A few notes on posting and registration procedures here at the forum:
Our primary goal is to make it smooth and efficient for folks to contribute to discussions here. We go about that in a variety of ways, and we're always working to improve things along that dimension. Unfortunately, because of the enormous amount of forum-targeting spambots out there nowadays, we have to balance ease of posting with the need to keep the forum from literally sinking under the weight of spam.
Right off the bat, everything here is visible ("readable") to registered folks and unregistered visitors alike - there's nothing here that is "members only," so if you're thinking you need to register so that you can "see the good stuff," don't worry: everything here is public (apart from the staff areas, which are only for staff... naturally).
Further, unlike many forums out there, unregistered "guests" have full posting privileges here. You can start threads, comment on existing threads, the works (you can't make polls, which most folks don't do anyhow). The one downside of posting as an unregistered guest is that you post goes into a manual moderation queue. That means an actual human being has to review it to make sure it's not a spambot post, and once that's done it's approved and publicly visible. We try to do that a few times a day, but there's always going to be at least a little bit of a lag. If we didn't do that, there'd be hundreds and hundreds of spambot posts showing up every few hours. And, yes, we're using all the latest anti-spam blacklists and IP databases and whatnot.
All non-spam guest posts are approved; we're not reviewing them for content or to "see if they're ok" - we're just making sure they aren't spam. If someday we find a tool that can do this automagically, we'll deploy it. Heck, if you know of such a tool, point us at it and we'll give it a test run!
Now, if you decide to register (i.e. create a permanent account here), you get a username and avatar and the ability to send private messages (PMs) and all that stuff - you likely already know the drill. Registration is a two-step process, again due to spambots. You do the form-submission thing here, and then the forum software sends a confirmation email to the address you provided. Problem is, lots of email providers will flag this email as "spam" - since they don't recognize the sending address ([email protected]). Which results in you seeming not to get the registration email, and your effort to register stalls out. That's really frustrating.
What we do to minimize this is, every day or two, someone goes through the database of attempted registrations to manually check for "orphaned" registrations: actual people who submitted actual emails, but who didn't complete registration. We then manually approve those registrations - after sifting them out from the hundreds and hundreds of automated spambot efforts to register that we receive every day. It's a rather, err, boring task... but we don't like to have folks get orphaned in the registration process.
Once you're registered here, you can reset your password or change your email address or whatever. And post, obviously.
Note if you are having any snarls with posting, registration, etc:
The forum admin team is more than happy to manually do any or all of this for you, if you get stalled out or frustrated. That includes creating your account, approving your account... even posting for you if you email us text (yes, we've done that before - and we've even done copyediting for folks who worried their English was not up to par since it was a second, or third, language... no problem!). Pretty much anything that's stopping you from contributing here, we'll do what we can to make it easier and smoother.
If there's troubles with your registration or anything else here at the forum, visit our contact page, or you can send us an email at [email protected]. Really, it's no problem - email works!
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Again, we're always looking to make the forum smoother and more elegant for folks who contribute here... but it's a moving target. Behind the scenes, the battle with spambots is unrelenting. There's quite a bit of manual work that goes into keeping the spam down, and even with that you'll see some slip through now and again. We do tend to err on the side of being overly-permissive, as we'd rather have an occasional spam post (which is easily deleted) than make it impossible for folks to contribute here.
Questions, comments, or suggestions? Feel free to post them here - and thanks!