XF 2.2 Writing before registering

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


... 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.


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.


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.



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.


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 is 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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Well-known member
Sorry for an off topic question , but with release would Media Gallery and Resources will be updated , as I think they need to be updated, especially media Gallery.

We will. As ever we’ll focus on the XF features first and then we’ll talk about what is coming in the add-ons too.

We’re only talking about XF features at this moment in time but that doesn’t mean to say add-ons won’t benefit from these features now or in the future but we’ll talk about that closer to the time.


Well-known member
1. After completing the registration, redirect user to the original thread he has replied/posted as a guest. So he get the idea and will continue to interact with that thread.
Many new people don't know how forums work

2. Please bring this write before register feature to resource manager.


Well-known member
1. After completing the registration, redirect user to the original thread he has replied/posted as a guest. So he get the idea and will continue to interact with that thread.
Many new people don't know how forums work

2. Please bring this write before register feature to resource manager.

😊 yeas really helpful to integrate this to resource manager. we are using resource manager as the base to create many sites


Active member
A few years ago we created our own add-on to show the "Like Quote Reply" and "Post new thread" options to users not logged in. This is a further step in that direction and a welcome addition.


Well-known member
What are the implications of having this feature enabled on loading performance of thread_view for guests, does it load & initialize the editor & attachment stuff just like it would for users?
If so: Does it also do that for known bots/crawlers? (Which would be kinda pointless)


Well-known member
This sounds awesome! :D

the content itself is still subject to the same spam checks as normal, it's just things are happening in a slightly different order.
Does this mean that the spam checks would not occur until a pre-registration action is processed to become real content? If that is the case, would the "Enable CAPTCHA for guests" option be shown on guest-enabled forms (such as quick reply) to limit the amount of spam being temporarily stored? On the other hand, that could mean that genuine visitors would have to answer a second CAPTCHA challenge once they get to the registration form. :unsure:

After registration, shouldn't the user be directed to his post? It would be otherwise very confusing
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
See this makes sense when new registrations require email confirmation but they could still be taken to the post/thread
Assuming that the writing/registration flow pretty much stays the same, could there at least be a link back to the content or page a user was viewing before they registered? This wasn't an option in @Kier's HYS video (3:06), but if it were...:


Well-known member
Cool stuff! I do have one UX concern—it may have already been addressed; apologies if I missed it.

Our forum has a lot of users who are non-technical, and I assume there are a lot of other niche forums in the same boat. I like the idea of allowing users to engage without registering, but I’m concerned that the same demographic who will benefit from that is also likely to attempt to post as a guest even if they already have an account.

Let’s say Alice already has an account, but she’s logged out for whatever reason. She doesn’t realize that she’s logged out. She attempts to write a post, but when she submits the form, she’s asked to register. Is she also given the option to log in with an existing account and post as that user, or is her content lost? Alice doesn’t know how to copy/paste.


XenForo developer
Staff member
There's a login option on the registration form in this situation.

When the existing user logs in, if we detect that they had created content as a guest, we'll automatically trigger the action and (for example) the post would be made.


Well-known member
Seeing this feaure adding a 100% increase in JavaScript size for initial page views for guests and adressing this issue being classified as a "suggestion" instead of a bug makes me pretty disappointed about this feature :(

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Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Whether it's a bug or a suggestion changes little. We've been discussing different approaches already (before today) so we're not saying that changes aren't coming, we're just saying "It's behaving as we designed it to (ergo, not a bug), but changes may be possible in the future".


Active member
I'm loving this and very much appreciate Xenforo's ongoing enhancements.

One issue I do have while testing this out as as a guest posting a new thread, it made me do the hCaptcha twice -- once as I posted my message in the thread and then again when it asked me to register.

It seems redundant and definitely builds up friction to have to do the hCaptcha twice. Is there a way to at least shut it off on new thread creation (it seems to be off by default for replies) since it's going to come up anyway upon the next step via registration?

I know I can toggle the Guest hCaptcha option but it shuts it off for everything else including Contact Us, etc.



This system doesn't use the moderation queue - the post or thread isn't created at all until registration is completed.

Then their content will never be posted - it is only posted after the user confirms their email address (if enabled) and/or has their account manually approved (if enabled).

Before the registration is complete it is stored as a "pre-registration action", rather than a post. Therefore:
We just had some unexpected (bad) behaviour from this feature. (We're still on 2.2.4)
Having read this thread (see some relevant quotes above), I'm not totally sure it's what the devs would expect either.

In short: a pre-registration post that does not trip the spam filters ends up awaiting email confirmation for the account, and in the meantime it doesn't go into the moderation queue. All good, and as expected.
However: a pre-reg post that DOES trip the spam filter goes straight into the approval queue as a pre-registration action, and (here's the bad bit) if a moderator approves it at that point, the account state instantly becomes "Valid" and the email confirmation step is entirely skipped.**

Because of this, I've just switched off pre-registration posting on our forum.
Is this the expected behaviour? It seems highly undesirable.
(A moderator can decide that a post is innocent but that surely shouldn't permit the user to skip email confirmation...)

** The potentially spammy post still needs a second approval (the "normal" spam-check approval) btw. Not sure why this is considered useful, because the pre-registration approval should surely mean that the post was already deemed innocent by a moderator.