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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Kier

XenForo developer
Staff member
If enabled, guests can write a resource review before signing up?
Not yet
If enabled, guests can make a user upgrade before signing up?
The system will post the content as soon as registration is completed - it doesn't care what happens during registration, so if you want to add user upgrades etc., it won't prevent this from working.
 

Ozzy47

Well-known member
Are users presented with the current registration form, so anything that is on there now will be there during this new process?
 

Andy.N

Well-known member
The system will post the content as soon as registration is completed - it doesn't care what happens during registration, so if you want to add user upgrades etc., it won't prevent this from working.
This is one of the biggest obstacles we have as an online course provider. We have a bunch of online courses that students have to pay tuition via the user upgrades.
We want students to have a seamless experience by exposing the user upgrades to guests so as they choose the course they want to enroll in, they click on the respective user upgrade, it will open up a window for payment and the next step will be for signing up.
That's the ideal scenario versus the current one where they have to sign up or log in before they even see the user upgrade.
The new feature is half way there and I hope the dream can be realized soon.
Thanks again Kier. I believe your voice is in the video.
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Just to clarify, this really doesn't have much to do with user upgrades and exposing them to guests would probably be a pretty significant undertaking (as they are strongly tied to the user that initiates them and it's a multi stage process, comparatively different to a "simple" reply or thread creation which is basically a replayable action).

That's not really something I would expect to see in the base system.
 

JoyFreak

Well-known member
A few questions.

Can the registration form open up in an overlay instead?

Will the content written be saved in the text editor like a “draft” as if you are logged in, for example if clicked away for whatever reason and wanted to come back to the content to post it?
 

sbj

Well-known member
I can say from experience that this kind of feature increases registrations. This is so far the most useful addition.

1) After registration, shouldn't the user be directed to his post? It would be otherwise very confusing. Perhaps someone wants to edit their message and re-read it?

2) Also, I assume most if not all forums require e-mail confirmation. What happens then? Is the post still displayed? Or will it be enabled once the account was confirmed? Will there be a notice on the post itself telling the user to confirm their account in order the post can be seen by others?

I have a lot of people who register but never confirm their accounts. When this feature is enabled, there will be more people who won't confirm their accounts as they would think their post is already in the system. I think a notice reminding them to confirm their accounts is a must embedded to the post itself.

3) Another question, does this only touch "writing" or other stuff? It inherits from the registered usergroup. Does it mean they can also see attachments when it is disabled to guests?
 

Chromaniac

Well-known member
i have user approval turned on. it would be nice if the content posted is shown on the user moderation screen as well. because the content would be back dated and would not appear in latest activity (i assume) if there is gap between the posting and approval actions. thanks!
 

JoyFreak

Well-known member
I can say from experience that this kind of feature increases registrations. This is so far the most useful addition.

1) After registration, shouldn't the user be directed to his post? It would be otherwise very confusing. Perhaps someone wants to edit their message and re-read it?

2) Also, I assume most if not all forums require e-mail confirmation. What happens then? Is the post still displayed? Or will it be enabled once the account was confirmed? Will there be a notice on the post itself telling the user to confirm their account in order the post can be seen by others?

I have a lot of people who register but never confirm their accounts. When this feature is enabled, there will be more people who won't confirm their accounts as they would think their post is already in the system. I think a notice reminding them to confirm their accounts is a must embedded to the post itself.

3) Another question, does this only touch "writing" or other stuff? It inherits from the registered usergroup. Does it mean they can also see attachments when it is disabled to guests?
I would love for them to be taken to the thread/post they posted too, it seems only logical for that to happen!
 

Lukas W.

Well-known member
1) After registration, shouldn't the user be directed to his post? It would be otherwise very confusing. Perhaps someone wants to edit their message and re-read it?

I don't think that's possible with the way registration works. Once the user submits the registration form, his account has been created but the registration isn't finished, so the content has not yet been submitted. If you have email confirmation active, you could maybe redirect him when he comes in from the confirm email, but if you have manual approval enabled, you suddenly can't do that anymore, so sending an alert out was just a way to cover all these cases.
 

JoyFreak

Well-known member
I don't think that's possible with the way registration works. Once the user submits the registration form, his account has been created but the registration isn't finished, so the content has not yet been submitted. If you have email confirmation active, you could maybe redirect him when he comes in from the confirm email, but if you have manual approval enabled, you suddenly can't do that anymore, so sending an alert out was just a way to cover all these cases.
See this makes sense when new registrations require email confirmation but they could still be taken to the post/thread so it’s still visible with a notice saying it’s awaiting approval either manually or until email is confirmed depending on your registration setup!
 
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