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Sign Up and Log In? What a Pain!

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Dec 23, 2008

OK, everybody’s noticed it. You have to log in now to read our materials. Registration is no longer merely encouraged; it’s required. And no longer can you get at our resources without specifically exercising your registration privileges by logging in.

But please note: If you have cookies properly enabled in your web browser (and your computer is trouble-free), then after you log in the first time, you will be recognized automatically from your cookie in the future. The use of cookies reduces the inconvenience to almost nothing.

But don't click the Log Out link unless you are on a public computer (or someone else's computer): That will delete your cookies in that browser on that computer. If you do this on your own PC, you'll have to log in again next time.

Of course, to log in you do have to be registered in the first place. And when you do register, you'll have to provide a valid email address, and you'll have to wait a few minutes while our system mails completion instructions to that email address. Then you can click the provided link to complete your registration. We implemented this part of the system because so many people provided bogus addresses.

Please ensure that you whitelist our domain ( so that your confirmation email gets through, and so that our automated informational emails do not bounce repeatedly thereafter.

Later on, if our automated emails should start bouncing from your address (usually owing to a problem with your spam filter), we'll deactivate the account and do our best to notify you of the problem by writing to you personally from a different address, giving you an opportunity to correct the problem and reactive your account. 

For those who are annoyed by these changes, let me share a secret: I don’t like them any better than you do. Yesterday, for example, I spent seven straight hours answering questions about forgotten passwords, solving problems created by duplicate accounts, and explaining to users how to clean up their computers so that their login would work.

You may well say that I got what I deserved. But vindication lies in the numbers. Since we implemented the new policy, registrations have increased by ten times—an entire order of magnitude. If this trend continues, we will have a far broader base of financial support in 2009 than we had in 2008.

Ultimately, then, we have made this change because it is the best way to broaden our potential support base so that we can continue our work. It is never a bad thing for the rubber to meet the road. If users don’t value our resources enough to sign up, it is better to learn that now than to waste our time for another ten years. But if users are willing to sign up, we’ll be able to serve them even better in the future.

Also, perhaps it is no small thing, in the end, that we’ll be doing what we do precisely for those who are willing to make a commitment to it: The commitment of signing up with a real email address, of being counted among those who care enough to be known.

By the way, as a security measure, you will be asked to log in manually when you access your Account area or attempt to engage in a financial transaction, even if the system recognizes your cookie. This protects users who may leave cookies behind on a public computer.

So hang in there! And if you have a login problem, please let us know. We’ll resolve it quickly.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

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