How To Use Lifehacker's Membership System

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.

Head to your profile page and edit it so you can configure your avatar and display name.

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.


Comments

    I can post to Lifehacker fine but Gizmodo posts are going into a black hole, never getting through the moderation queue. I am using the same account for both sites.

    Last edited 02/10/12 4:20 pm

      Can someone please shoot me an email about this, this is really frustrating.

      Last edited 02/10/12 8:46 pm

        Hi Simon, I'll make sure the tech team get in touch with you.

    I seem to remember asking for something like this maybe a couple of years ago. Great to see it finally implemented. One thing I really like is how it picked up all the comments I've made in the past using this email address. Great work.

    Edit: Any plans to have public profiles? E.g. having /user/poedgirl and linking to that in each post?

    Last edited 02/10/12 4:50 pm

      Picking up past comments is great, as long as it's based off the email address rather than the username. If it's the username alone, it could lead to unpleasant exploits like this:
      1) I register a username that somebody else has been posting under for months/years
      2) I am given ownership of all the comments they've ever posted
      3) I'm now free to replace all their historic comments with ascii art of kittens

      Relatedly, it might be worth instating a time limit for comment editing. if an article is over a few weeks old, there aren't many legitimate reasons to change what you said.

      Edit: Edited because I can now.

      Last edited 02/10/12 5:29 pm

      I recommend you change your nickname so it's not so easy to misread as pedogirl

        I've had this nickname for the past 14 years. I'm not changing it any time soon.

      Public profiles are part of the plan, though I think some other features (eg notifications) will appear first.

    Please do something about content navigation - its very difficult to find old articles without having to wade through a pile of search results. Have a look at the Choice website which allows you to drill down into categories of topics.

      You can drill down into our seven main categories (Work, Organise etc) at the top of the page, and use tags (below each article) for more specific results. I'd like us to have more options but we do have quite a few!

        Any chance of fixing the RSS feed while you're 'fixing' this?

    Seems like a lot of trouble to silence people who make comment regarding your (lack of) reporting. Probably would have been easier to write some decent articles...

      And that comment is a lot of effort to prove you're a troll who didn't read the post...

        +1

          However still rather annoying that we can't upvote or downvote comments. It helps to discourage the trolls.

            Upvoting and downvoting is absolutely on the roadmap.

              Thanks Angus. Also the site feels a lot slower, might just be me or having an off day, but on my normal Windows7 PC running Chrome, there are a couple of rendering errors on ads (the 'internal' ads, eg the very bottom box on the right below most viewed and the leaderboard across the top. Screengrab here - http://i.imgur.com/24SB8.png

              Last edited 03/10/12 12:20 pm

    Heh heh, 145 comments picked up automagically! Very nice.

    High Fives to the Allure Tech fellow :)

    Edit: 146 now :P

    Last edited 02/10/12 7:23 pm

    @anguskidman It looks like GMail has sent a couple of LH emails to SPAM. I think because the message contains minimal text and a single, long link (to verify a linked email)...

      Thanks Jess, I'll let the tech team know -- Gmail's spam decisions aren't entirely under our control but we should be able to tweak the formatting/phrasing.

        Understood :)

        Keep the great updates coming!

    Looking good!

    Woohoo I am a member! Congrats on the LH Ver. 2.0 Upgrade

    Last edited 02/10/12 9:00 pm

    1) Is this database in any way shared with Gawker?
    2) Are you *really* sure you're storing secure hashes, and not plaintext or anything easily reversible?
    3) Would this be a good time to repost an article on Lastpass/Other password managers that'll let you generate a unique password for each site.... Just saying, Lifehacker US seems to get hacked and have everyone's passwords stolen about twice a week.

      (1) No -- our back ends are entirely separate.
      (2) Yep, and we use HTTPS as well.
      (3) Good idea, though that last comment is a ridiculous exaggeration.

    Since there is now an option (not a requirement) to register, I thought I would take a look at your T&C and privacy policy. Wow. It looks just like the ones you occasionally hold up as bad:

    "You grant us a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable and worldwide licence to use, copy, modify, adapt, exploit, publish, display, re-distribute, broadcast, transmit, sublicense, create derivative works from and incorporate in other works any User Content Posted by you, at any time in the future in any form and for any purpose (User Content Licence), and waive in favour of us all moral rights and any similar rights in any jurisdiction which you may have or acquire in respect of User Content Posted by you. "

    Your privacy statement (small that it is) does not include who to contact if you have a query or need to find out what information you have about me.

    ...and your complaints section is cut-off by your CSS so that you can't actually see how to contact you:

    "If you have a complaint about the handling of personal information by Journalists, please contact our Privacy Officer (see details in section 7 of the Allure Media " ...

    Awesome! Out of interest, what language or languages is the lifehacker website built on? It looks really cool.

    Last edited 05/10/12 10:27 am

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