Why do I need an account?
User accounts provide a simple way to control access to certain features and tailor the website to your personal preferences.
The new website is participatory – it allows you to create and manage all kinds of content. But, we need to control who can contribute – we don’t want spammers and pornographers on our site (at least most of us don’t want pornographers ;-).
Also, you can tailor the site to suit your preferences - when you are logged in, the site will use your personal settings. For example, if you use a dial-up connection, you can choose to not see all of the image slideshows that noramally accompany each page - but the site needs to know it's you to use your preferences.
Creating an account is simple and takes only a moment - see How To: Create an Account.
Once you are logged in, your "session" will remain active for up to 30 days, even if you close your browser. So as long as you use the same computer, you won't need to log-in again. This also implies that it is very important to log out if you are using a public computer, or others will have access to your account! (It is possible for your session to get a bit "scrambled" during site updates, and other changes - try logging out and then log in again. If login problems persist, please see books/how-to/login.)