This is a rant. Fell free to close the browser.

First off I like Lotus Connections. Really I do. It is a good "inside the enterprise" application. But it ain't no internet application. For the love of god, don't make me create an account just to respond to a comment. For instance, there are a lot of posts on Bleed Yellow from IBM Lotus peeps asking for comments and feedback on various products or areas with the Yellow Submarine.

I categorically refuse to create an account to post comments on anyone's blog, no just Lotus Connections. This is due to religious, dietary, ancillary and political reasons and mainly because I'm an old cantankerous curmudgeon.  Now I know this is a "limitation" of the product, but if you really want to solicit feedback use a Domino blog or Word Press, just don't make me log in or create an account to do so. By responding to your request for feedback I'd expect it to be simple, quick and easy.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Or am I turning into an old git whose patience has worn way too thin? (yes, I know what answers I will get!)

Rant over. You can now make some comments (sans log in) or close the browser.
Darren Duke   |   May 5 2010 07:25:45 PM   |    connections    |  
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Comments (18)

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1 - Mitch Cohen    05/05/2010 8:27:36 PM

Darren - I think you hit the nail on the head that Lotus Connections is an enterprise not internet tool. With in an enterprise there is not generally a use case for anonymous commenting or posting otherwise.

That said, Bleedyellow is both a phenomenal real live example of Lotus Connections, and in addition it has opened up blogging to many people who want to host their blog on a Lotus Platform but did not previously have a place to do so. So I would say in this case perhaps you should make an exception.

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2 - Graham Dodge       05/05/2010 9:19:01 PM

that's the same reason that I'm not on Bleedyellow. You ain't the only one.

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3 - Gregg Eldred    05/05/2010 9:31:20 PM

Darren - I think you are on to something. While I have a BleedYellow account, I still see this as a barrier to interaction with your readers. You have rightly pointed out that in order to comment, you need to log in. I don't know about you, but I don't get many comments even without a requiring a log in. Requiring one only serves to further restrict your readers, resulting in even fewer comments. If any.

I like that BleedYellow, as Mitch has pointed out, provides free blogs to those that otherwise would not have one. However, I disagree with him that there should be an exception to the rule. Those people should be getting some comments from their readers, but I am guessing they get fewer than those of with our own blogging platforms. That is a problem-they are not really engaging their readers as there is no feedback loop, which is the beauty of blogging.

Outside the firewall, I say Connections is a fail. A little severe, I know.

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4 - Nathan T. Freeman    05/05/2010 10:58:48 PM

...if there were a way to bypass this requirement, we'd be doing it. Even *I* don't like logging in to Bleedyellow to comment on a blog.

We asked, begged, cajoled, and even attempted bribery to get IBM to give us a switch to allow anonymous comments. The closest they've come is some configuration suggestions that would cause the "Add Comment" link to show up even if you weren't already logged in, but then force you to log in.

Bleedyellow is SSO-enabled from the Connections environment to the Domino admin servers. It uses a unified Domino LDAP for Sametime and Quickr as well. It auto-generates accounts in under 5 minutes (instantly for Sametime & Domino, 5 minute delay for TDI) and allows password resets from the homepage. It's as integrated as we can make it without massive engineering investment at a crypto-token level.

When we first put it up, we started down the path of making a blog migration tool. That stopped dead when we discovered it was impossible to migrate comments without forging accounts as the commenting user. You can imagine my disappointment.

No one on this earth would like to fix this more than Chris Whisonant and I. But there's simply no opportunity for anyone to do it other than IBM. It would be less work to re-implement the entire Connections feature set in Xpages and simply migrate all the content. (And no, that's not even remotely on the table.)

Please encourage IBM to make the platform more public-friendly. But also please be aware that our hands are tied on what we can offer in this zero-price, zero-advertising gift to the Lotus community.

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5 - Stuart McIntyre    05/05/2010 11:56:53 PM

Feeling your pain, Darren.

However, it's not just BleedYellow - IBM has now got many Connections sites out on the open internet - MyDeveloperWorks, amongst them, and seems to be suggesting to all IBMers that if they want to have an 'official' external blog then it should be hosted on one of these platforms (e.g. the Sametime Blog was recently migrated from a PSC-hosted DominoBlog template onto

The most recent example is the new Lotus Knows blog at (snappy URL huh?) - which has a couple of posts by Lotus GM Alistair Rennie. I am so so pleased that Alistair is posting, but imagine the extra impact he would have if he was doing so on a higher profile independent blog site that allowed unauthenticated comments?

Don't get me wrong, I am a massive advocate of Lotus Connections inside the firewall, but as of the current release, it is no internet-facing blog engine.

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6 - Peter Presnell    05/06/2010 12:52:36 AM

I have been using to host my blog for around 2 years now. At the time I started I had few options and was very appreciative of the fact that Lotus911 had made such a resource available to a nobody like me. If it had not been for I may not have become a blogger. So I have a lot to be thankful for. I have had several people make comments such as yours. And it pains me, because I am one of the people who make (some) posts for the express purpose of getting feedback via comments. I have given thought to moving my blog several times but have decided to remain loyal to the site that allowed me to blog. I hate that some people are unable/unwilling to comment. So if you (or anyone else) ever have need to comment on one of my blog entries, send me an e-mail. And if you want, I will even be happy to post the comments for you - unedited - whether you agree or disagree with anything I say.

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7 - Henning Heinz       05/06/2010 4:28:41 AM

EULUC uses Disqus to get around this limitation. I don't know if this could be a solution or if it cost money.

I know many of you love Connections but putting this product on the web really feels a lot like Intranet solutions from the past. It is your decision to support it but I would really wish IBM had something better for the internet. This does not include the Sametime server which seems to be a splendid idea.

But if people use it it cannot be that bad.

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8 - Stuart McIntyre    05/06/2010 5:14:06 AM

... I meant to say, I am very very happy to host a DominoBlog for anyone that would like to have their own blog hosted on Domino. Free of charge, of course. Just contact me at

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9 - Darren Duke    05/06/2010 6:40:22 AM

I agree with all, that what Lotus911 did with Bleed Yellow was a splendid idea. But from all the posts it would seem I am not alone in my "cantankorosity". Still there are other options, not saying they are better or worse, but they are Domino if that suits your purpose.

There have been Domino servers available to host your blog for free for a very long time, Prominic have had a program for that very purpose for ages and Stuart has graciously offered to host it in these very comments.

This is not a poke specifically at Connections, although as Stuart pointed out it is percolating very quickly to be IBM's defacto "blog-o-choice" so this is going to get worse not better, but when you solicit my feedback I expect *you* the blog owner (or provider) to make it easy for me to do so, and mandatory authentication is not it.

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10 - Karl-Henry Martinsson    05/06/2010 7:25:50 AM

Peter Presnell already expressed exactly what I feel. Without I would probably not have started blogging.

At the same time, I dislike blogs where I can't comment, either because the owner have comments turned off, or you need to register to be able to comment.

If companies will use Connections for external blogs, e.g. for customers, anonymous comments have to be allowed.

It can't be that hard to implement... Really, IBM? Come on!

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11 - Keith Brooks    05/06/2010 9:08:55 AM

Darren, I feel your pain. But since my browser remembers my logins to BY its not a big deal to me.

However, Connections was never meant to be open to the world like Facebook, well it could, but imagine the infrastructure and if the login issue went away!

Better question is why can't we have one ID for all of I am tracking at least 4 that i can think of there.

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12 - Eberhard       05/06/2010 11:03:19 AM

I so agree.

I will not create an account for a posting either.

Just yesterday I wrote a long answer to a blog. Took me 35 minutes and when I wanted to send it I found out I had to create an account so I deleted my stuff again and left.

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13 - Chris Whisonant    05/07/2010 1:04:00 PM

Darren, I see your points for sure. As Nathan said, the unauthenticated comments were something we didn't like from the start. But that didn't prevent us from wanting to deploy this site free to all to demonstrate the Lotus suite of products. We knew that we might have some people decide not to use the site because of this, but so that people could have access to many of IBM's tools - with a focus on Connections and Sametime. This was, and is, our driving factor.

And trust me, if IBM were to include a configuration to allow unauthenticated comments, then we would implement it as soon as possible. I would imagine that with more of their blogs going over to Connections that they will see more pressure to include this option.

But as Mitch said, Connections is first of all an Enterprise product. And inside the firewall, the product needs authentication and accountability.

Which kind of begs another point. How many public social networks have you signed up for that require the same criteria as Connections for interaction (i.e. authentication). I don't believe there's anywhere in Facebook that you can do things anonymously except for maybe certain polls.

And why in the world are we forced to authenticate just to reply to someone's Tweet?!?

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14 - Rob McDonagh    05/07/2010 2:26:53 PM

No slam on BY, but whenever I see a login prompt while reading a blog, I just close the tab. I have a BY account, but I still don't login to comment. It's just that tiny annoyance that breaks the proverbial camel's back. Commenting at all requires effort, and if I have to login, it's not worth it. Sad, but true. Using Connections for blogging outside of the enterprise firewall is not going to be successful unless IBM enables anonymous comments.

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15 - Chris Whisonant    05/07/2010 3:34:04 PM

If you use FB, you HAVE to login to do anything, so that's not really a valid reason - it's an excuse.

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16 - Robert Mcdonagh    05/07/2010 7:28:53 PM

It's a relative value question.

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17 - Teresa Kelley       05/10/2010 12:56:05 PM

Isn't a big reason for forcing accounts to cut down on spam comments?

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18 - Darren Duke    05/10/2010 1:42:14 PM

@17, that is an argument. But not a good one. Steve Castledine, the creator of the Domino Blog that this very blog is based on (and many others, except Paul Mooney ;) does an excellent job of stopping 99.99% of all spam comments posted ot this blog (and any comment from Rob McDonagh). If he can do it with Domino, then the algorithm can be ported to any other platform. IMHO is is more to do with "harvesting" than spam protection.

@All, for the record I don't have a FB account either....same reason as BY, and I did say the original post wasn't solely aimed at Connections (or BY for that matter), just the implicit road blocks that stop me from posting comments when propositioned to do so.