The Registration Screen
Most forums require a guest to accept their registration agreement before the registration process can begin. By checking the I Agree option, a guest consents to comply with the agreement throughout the duration of their membership. Some forums may also incorporate a minimum age into the agreement process.
Upon arrival at the registration screen, a guest is requested to enter a username and a valid email address. Failure to use a valid email address may hinder registration, depending on how a forum is configured. Guests are also given the opportunity to allow forum members to email them.
An authentication method must be chosen, as well. The most common method is simply choosing a password. Although, some forums may provide members with the opportunity to use an OpenID.
A form of visual verification may be present in order to confirm that a guest is actually a person and not a bot. This verification may be requested in two ways - CAPTCHA and custom questions. The CAPTCHA method displays an image containing a random collection of letters, which a guest must enter into a text field. The custom questions method displays one or more relatively simple questions, which a guest must answer correctly. A forum may be configured to use both methods at the same time.
Once a guest completes the registration form, there are three possibilities for what is displayed next based on how the forum is configured.
- Login - If registration is immediate, the new member will be automatically logged in after completing the registration form.
- Activation - If a message about email activation is displayed, the new account must first be activated before login. An email with instructions how to proceed is sent to the new member's email address.
- Approval - If a message about member approval is displayed, the new account must first be approved by an administrator before login. An email acknowledging the new member is sent to their email address. Another email is sent later to inform them whether or not their application has been approved.