Stupid website feedback forms

Rant time!

I often fill in feedback forms on websites or comment on blogs – but unless I am going to be using a website a lot, I am quite wary of opening “yet another” account with “yet another” website.

If it is a fly-by visit to a website I really don’t want not just the hassle of opening an account, but also to then in umpteen months time get marketing messages from a website the existence of which I would have probably forgotten about.

I accept that is the route some websites want to follow, and simply click away to the next website.

However, it is an unforgivable sin to not just require that someone has an account with a website, but also NOT to inform them of that before they type out a lengthy reply to a question.

A call for help was posted on Twitter, and linked to a website where people post questions and answers.

Noting that the webform didn’t require a login of any sort – or even the conventional name/email/website combination – I dutifully typed out a lengthy reply and hit the Add Answer button.

To be greeted with this:

Suddenly, I am being asked to either open an account and log in with them – or grant them access to my Facebook or Twitter account.

Considering how much spam is funneled through people granting Twitter/Facebook access, unless I trust the website implicitly, I am never going to grant them access to my Twitter account. If I did trust them, then I would probably have an account already, or be willing to open one.

It is frankly an appalling user experience to encourage someone to type out a reply with no hint that they will then afterwards be required to provide access to social website accounts or open a dedicated account with the website.

Quora is not the only website that does this – I have noticed a few newspapers suffer the same problem. I was just in a bad enough mood with this website as my reply was quite lengthy that I have finally blogged about the issue.

In summary – if you are going to require a log-in of some sort before a comment can be posted, make that clear in the comments box BEFORE someone types out a reply.

Thank you.

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3 Comments

  1. Yeah, that’s a pretty nasty trick. It’s a shame, because once you get past signup Quora has some of the most interesting best social software design I’ve seen in ages. Lots of very clever touches which keep the standard of questions and answers far higher than any of its competitors.

    You may appreciate the irony: I’ve added a question to Quora about their signup trick: http://qr.ae/7tGo

  2. IanVisits

    There is another issue though which I didn’t want to bog down the posting above with – and that is the subsequent emails from websites I had forgotten I once opened an account with.

    I will see this random email from a company I will think I have never heard of as spam and probably hit the report spam button in my email client.

    If a bulk email sender gets too many spam complaints, then its emails will be blocked by the ISP, so there is quite a serious risk to websites that insist on logins from flyby visitors who never plan to return to the website.

    I’d go for a compromise, allow comments without a login, but then offer value added extras to account holders to encourage regular users to sign up.

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