Maybe I misunderstood you but, Ravelry usually does let you look at the pattern page, from a link, as a guest.
If you want to navigate further into Ravelry, say look at projects made from that pattern, then yes, you have to join.
But, joining is free and, as far as I am aware I have never gotten spam via them so it is quit worth joining to have access to all those patterns, projects, yarn database, notes, pictures etc.
I will say that the forum seems to be better here. Quicker responses, easier to search, not broken up in its layout. IMO.