* @author Mikey
* @date 2012-06-05 05:53:25
* @shorturl http://kwn.me/216m
$this->Post->read('"You don't have permission to view links as a guest"');
Well this has always annoyed me. It's one of those that many perceive as a "necessary evil" that forum owners have implemented in a desperate attempt to get users to sign up. That's exactly what it is, a desperate attempt.
If you've not guessed from the title, I'm talking about the plugin for many popular forum platforms which disallows guest viewing of any link, posted or in a signature, on the site.
It's never worked for me, and it has certain usability downsides.
What I've seen today is on the beautifully designed forum, wedesignthe.net - one of my friends on Skype had this as a status message so I was checking it out, having a little lurk.
Below are three examples of how having this enabled on this site are letting the design down:
The catch? The plugin only shows to guests, so the administrator of the forum who is most likely always logged in, will never see the ugliness these big red lines are causing, ruining his (or her) beautiful design.
The problem is, this is done too obviously in the first place. Removing links and replacing them with "Only members can view links" just degrades the quality of the community.
If you don't want to allow guests to view links, then by all means hide signatures from guests, this puts more of a focus on content and most good forum softwares include this as a standard feature.
It's not practical to hide ALL links from guests, your content should bring your guests in, and if you hide half of your content from guests, you're not going to get them to sign up.
Your content should be the highlight of your community, and if you're a site like wedesignthe.net who has a great design, this really spoilt it for me.
Please note that I'm not attempting to single out wedesignthe.net - it's a great looking site and I hope they get rid of the plugin they're using, but it's merely the latest in a long line of forums I've seen which run this plugin.