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.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.


This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  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 says:

    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.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Stupid website feedback forms"
  1. Quora says:

    Is Quora’s trick of getting people to sign up AFTER answering a question a worthwhile tradeoff considering that it can anger people?…

    I’ve thought about using this trick on my own sites occasionally, but it isn’t necessarily a great user experience – it’s essentially tricking people in to investing in the site and then making them sign up to fulfil their investment. Case in point:…

Home >> News >> rants