First, our apologies for rushing the launch of the new website, including these discussion forums. As you probably have read, there was a serious hack job that somebody (we believe offshore) did on our old site, essentially killing it, this past Monday afternoon. Fortunately, our new site was 99 percent ready to go. It is more stable and secure, and I made the decision to go ahead and launch it on Tuesday, fully aware that because we were doing so a week early, we would be unable to make an entirely smooth transition. Since then we have been working on other transition priorities.
Let me add that the hacking attack did not compromise anybody’s personal information. The purpose seems to have been otherwise.
I’m going to assume that some of you are able to read these message boards but may have encountered problems trying to participate. I am going to give some instructions here about how to deal with those issues:
1. As you know, you don’t have to sign in or register or anything to read the forums. Lots of people do that, as you can see by looking at the “views” numbers on the threads.
2. If you’d like to post a comment on the forum, you need to be approved to do so. We view this as analagous to writing a letter to the editor of the paper, where we ask you for your name and address, which we publish. We will not publish your physical address on these forums, but we will use your real name with your comments. We believe that is appropriate.
3. In order to get approved for posting, you need to register (if using for the first time) or log in (if you’ve previously registered.)
4. To register, go to http://www.themercury.com, and click on the link in the upper-right corner that says “register.”
5. Fill in the appropriate fields. Most people use their e-mail address as their username, but it doesn’t matter as long as you remember that username. What does matter is that in the field for your name, you put your real name, and in the field for your e-mail address, you put a real e-mail address where we can contact you. Follow the instructions from there.
6. Once you’re successfully registered, you can “log in” any time by going to the home page and clicking on the “sign in” link in the upper right, using your username and password. If you’d like, you can click on the little “remember me” option so that you don’t have to type that in routinely. You can also change your account info any time by logging in and then clicking on “your account.” Anyway, then just navigate to the forums, which I assume you can do since you’re here.
7. Once you’re registered, if you want to comment on a forum, you’ll need to be approved to do so. Under the main forums page, click on the “Request to post form,” and fill it out.
8. We may need to call you to verify your information. In most cases, that process will be done fairly quickly. But there may be weekends or other periods that take a bit longer.
9. Assuming that you are who you say you are, we’ll approve you for posting. You can then post replies on the forums any time you’re logged in.
Our guess is that the tough part is going to be here in the beginning, when there are several people at once who want to be approved, and where there’s a bit of confusion. (Particularly given the circumstances of the launch.) So bear with us a bit.
We are also open to suggestion about formats and content, so feel free to fire away. We have thought about the use of real names for quite some time, so that policy is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Thanks for your patience and understanding, and thanks for participating.