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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Alpha1

Well-known member
And by three weeks, they'll have probably forgotten you exist.
Probably by one week as well. Which is why this would be very effective:
 

Bionic Rooster

Well-known member
That's really not an approach that we'd recommend.
Perhaps for your site you wouldn't as you have lots of people in the back ground to check stuff, I am one person and have no one to cover for me when I'm not available. If it looks like the person has some valuable contribution, I have emailed them apologizing for the delay and all is good.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Probably by one week as well. Which is why this would be very effective:
Different things, really.

If a user decides not to complete registration, that's one thing. This is an admin actively not approving that registration for anywhere up to 3 weeks.
 

Alpha1

Well-known member
Perhaps for your site you wouldn't as you have lots of people in the back ground to check stuff, I am one person and have no one to cover for me when I'm not available. If it looks like the person has some valuable contribution, I have emailed them apologizing for the delay and all is good.
I have something coming up that helps with this so that you can moderate accounts that meet various criteria and let the rest through unmoderated. The features of my Registration Essentials for XF1 are being implemented in @Xon 's Signup Abuse addon for XF2. It will take a bit of time, but keep an eye on it.
 

Bionic Rooster

Well-known member
This is an admin actively not approving that registration for anywhere up to 3 weeks.
Misrepresentation of you saying "actively not approving". It is more to the point of having other life requirements and not always having to check the site every 5 minutes, hours for nothing or something.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Either way, a user has spent some amount of time perhaps browsing your forum, deciding to register and then not having their accounts approved for some time.

I get that you won't be checking your site every 5 minutes, every few hours or maybe not even every day.

But three weeks? I assume that's probably a worst case scenario that doesn't happen very often, but seems extreme in my view.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
In waiting weeks the question they wanted to ask is possibly no longer relevant. You could have hooked them in with that one post and they would have have stayed for years. It is extreme. But I digress, because it's getting off topic.
 

Bionic Rooster

Well-known member
Either way, a user has spent some amount of time perhaps browsing your forum, deciding to register and then not having their accounts approved for some time.

I get that you won't be checking your site every 5 minutes, every few hours or maybe not even every day.

But three weeks? I assume that's probably a worst case scenario that doesn't happen very often, but seems extreme in my view.
Better to be late than not to see it in seven days and have his efforts removed and he assumes he/they are being ignored. Still I don't see why you would offer a potential user an option but not an admin. Seems to me the time you spent here putting down my situation your time would have been better spent adding the option for admins to control the amount of time they may or may not need before a potential user is removed for ever. Anyway thanks for the insight into your priorities and negative attitude towards me and my request.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
Anyway thanks for the insight into your priorities and negative attitude towards me and my request.
Hey man don't read them as negative, they are constructive, life gets in the way for all of us. But if I signed up to a site, AND it let me post without registering, AND then it went into approval, AND that took 3 weeks, guess what? PEACE OUT! Just saying. Why would it let me actually post it then take 3 weeks to appear? He is telling you, your actions are not conducive to this feature. You'd actually be better not using it if you are going to wait 3 weeks.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Better to be late than not to see it in seven days and have his efforts removed and he assumes he/they are being ignored. Still I don't see why you would offer a potential user an option but not an admin. Seems to me the time you spent here putting down my situation your time would have been better spent adding the option for admins to control the amount of time they may or may not need before a potential user is removed for ever. Anyway thanks for the insight into your priorities and negative attitude towards me and my request.
I'm trying to understand the use case, that's all.

We might have explained this in the past, but it's not just the X minutes to add an option. Everything has some sort of overhead, even something as trivial as an option. Not just an overhead in terms of performance but potential code complexity, the UI, support, testing, stability, scope for introducing bugs etc. Many of these things might not apply in this specific case but we have to consider various factors so it's never just as simple as just adding an option.

Honestly if we added every option without some scrutiny then the software would just be a hot bloaty mess.

In this particular case, my only takeaway really is that an option still isn't required but maybe we could just consider making it longer to account for what is ultimately an edge case.

Either way, the feedback is noted.

Also, to be clear, I wasn't actually showing negativity towards the concept of an option itself, or a change to make the hard-coded period longer, I was just trying to get my head around the three weeks thing which, for the record, is still not a great idea, IMHO, and that appears to be a feeling that is being echoed by others and it's really an entirely separate issue to this feature or whether we add an option or not. But it's your forum, feel free to manage it how you please.
 

Kevin

Well-known member
The reply before registering feature will be a welcome enhancement to XF. :cool:

Great to see @NixFifty as a new member of the dev' team. I've had chance to work with him on a few different occasions and his code has always been clean and our interactions positive. 👍
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
I delete unconfirmed accounts from my forum after 1 week.

If they can't be bothered to click a link in an email by that time then clearly they aren't interested in contributing.

Likewise, if a forum can't authorise my account within a week then I'm not going to return.
 

RallyFan

Active member
I delete unconfirmed accounts from my forum after 1 week.

If they can't be bothered to click a link in an email by that time then clearly they aren't interested in contributing.

Likewise, if a forum can't authorise my account within a week then I'm not going to return.
Side question on that @Brogan .. do you keep the accounts, but just lock them (incase they are duplicate user account attempts), or just handle each account as its own?
 

Mangini

Well-known member
After letting this new feature sink in for a while it dawned on me it the new UI could be valuable for a "presale questions" forum, which is one of the least active parts of my site right now.
 

Chernabog

Well-known 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 :)

Holy F ... @NixFifty is now part of the Xenforo Development Team?! THAT IS FRIGGING AWESOME!!!! For anyone that doesn't know, @NixFifty is an amazing add-on developer, but he also has always provided exceptional support, engaged his customer base and truly cared for helping people with their sites.

Hi Jeremy! I love the new post function, but after working with @NixFifty for years now... I am ... I want to cry, send flowers and put a crown on his head. This is bigger than RuPaul's Drag Race :p @NixFifty dude I am so happy for you and @Brogan @Chris D and the team - you've made an excellent choice!
 
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