Sb Goes On-line Community

Quoth Overlord Erin,

In the next three to four weeks, we’ll be creating and unveiling a user registration program … This will allow users to sign in, create a profile, track discussions they’re interested in, customize their content, and interact with one another directly. We will also be introducing other benefits for registered users such as entry into prize drawings and possible rewards for commenting. … registration will be optional at least to start, so no need to worry about readers who don’t want to register being unable to comment.

… Some of the features we’re looking into include:

  • Registration Profiles
  • User Pics
  • Comment tracking
  • Voting/Starring system
  • Recommendation widgets
  • User to user connections
  • Following – users can follow actions of other users
  • User-created Groups
  • Sharing content
  • “Talk” blogs or forums
  • Newsletter management
  • Photo galleries
  • Polls & Quizzes


  1. #1 csrster
    August 28, 2009

    Sounds good. Comment-tracking will be very welcome.

  2. #2 Martin R
    August 28, 2009

    Yeah, I’m completely amazed by the way some of you guys manage to keep up conversations in the comments to my blog entries. A whole lot of polling going on to see if there are any replies.

  3. #3 Art
    August 28, 2009

    Ohhh …. no.

    I guess it was inevitable. Sb is fine just the way it is. I comment, or not, as the mood strikes me. If I like an article I say so. If I think it stinks I say that. If I wish to strike up a friendship with other posters I do, or don’t.

    I’m not sure how all this extra technical extravagance is any real improvement. Everything that is being proposed can be accomplished now. I don’t see cutesy stars as any better than a comment that says you suck or are doing a great job. It isn’t like the stars will make a blogger post more or less often.

    Perhaps I’m just simple minded guy, perhaps a bit of a Luddite, but I like things simple and functional. You don’t put racing stripes on an axe. An axe is entirely sufficient without them. Add a load of doodads and features and it soon becomes more about the features and less about why the object exists in the first place. Such supposed ‘enhancements’ just get in the way.

    Oh well, I’m, as usual, going to be in a minority in this view. You should have seen the car dealer’s face when I demanded manual windows. You know the ones with a little crank you wind by hand. Marvelous examples of engineering restraint, simplicity and function. But sir, he said, they only come in electric …

    I like simple and functional in an age of geegaws and doodads.

  4. #4 Charlotte
    August 28, 2009

    Art: I’d get the axe with racing stripes, but maybe that’s just me.

    Anyway, I agree this was inevitable. They seem to be trying to provide some carrots with the stick, at least.

  5. #5 Paul Lamb
    August 28, 2009

    Hmm. Don’t much like this registration stuff. I suppose it adds some value for someone, but me, not so much.

  6. #6 Nomen Nescio
    August 28, 2009

    will there be (real, by which i mean properly functional) OpenID authentication supported?

    because i’ve got way too friggin’ many accounts as it is. i’m not gonna make another one for this silly little pseudonym; i made one for it already, over at let me use that one.

  7. #7 ArchAsa
    August 28, 2009

    On the whole a good initiative – I can’t have every Sciblog in my reader and it’s frustrating to stumble upon something interesting and then loosing the thread bc I can’t remeber the name of the blog or the post.

    Of course, this might mean I’ll end up spending far too much time on this portal and that can’t be good…

  8. #8 Martin R
    August 28, 2009

    Hey, no sweat, you’re an archaeology PhD now, and they have loads of free time. (-;

  9. #9 Kaleberg
    August 30, 2009

    I’ll vote for simplicity. Do people actually use any of these social features?

    * Registration Profiles – Sometimes these are a necessary evil, but in general they are a nuisance. I have at least 500 accounts and passwords in three different password managers. (I also have a shoebox 80% full of affinity cards. At least password managers don’t cram my wallet.)

    * User Pics – Why? This isn’t a dating site. One of the nice things about the internet is that no one knows I am a dog.

    * Comment tracking – I can imagine some people liking this, but I usually comment and forget about it. The rare times I want a response, I’ll bookmark the article page.

    * Voting/Starring system – I suppose there is no harm in this. If I particularly like (or hate) an article, I’ll leave a comment. Why not make it fun? Let people have different kinds of points for agreement, quality of writing, quality of argument, food, service and decor. More fun? How about a point rationing for each reader? Give out three stars, gold, silver and bronze, daily.

    * Recommendation widgets – These are generally worthless. Amazon has given me thousands of suggestions, but has yet to make a sale on one. I follow links to articles and products. If you want to make up synthetic link aggregators, go for it. You can have a dozen or so based on bogus characters and give each author points to bribe them. I wouldn’t bother with this, but some people might like fantasy leagues. (Aha, Colonel Mustard has linked to an article on uranium pizza on Fish Blog.)

    * User to user connections – No, thank you. Your site is my user to user connection. I read other people’s comments.

    * Following – users can follow actions of other users – Why?

    * User-created Groups – Groups of what?

    * Sharing content – What content? In what manner?

    * “Talk” blogs or forums – I prefer comments based on articles. It keeps the discussion focused, or as focused as it is going to get.

    * Newsletter management – Does this mean I can specify a bunch of blogs and get the daily postings sent to me as a newsletter like the old info-scifi, info-politics and so on?

    * Photo galleries – Photos of what? Posted by whom?

    * Polls & Quizzes – I’m way too stupid for quizzes. I don’t mind polls, but rarely bother outside of politics blogs. It’s not like a vote for a new value of h-bar means anything.

  10. #10 llewelly
    August 30, 2009

    The most important principle of software engineering is to fix bugs before adding new features. And that’s what scienceblogs needs to do. Preview is broken on several blogs, preview ruins html character entity references, long threads take ridiculous amounts of time to load , waiting for sb to reload a thread after clicking “post” takes much longer than loading the same thread from scratch, the site goes through frequent periods of unreliability … I could go on all day.
    (cross-posted to some other blogs.)

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