XF 2.2 Writing before registering

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Participation. It's the life blood of a forum, and once you have a group of dedicated members creating and discussing content, your forum will flourish.

But there's a barrier to entry when it comes to participation. When a new visitor stumbles upon your forum from a search engine, they may read the content that piqued their interest and then feel inclined to add their own thought-provoking response, but at that point they are confronted with the dreaded

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... at which point, in many cases, the whim disappears and they disappear like a stranger in the night.

The prospect of having to complete a form and go through the rigmarole of signing-up to a new service is quite a turn-off to new visitors, for obvious reasons. Visitors have a reticence to registration because they often consider it not to be worth their time.

So, what if they had something to lose by not completing the registration process?

This is the thought behind Writing Before Registering. When enabled, guest users will be granted access to the New Thread button and the Quick Reply editor and various other tools that are available to registered members. The experience is almost identical to that of a logged-in user, allowing the guest to create rich content before having registered, such that they can compose the message they want without obstructions.

What a lovely post. Now register or lose it.

And then, when they've spent time lovingly crafting their message and hit the submit button, then we smack them with the registration form.

Now, the hapless visitor has a conundrum. Are they prepared to have wasted the time they spent composing their message and abandon their contribution, or will they spend a few moments completing the annoying registration form? We're betting that a good proportion will choose the latter.

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Once the guest has completed registration, the content they composed will be submitted automatically, and they'll be sent an alert with a link to it.

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The landscape has changed

Occasionally, there may be instances where the environment in which the content was created changes during the registration process, such as the thread being locked by a moderator or moved to a forum to which regular users do not have access. In these cases, where the created content can no longer be submitted, the newly registered user will receive an alert similar to the one below.

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Setup

The experience afforded to guests is configurable. Behind the scenes, administrators can configure how this works by setting which permissions should be inherited by guests. For example, if users in the "Registered" user group are able to post in a particular forum, it'll be possible for guests to also post in that forum but they will need to register before their post is submitted.

Normally, you will want to inherit permissions from whichever group or groups users automatically become members upon registration, but the scope is there to allow whatever weird and wonderful combinations may be required by your particular setup.

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Of course, sometimes visitors will not complete the registration process, especially if they are not particularly committed to a short response they composed. In order to prevent that stuff clogging up your database, content that was submitted but did not lead to a completed registration will be pruned after a short period of time.

Developer goodies

Initially, we're supporting the creation of threads and replies but as you'd expect from a XenForo core system, "writing before registering" is entirely open and extensible and can apply to any registration-privileged action, so third-party developers will be able to incorporate this functionality within their add-ons, wherever it makes sense to do so.

Post scriptum

A few questions have been raised already as to what happens if email verification or manual registration approval is enabled on your forum.

In these instances, the content that has been posted in kept in a pending state, awaiting whatever steps are required for registration to complete. The content is automatically posted as soon as registration is completed, whether that is by means of email verification, manual approval or whatever other things may be set up in the registration process.

If registration is not completed within a reasonable period, the content is purged.
 
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XenForo

Company info
Staff member
More developer goodies

But wait, there's more!

Thanks to everyone who replied to Wednesday's thread welcoming Jeremy to the XenForo team, but now please do the same for our other new member, your friend and ours, @NixFifty!

NixFifty has also been debugging and helping us out with 2.2. One of his 2.2 tasks was the implementation of Writing Before Registering, so this seems a good time to break the silence and express our appreciation to him. Welcome to XenForo :)
 

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
Very interesting. I'm going to post in the suggestions forum that after completing registration, they should be sent to their post automatically, maybe with a modal informing them that their registration is complete.
Question. What if they enter a bogus email address which isn't validated (or validatable)?
 
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Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
It isn't explicitly clear in the HYS but if you require email confirmation or manual approval, those things still have to take place before the content is posted.

The alert they receive when the content is posted clicks through to the content.
 

Andy.N

Well-known member
Excellent feature.
Just want to confirm:
If enabled, guests can write a resource review before signing up?
If enabled, guests can make a user upgrade before signing up?
 
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