What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

[AKA: what the geek family does on Super Bowl Sunday…]

I've been telling people I know about SE sites, and I've seen this behavior twice now:

  1. Person hears about SE and thinks the idea is cool.
  2. He goes to stackexchange.com and creates a new account.
  3. He goes to an SE site and finds a question he can answer.
  4. When answering, he finds, to his surprise, that he's not signed in.
  5. He asks me, "I signed in once—why am I not signed in now?"

And then I have to explain that creating an account at stackexchange.com does, basically, nothing at all for novice users, and he gets frustrated.

Suggestion: when someone is at stackexchange.com, instead of having them create a new user account, have them instead log in by picking an existing SE site and then using that account to sign in. That is, there may still be a stackexchange.com account created behind the scenes, but it will require—and be automatically associated with—an existing account.

Sure, I'll still get questions—but they'll be at step 2 (when he hasn't done anything yet), and not at step 5 (when I have to explain that he wasted his time).

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

I'm not against this, but I am questioning step #2 -- why do they need to create an account on se.com, exactly?

  1. Person hears about SE and thinks the idea is cool.
  2. He goes to stackexchange.com and browses around.
  3. He clicks through to an SE site and finds a question he can answer.
  4. When answering, he simply enters the blog-style username, email and gets an ambient unregistered account -- or he can log in and register at that point.

The only reason to have a se.com account is to set up unique tagsets; I'm not really seeing the utility there for a brand new user.

share|improve this answer
2  
I think it's the fact that the person doesn't always have an SE user guiding them on the ideal path, like this: "Hey, you should try Stack Exchange! It's super fun!" "Ok, I'll try it when I get home." *goes home and searches stack exchange, arrives at stackexchange.com and tries to register* –  waiwai933 Feb 7 '11 at 6:51
4  
Perhaps they think that by creating an account on se.com, the account will be good on any of the sites they see mentioned. Some people are ok with signing up immediately, or maybe they think they need to. –  Rebecca Chernoff Feb 7 '11 at 6:56
2  
"why do they need to create an account on se.com, exactly?" and "I'm not really seeing the utility there for a brand new user": yes, they don't need an account, and yes, it does "nothing at all for novice users." But when a novice lands at stackexchange.com, they are (I've found) likely to think that an account there is sufficient for all the SE sites (versus the none of them that's actually the case). –  Dori Feb 7 '11 at 7:10
1  
I'm with @Dori on that one! –  JonH Oct 20 '11 at 17:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .