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I have build a WordPress website (Something like Reddit, but for a specific niche) for a client. He believe that one quality member is useful than unwanted 100 members.

First, he hate both spam registration and users who have no interest for that niche.

So he wanted to moderate all users and he suggested following ways. Assume that following page is registration page.


Apply for the Membership

Do you interest to join this site? Send us a email to us (info@example.com) with your name, country, about you, etc......We will create a account for you and reply back if you are selected become a member of this site. bla bla bla...............

Note : Please note that these are my words and he had 500+ words complete description......


Then he will create a account after reading emails and reply that "your account is created and you can add a password, bla bla bla...............".

The purpose of this is, that site have just only quality users.

He said if a user ready to send a email requesting for membership, defiantly he is like to join that site and he need persons like him.


But I said I have never seen a process like that and it might be lost many users for your website because it is against user experience principles.

The question

Is this process is really bad? What should I do to make this process little bit better for user experience wise?

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Well, if you look at it, this is what most websites do, except for a small variation at the beginning - They offer a log-in with public domains like Facebook/gmail/twitter. Then they sent an activation link to your email id. On click of the activation link, you are officially accepted to their crew.

  • So may be in your case, you can build an interface which asks for the same inputs which your client is asking in the mail. So anybody who is interested in the service will take out time to fill the form --> you have your "quality user", and user-experience wise it is far better. At the other end, you have to give your client a GUI to see the registrations which came in, if he wants to personally moderate his website.
  • Another way of moderation could be, giving a small quiz for the user - not more than 5 yes or no questions which could measure their attitude towards your client's niche. Have a scoring system to accept the users. Be mindful to politely reject the others.

I haven't met people who will voluntarily send e-mails to ids like info@xxx.com/support@xx.com/john@xxx.com unless the id is like jobs@xxx.com. Most people would postpone it, and later forget about it altogether. It doesn't mean the user is not interested enough, it simply means, he was not given the option to access something he was interested in quickly enough. And frankly, people are busy.

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I think your client is thinking about this all wrong. Folks join a service because they want to and have an interest in it. S/he assumes lots of people will join, the majority of which will be of low quality. It's hard enough getting anyone to sign up for a service; making registration needlessly hard is baffling.

My advice is during the registration process have a number of checkboxes for particular niche subjects (low friction, reinforces subject matter) and make the rest of the sign up process as simple as possible.

Edit: and reviewing emails is an extra burden on your client. Very bad strategy, this.

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The proper way to tackle this problem is to ask your user specific questions about that niche in the registration form. A creative question which would ask the user as to why he wants to become a member. After the user has submitted the form , he will be able to track his acceptance or rejection via the main website.

The process of writing email will exhaust the user and hence your client will receive fewer responses.

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So to restate the goals:

  1. Draw potential members to the site
  2. Educate them about the niche
  3. Offer registration to those that are interested
  4. Validate interest level
  5. Accept only those that seem to have the ability to have "quality" interactions with said niche.

Steps 1 and 2 are the key to setting up the first level of filtering of potential members even before the offer of registration. If they are willing to go through the information presented (could be a slideshow/gallery type presentation) then at that point you have people that have a solid-ish interest in the site.

Your registration form should capture the required demographics plus a cross section of interest checkboxes. These topics should be chosen by your client as topics that are both relevant and disconnected to the topic of the site. If the user selects enough that are relevant then they get accepted into the site.

The last step should be a moderation time frame for new users where their posts have to be cleared to be seen on the board. This is the final step at insuring the quality user that your client is looking for.

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