As you may have already noticed, Lifehacker has a new coat of paint today -- but there are new foundations as well. We're very happy with our new font and design tweaks, but the really big change is introducing a membership system to make it easier than ever to leave comments and take part in the Lifehacker community. Here's what you need to know.
Picture by Alan Cleaver
Our hard-working and talented tech team have been crunching away for some months to build our membership-based commenting system. Some of the most common requests we get are "how can I edit comments I've left?" and "how can I track responses to comments I leave?"; introducing membership gives us the ability to add those features over time.
Any reader can now log in to Lifehacker and leave comments with a unique ID and avatar. (The membership system is shared with our sibling sites Gizmodo and Kotaku, so if you've already signed up on one of those sites, you don't need to do so again.) Being a member allows you to edit your own comments and to report inappropriate comments by others. You can still leave comments as an unregistered user of the site, but to report and edit comments, you'll need to be registered.
There's a registration and login link in the top right hand corner of every Lifehacker page. Signing up is easy; the biggest challenge will be picking a username. You can't change once you've picked one, so think carefully! We're happy for people to use their own names, but bear in mind that will mean it could show up in search results. If you're already a regular commenter, sticking with the name you've adopted previously makes sense. You can also select a display name, primary email address and change newsletter options once you log into your new User Profile
Usernames on Lifehacker are like Twitter handles and have an @ in front of them. That will make it easier to track features like notifications when they get introduced (we wanted to get the basic details right before adding more bells and whistles). As well as your @username, your profile includes a display name, your primary email address and a Newsletters and Special Offers segment. We're still working on those. (You're not obliged to sign up for them, of course.)
On your profile you can set your own display name and your primary email address. You can also add a 'related email address' if you've used a different email address when commenting on Lifehacker (or Gizmodo or Kotaku) in the past, which will associate those comments with your new profile as well.
We've worked hard to get the basic membership system working and have lots of future plans (including full notification systems), but there will undoubtedly be the odd glitch. If you have any issues, let us know through our contact form or in the comments below.