But this still begs the question: if one is already logged in to the website with their user ID and password, which is necessary to access some content, why isn't that sufficient to leave a comment?
I agree. A member should have to present AHA member credentials once and have unrestricted access to the entire gamut until log out.
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I do realize that non-members read the content on the website and may wish to comment, so a login option other than as a member may still be in order. Should we compel people to pay for a membership in order to explore the content, any more than we should compel them to have a Facebook or Google account to share insights? Should we confine comments to members? Maybe, I don't know. Why not multiple options to post a comment? Sign in as an AHA member, sign in with Facebook, sign in with Gmail. Member only content would still require signing in with a member ID and password. But leaving comments could be done with any of those. If we want to be the go-to site for exchange of information and building community for homebrewers, we should expand, not restrict, hombrewers' ability to have their voices heard, and hopefully those who find the content beneficial will feel driven to become paying members to gain full benefits and access. Membership should sell itself. Those who are already members should not have to meet any additional requirements to fully utilize the website.