Passport and the Fray.

What's happening in our readers' forum.
Nov. 22 2002 7:06 PM

Passport and the Fray

Our reader forum gets some new features, and a new look.


Beginning Nov. 22, there will be some important changes to The Fray. For one thing, we've cleaned up the design to make it easier to read. You'll also have to register, using Microsoft's .NET Passport system, in order to post messages. (You can always read messages without registering.) The first time you try to post, you will be prompted to log in to Passport and then choose a Fray nickname.

What you need to do:

Thing 1: Get a .NET Passport. If you have a Hotmail or MSN account, or are able to sign in to MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger, you already have a .NET Passport. Otherwise, you can get a Passport here. It's free, and to get one, all you need is an e-mail address.

Thing 2: Choose a nickname. You'll be asked to choose your nickname the first time you try to post. You can change your nickname at any time, but that change will apply to all your posts, even old ones. You can include letters, numbers, underscores, and hyphens in your nickname, but no characters beyond that.

Why we're doing this: We hope that requiring registration will improve the level of discussion in The Fray by making posters less likely to fire and forget (or post and run, or shoot and scoot). No one will be able to exactly duplicate your name, so outright posing should be a thing of the past. The first time you pick a nickname, we will suggest the one you've used most recently in The Fray. In fact, that name will be reserved for you, and no one else will be able to use it until you give it up. (Tell me more.)

Another benefit of registration is that you'll be able to sign up for MSN Alerts, which notify you whenever someone responds to one of your posts. (The notification will only apply to direct responses to you, though; you won't hear about responses to responses.) You can also be notified when Slate posts a new piece by a particular writer or in a particular department. For more information about MSN Alerts, read  this "Slate Fare."

Yet another benefit is that all your future posts should appear under a single "More By This User" even if you post from more than one computer. Now that your posts will be identified by your Passport and not an evanescent cookie, you will still be you when you post from work, from home, or from the nephews' house.

Keep in mind that Microsoft and Slate have strict policies designed to help protect your privacy. You can read the Passport privacy policy here  and the MSN policy here.

Benefit for star posters: The Passport system should keep your stars from falling off—even when you are posting from the library nearest your share in the Hamptons, even when your employer's overzealous IT folks clean house. And the star should automatically port over to your nickname (even when you choose a new one).

There will no doubt be unintended consequences. I will do my best to rectify them quickly.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.