Today I’d like to go over some information regarding the sign up process as well as the account creation and association process. It seems the introduction of Windows Live ID with the MSDN and TechNet blogs has confused a few too many of you – we are sorry about that, it wasn’t our intention… really :-)

Why am I being asked to sign up just to read the blogs?

Technically, you aren’t. Anyone can read the blogs without signing up. But in reality, you are. What’s happening is that you are signed into another Windows Live ID enabled web site. The blog platform sees that and then signs you in “silently” or in other words, signs you in without you explicitly asking to. This works really well once you’ve completed the create an account/associate an account process because you can move from site to site and maintain your sign in across many of the Microsoft properties. However if you’ve not completed the sign up process, you’ll be prompted to do that even if you just want to read the blog.

The other situation you may be asked to sign in is if you click a person's name to view their profile. See the “Why Should I Sign In?” section below for more information on that.
 
So at this point either click Sign out if you don’t want to create the account or complete the sign up and you’ll be set moving forward. We are reviewing this configuration and we may modify this silent sign in if it’s too confusing to our blog readers…

 

How do I Sign In?

When you click the Sign in link on any page in the blogs you’ll be taken to the Windows Live ID sign in page. You can select any Windows Live ID account you already have or create a new one at that time. The first time you sign in with a Windows Live ID account you’ll be presented with the “Create an Account OR Associate an Account” page.

  • If you’ve never created an account with the blogs before, fill in the Create an Account section. It’s just a username, a confirmation of the email address you want any communication to go to and finally a time zone which will then allow the blogs to present date and times accurate to your location.
  • If you’ve had an account previously on the blogs then enter your username and password you used to use in the Associate Account section. This will connect your Windows Live ID account up to your old blogs account and you can then use the WLID from then on.

 

Why Should I Sign In?

Signing in gives you a bunch of benefits that anonymous readers do not get. Some of these include:

  • A customized profile for your account.
    • You can have a custom display name that supports characters beyond the set for a username.
    • You can upload your own personal avatar image that will go alongside any comments you make as well as on your profile.
    • A customized profile including contact details, web sites, facebook, twitter connections etc.
    • You can manage the email address you receive notifications at.
    • Update your time zone settings.
  • You’ll have the ability to follow and friend other members in the blogs.
    • You can then more easily track their activity within their profile or on the home page.
  • Commenting
    • You’ll no longer have to fill in your name every time you post a comment.
    • There are some blogs that do not have anonymous commenting enabled. You’ll need to be a member then to comment anyway.
  • Viewing others profiles
    • If you want to view anyone else’s profile you need to be signed in. There are contact details on profiles and those are limited to people who have agreed to our Terms of Use.
  • Future features…
    • We will integrate into the MSDN and TechNet profile, activity and recognition systems in the future. Without being a member you can’t build your reputation.

 

Hopefully that gives you a little more insight into the sign in and sign up process. More information on profiles, settings etc. coming soon!