Joined: 13 Mar 2007
Location: Netherlands and Kazakhstan
|Jan 22, 2009 8:28 am
|The average internet user will know that many forums on the internet need some sort of registration procedure before someone can start or join a discussion. The forums on lammertbies.nl are different, there is no need to register and anyone from everywhere in the world can start posting immediately. This is not a configuration error, it was done on purpose.
Communication between people is natural. When I take the train or walk on the street, I may occasionally talk to people that I didn't know before. The fact that I do not know these people is no reason for not talking to them. Actually, any first conversation between people will be anonymously. Even if the first question is "What is your name?", that conversation was started in an anonymous way. So why should you first identify yourself to a computer before you can start a conversation? There are three reasons why forums use registration.
Reason 1: Stop spambots
Spambots are automated programs running somewhere on the internet with the sole task to add user profiles and posts to forums to promote specific products or websites. Many forum admins think that adding registration to their site will block spambots. Unfortunately this is not the case. With common forum software like phpBB used on this site, the whole algorithm for registration and posting under a registered username is part of the algorithm in spambots. They are not blocked by registration, in fact they use the automatically generated user profile as an extra page to promote their sites by including a link on that profile to those sites.
Ordinary users shouldn't suffer from problems of forum administrators to block spambots from their boards. There are a lot of other technical ways to stop those bots. The techniques I have implemented are working quite well: of the 4000 spam attempts per day, maybe one will slip through.
Reason 2: Accountability
Some forum administrators add registration to their site because they want to know who says what, and if someone turns bad, they want a method to block that person.
Forum registration doesn't need any form of identification. No copy of the passport has to be mailed in. Anyone can register under any name and could re-register a thousand times under different names. Registration doesn't help when it comes to accountability.
Reason 3: Extra services
Registered users have often extra privileges on forums. This is also the case on lammertbies.nl. Registered users will have the ability to receive notifications if a reply is posted in a thread they watch, they have a limited time after posting to edit their messages, etc.
Reason 3 is why registration has benefits, and therefore registration is allowed. But for people who only occasionally want to post, it is no obligation.