obvious.

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The general idea is cute, but it gets really tiresome looking at a site where there are hundreds of blinking animations and embedded videos repeating themselves.

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Ditto on the avatars. Why would you want to see images like this one flashing with every post?

IMAGE(http://www.tsd.state.tx.us/Multimedia/mm0708/palomam/mmilfiles/11-AnimatedGIF.gif)

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Congratulations on being featured in the Weekly Dig.

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welcome our new logged in overlords.

Why?
Because it's a good idea at this point for the online community. Plus, it's adamg's domain name.

How do I register?
Yeah, it took a little while to get my reg email too, but looka me, I'm all pseudonym'd now. Much easier to have conversations.

What do you do with my login information?
That's cool. I'd expect site admins to occasionally ask questions or ask someone to tone it down - or for more information - especially about front page stories.

Feh, I don't trust you to keep my info private.
What, like we're handing over a credit card number? It's an email address! It's either effectively anonymous, or it's part of your online reputation, if you choose to use just one email address all'a time.

Anyway, it's not adamg we have to trust, it's hackers. Once UniversalHub becomes an "A" list blogging aggregator, pushing out the boing-thing and the slashy-dot in popularity, people are going to want to break in. Of course, at that point we'll all be famous, so that's OK.

Won't this new policy inhibit some discussions?
Well, maybe it's time to release the shackles of your inhibitions and let it all hang out - but honestly, with a name and a way to have a decent conversation back and forth, instead of always wondering if the anon is the anon of yore, or another anon today.

- There's only one anonmyi.

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Since we are talking about logging in, can you fix something on the log-in page? When I enter my user name, I want to just tab to enter my password. Only, when I tab, I get pulled down the page to the Boston Job Search box. Is there a way to make the password box next in line when you press tab?

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Sorry, especially since somebody else reported that months ago. I'll take a look.

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Two tabs gets you there, but it is aggravating.
Thanks.

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