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Proof... just in case.

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Gregg Phillips, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Gregg Phillips

    Gregg Phillips New Member

    When a new member signs up and checks the box stating that they agree with the terms of service, is that electronic "signature" linked to a document that is stored somewhere in the event proof of their affirmation is needed?
  2. Mike

    Mike XenForo Developer Staff Member

    The short answer is no, though you can't complete the registration unless that option is selected.
  3. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    You could do a custom user field.
  4. Gregg Phillips

    Gregg Phillips New Member


    Could that custom field be linked to a stored document? I wouldn't have a problem with hiring a 3rd party programmer to do such a thing, but would doing that in anyway infringe on copyrights held by XenForo?

    The fact that one can't proceed with membership unless that option is selected would suffice if the TOS was fixed. Since those terms can be re-written at any time, the user could simply claim that the current terms weren't the ones they agreed to on sign-up.

    With so many in society being eager to sue for any reason, I don't believe I'm being unreasonable with this concern.
  5. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    You may cover yourself better by doing it, but I suspect it would lower your registration by at least 50%.
    Unless you have a forum that gives consultations or anything that can cause harm to people, I don't see any reason doing whatever you try to do. In addition, I've never heard anybody who got sued because he checked the TOS in a forum registration that he didn't like.
  6. Gregg Phillips

    Gregg Phillips New Member

    I don't understand how. Linking the electronic signature to a date/time stamped copy of the TOS that is stored should be able to be done seamlessly, without any extra doing by the user or delay in signing up.

    Nor have I. The idea is more of protecting the site and myself from prosecution of having any copyrighted material posted by a user who agrees in the TOS not to do so. If that tick box is a essentially nothing more than a click to nowhere (legally), then why bother with it at all?
  7. tyteen4a03

    tyteen4a03 Well-Known Member

    You can check the user's registration date and compare it to the version of the TOS you have when they registered (I assume you'd keep track?)
    Gregg Phillips likes this.
  8. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Because, quite simply, if they ARE registered then they HAVE agreed to the TOS.

    I think you're potentially trying to over-engineer something very simple.

    And like @tyteen4a03 says, their registration date tells you what version of your TOS they agreed to, you should advise your members of any changes to those terms and conditions making it clear that the new terms supersedes any previous agreement. Then legally, the fact that their account remained open and active after the terms changed implies agreement to the revised terms.

    I can absolutely guarantee you that this sort of implied agreement to terms is used globally by some of the biggest websites in the world. I guarantee they do not keep a virtual copy of any terms and conditions. It's not a legal requirement to do so, nor is their any legal benfit (to them) of doing so.
    MegaFora, Autonamus and Adam Howard like this.
  9. Jon W

    Jon W Well-Known Member

    The only problem I see is that users can also be set up by administrators where there is no check-box/electronic signature. Obviously there is also the possibility that users can be manually added to the database or added by a rogue script, etc., but this is pretty much always going to be a problem with any system and something that just needs to be controlled by restricting access to the server only to trusted people.

    To reassure @Gregg Phillips and others, there is perhaps a need for an indication as to whether the user has registered themselves or whether an administrator has set up their user account on their behalf. A custom field on registration that the user has to fill in their name or similar would do this as @Brogan suggested, or a very simple add-on could be built to add an extra column to the database table to confirm that the user registered in this way.

    There will always be ways around this, as I've already mentioned, so your aim should be just to reduce the risk of this happening. I don't see how storing a separate electronic document reduces the risk in any way unless that electronic document is going to be stored on a separate server with very strict access permissions. Perhaps keeping secure backups with a third-party would be a better way of ensuring that there is a good audit trail should you ever need to prove that a user agreed to the conditions and that the database hasn't been tampered with post-event.
    Gregg Phillips likes this.
  10. Gregg Phillips

    Gregg Phillips New Member

    Thank you all for the feedback!

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