Great site. I've already gotten excellent answers to a question I just posted as a visitor.
My experience with the infrastructure was surprisingly time-consuming.
I posted the original question w/o registering. (Nice feature. Thanks!)
Then when an answer showed up, I tried and tried to figure to to flag post a comment to a posting ... and failed to find one. ( Now I understand, I guess, that I've got to be registered?)
Then I tried and tried to figure out how to flag a response as an answer ... and failed to find it.
So, I went through the registration process (OpenID sounds like a good choice for you all) and (although it's not your fault) ClaimID took 20 minutes to send a confirming ID.
In the interim, I got a VeriSign ID and used it (while still logged in as the questioner) to register at SO.
Now, I still can't figure out how to flag a posting as an answer. There is no shadowed checkbox where it should be...
And although I have an "add comment" link on the bottom posting, there's no "add comment" link on any of the other answers, including the one I want to acknowledge as the answer.
I participate in dozens of on-line sites... and I'm psyched about SO -- having heard good things about it and having already discovered it's value. But, jeez, I just spend 30 minutes dicking around with infrastructure issues rather than doing real work.
I'm not really complaining ... since I chose to spend the time ... and since I can easily walk away w/o acknowledging the post that answers my question. But I thought maybe you'd like to hear how one motivated and saavy newcomer experienced the site...
Sorry to be so wordy.
Feature request: why do you hide options (like comments and checkboxes) that are unavailable? Keep them visible AND enabled and if someone who isn't entitled to them tries to use them, you can explain why they can't use them and how to rectify that. This would've saved me a bunch of time!
Keep up the good work ... I'm sure my experience will improve now that I'm registered!!