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El Reg Forums FAQ

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First of all

Read the house rules.

Forums FAQ


In November 2012, The Register introduced gold, silver and bronze badges for commenters, along with forum privileges for each badge.

The qualifying thresholds for badges are:

  • Bronze More than one year members and more than 100 posts in the last 12 months.
  • Silver Silver badge holders meet bronze requirements and have more than 2000 upvotes.
  • Gold This discretionary badge is awarded by Reg staff to readers who have been very helpful - to us, through news tips and beta testing, for example - and to their fellow readers, through their posts.

Forum privileges are awarded according to commenter handle - not by user account. This means that if you change your handle, you will lose your forum privileges. Also, votes on your anonymous posts do not count towards you gaining badges.

Anonymous Coward

We allow anonymous posting because we understand the value in let people post anonymously.

But posting anonymously has a cost as well. It makes it easier for people to say glib, trite or troll like statements knowing it won't be attributable to them.

For these reasons anonymous posts incur a "penalty".

  • votes on your anonymous posts do not count towards you gaining forum privileges.
  • Anonymous commenters do not get to pick an icon, but are all shown with the V for Vendetta mask that appears beside anonymous posts.

Create a new topic

You can start a new topic if you have at least five posts accepted and published. (Withdrawing your fifth post will remove the permission.) After your fifth post is accepted it takes up to one hour for the new permission to take effect. Click on Forums home page log-in. The Create a new topic link lives in the Forums Box on the right hand side of the page.

Before you create a new topic

Have a quick look on the forums. Someone may have already created a topic on the same subject - join in!

Topic display order

Topics are displayed by default in this order: sticky and then by topic with most recent post.


You can use basic HTML to format your text - once you have had five posts accepted for publication. Currently we allow: <b>, <strong>, <em>, <i> and <strike>. Badge holders can also use <sub>, <sup>, <ul>, <li>, <code>, and <pre>.


You can add hyperlinks in your post - once you have had 100 posts accepted for publication. We have set the bar high to deter spammers and enable us to assess use. We will review this bar from time to time.

Use your common sense. Do not link to sexist, racist or pornographic material. And do not link to any copyright-breaking or hacking tools. If you do we will withdraw this privilege.

You need to put in the code yourself. You are a techie. This is not hard.

e.g. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Delete posts

Use the Withdraw link that appears in all your posts to delete a comment. For multiple deletions, it is easier to do this via My Posts.

Report abuse

Use the Report abuse link that you can see in all posts (except your own) when you see a comment that breaks house rules on civility and html links. Moderators will attend to this as soon as possible.

Permalink to post

This is embedded in the posted time stamp that appears in each post.

Sort posts by thread | newest | oldest

The default setting is oldest posts first. You can sort posts by thread, newest and oldest using the little drop down menu at the top of each topic. You must be logged in to see and use this feature. This may seem eccentric, but here is our rationale:

Topic sorting wants to be "sticky" i.e., you don't want to have to click to change the sort order each time to return to that topic. One option is cookies, but there is a limit in how many we can store. So we linked it to your account, where you can have as many as you want. Also, it follows you across browsers and machines correctly.


Currently, we support semi-threading - i.e. one level of threading.

Can I search forums?

After a fashion. Use the "search forums" form in the Forums Box on the right hand side. Yes, we know it needs improving.

Posting history of commenters

Commenter"handles" appear on the left hand of all posts. Click on the handle to see public posting history. This feature is switched off for commenters who post anonymously (under the collective handle "Anonymous Coward").

Track this topic

This bookmarks or "stars" topics that you are not posting in. Track this topic appears at the top of all open topics. Click the link and the topic now appears in "Your Topics" box - on the right hand side of the page when you are logged in. Click Track this Topic again to stop tracking.

Close this topic

Only moderators can close topics.

Article posts

You can access your article post via My posts (in your Forums Box). But they are not published on El Reg Forums. Click Article topics in the Forums Box to access all posts on all Register articles.

My Topics box

Click My Topics to see the open topics you started, commented on, or "starred" for tracking. Beside each topic headline is a tally of posts made by other commenters since you last posted.

El Reg Forums roadmap - no time scales

We have started a Forum wishlist topic on El Reg forums. Use this thread to give us your roadmap feedback. We want it all in one place.

Roadmap - making the cut

  • Inbox to inform you if your account is upgraded, if suspended etc. Give users the chance to reply to moderators via this mechanism
  • Ability to view replies to self via my posts view
  • Badges to indicate levels of accounts / moderators
  • Formatting: introduce line breaks, bullet points, blockquote, superscript, subscript
  • Most recent 50 posts view
  • Demote "closed" topics so that they always appear underneath "open" topics
  • Stats view - most popular topic, etc.

Possible inclusions for roadmap

  • Sitemap
  • HTML formatting bar in Post your own message form
  • Ignore / Follow - individual commenters
  • Nesting - three-level nesting, default or optional. Jury still out
  • View from last read /last post. We think this is useful, but we haven't yet figured out how best to do this
  • Notifications when someone directly replies to your post or to the thread. Via email or forum in-box? And what if there are dozens of responses to the thread?

Unlikely - and only if El Reg Forums get very big

  • Commenter to Commenter communication via forums
  • Invite-only forums / topics
  • Kharma-ish system - would have to balance rewards with attempts to game whatever system we come up with
  • Ability to order posts by popularity - again this could be gamed

Not on roadmap

  • User-defined avatars - we don't want to have to store avatars, or vet them, or get angry if someone changes avatar to something abusive
  • Log-in via third parties - e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Disqus, Linked-in

Why HTML and not BBCode?

HTML is the open standard of the web. Deal with it, bitches.

Why did we choose home-grown again?

Our website, CMS, whitepaper library, registration system and forums are core to what we do. And we do core in-house.

What software are we using?

Read this.

RSS / Atom feed for forums?

There is a little RSS logo on the top right of a topic page. Or you can adjust the URL - it should be fairly obvious what you need to do:

Clicking on any user's name will take you to a list of his or her posts. Again, there is an yellow/orange RSS logo top-right-ish.

You can also get RSS feeds for any section, although we do not currently show you the link for these anywhere.

We do not offer a full site feed of all posts. This is do-able, but we do not see the utility - unless you wanted to screen-scrape our forums. And why would you want to do that? ®

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