I just got through saying that registration doesn’t cut down on participation on a newspaper.com. I’m pretty sure the same doesn’t hold true for a blog.
There is something fundamentally different about a blog audience and a newspaper.com audience — whether it is that the newspaper.com audience is less web savvy, or not as busy sucking up every morsel of information, or just more trusting of the local newspaper brand … I don’t know.
But it is highly likely my already pathetically low level of reader comments will decrease with registration, and it is unlikely that participation will ever again return to its current levels.
In part, maybe it’s because while adding registration to a newspaper.com helps solve a problem that both readers and editors recognize (getting rid of the idiots), such idiots aren’t really a problem on most blogs (especially ones mainly trafficked by same-industry professionals, such as this one).
Really, I’m not solving a problem for readers with registration. I’m solving my own problem, so why should you want to help? What’s the benefit for you?
Well, maybe, just maybe, without open comments, it will make howardowens.com a little less easy to hack.
I’m just damn tired of getting hacked, and can’t imagine when I’ll have time or energy to convert to Drupal, so I’m going to try the WordPress registration scheme (which is pretty simple, but does require an e-mail confirmation).
So, I’m really solving my problem, not yours, unless, of course, you find howardowens.com valuable enough that you would rather see it escape a few future hacks (with the subsequent downtime), too.
UPDATE: Pretty cool — six people registered within 30 minutes of this post going up. Though, one of them might not have been a person, but a computer. Since the default WP registration is very, very basic, I went out and found a plug in that contains CAPTCHA (though very simple CAPTCHA) and some additional registration fields. It would be cool if I could link a person’s name on a comment to a profile page — that would add some value to registration, I think — but I haven’t been able to figure out how do do that yet.