User Status

Prompted by a thread in MPSIMS (I think).

I’m wondering why “user status” is disabled.

At most other vB boards I’m a member of, they aren’t.

It can’t be bandwidth or censorship coz sigs aren’t disabled.

What option is that?

If you mean the little “V”-shaped tickbox under your post, it IS enabled. For a user that’s still online (read: vB detected action in the last 15 minutes, IIRC), the box is yellow. For an offline user, it is blue.

Unless you mean something else?

The user status is the title “Member” or “Moderator” or “Too Stupid for Words” under the username.

See here.

According to wolfstu in Desmostylus’s linked thread, it’s turned off because it might get confusing ???

Surprising, coz that doesn’t seem to be the case elsewhere.

Since we’re in ATMB, could we hear it from the horse’s mouth ?

I looked around, but the best I could find were these two threads from the days just after the board returned from exile:

Thank you, Admins

Why do some people have cool descriptions under their name?

Some of the Admins and Mods (including TubaDiva) comment on it a little in those threads.

All they say, it will create “work” for them.

I’m not sure what’s this work ?

Simply limit changing status to users with minimum 50/100 posts and it shouldn’t be a problem. It isn’t on the other boards, I’m a member of, like CGTalk or Ars Openforum. And both have close to the same activity that this board has.

Just activating the feature and making the change would be work. And even posters with greater than 50/100 posts aren’t angels. And if somebody does misuse it (remeber, the SDMB likely has stricter views of ‘misuse’ than a lot of other boards), someone like the ever-busy TubaDiva would have to go change what their field says.

The SDMB has a rigid structure of Moderators and Administrators that keep the board running as smoothly as it does, and in the way it does. This little tag is the only way that Mod/Admins are identified. Though I do think it would be cool to change my description to “Ignorance Fighter-Interceptor” or “Cecil’s Long-lost Brother”, the administrative necessity of keeping the identity of mods/admins clear takes priority.

The feature doesn’t have any real merit, and once lots of people got into it, it might lose some of its novelty anyway. You’ve got a sig line, and nowadays a ‘Location’ field, too, so this feature wouldn’t really add anything. But it would affect the recognition of board authority figures, it could be misused, and it can only increase Admin workload (if only slightly), but not reduce it. There are plenty of features that have been disabled on the SDMB. (Arnold Winkelried’s ATMB FAQ has a list.) Most of them would be fun, but they’re open to abuse, increased workload on the servers and moderators, and in the end, they don’t fight ignorance.

IANAModerator, but my view is:
The SDMB isn’t one of those 1337speek, LOL-e-Pop, content-devoid messageboards that populate the internet. This place is to them what a University is to the penny arcade. So, we act like it’s school, and not all of the games available at the arcade can be found in class.

(er, no offence to your boards. I’m sure they’re nice in their own way. But we’ve got ignorance to fight, man! No time for games!)

Another very relevant point:
If activating the feature and putting limits on who can/can’t use it requires modifying the board software to any degree, they absolutely will not do it. They’d lose warranty support from vBulletin (the software supplier).

Or so I’ve read.

The first point doesn’t make sense. It’s a one-time 5 minute (max) configuration job. Not really “work”.

As for the misuse. This seems to be the main reason cited, but I don’t see this a valid reason because

  1. You could have a new Rule of an immediate ban for those who impersonate. This wouldn’t create any additional work. Someone who flaunts this rule is as likely to ignore moderators anyway. IOW, they’re likely to get banned for some reason anyway.

  2. You say “no offence for the other boards”. Those aren’t l33tspeak boards either. CGTalk is the premier board for Vfx. The people who hang out there are the pros who work on Hollywood films and advertisements. Not a “causal” board by any means. The other board, Ars, is one of the few boards on the net that can rival the “seriousness” of the SDMB. They just have a different focus, but the quality of discussions there is on par with the ones here.

  3. This non-l33tspeak serious board argument can be used against the status-quo. If the board is so serious, it’s because of the users. Since the users are so serious, the argument that there will be a lot of work due to “misuse” is spurious. And the people who do carry out this childish “misuse” shouldn’t be here anyway. Hence, point 1 above. I also use the 100 posts minimum, because it can be easy to weed out trolls by that time. It would be a very perverted user who waits for 100 posts, changes title to “Administrator” only to get banned after 3 more posts.

  4. The user status isn’t a modification to the software. It’s a feature of vBulletin. The admins just need to enable it. The minimum post thing is also a built-in option. Go to

I really didn’t mean to denegrate other boards you frequent. There are useful messageboards on the internet, but (in my experience) the SDMB beats most by a mile in quality. I haven’t looked at your linked boards, and they may also be respectable. The point of bringing up the SDMB’s nature was only to express my own opinion on why such features are unnecessary. Again, comments on the nature of one board compared to another are a matter of opinion only, and that my opinion is given above.

That being said,

  1. Five-minute job or not, it’s still work. The Mods/Admins claim to be busy, and I’ll grant them that. Further, I expect there would be need for a debate between the Admins(/Mods?) as to whether it should be implemented, and if so how. This would probably take the form of a whole lot of e-mail or other electronic converstion, since (I gather) the Admins aren’t all in one place. Then there would be the inevitable public (though certainly non-binding) debate on the boards, threads of which the Admins would have to reply to. It sounds like I’m blowing things out of proportion, but keep in mind (as the Admins frequently remind us) they are not only very busy, but are volunteers with lots to do, and their own lives that they like to check in on every now and then.

  2. Rules like that don’t keep things from happening… plenty of rules get broken by posters who simply haven’t read the FAQ. And the Admins would have to go and ban those who misuse the feature.

  3. See the comments that open this post - it’s just my opinion; essentially a bias formed by becoming used to the way these boards are now. Plus: Just because Canada is a democratic country doesn’t mean it has a President and an Electoral College.

  4. You’re right, but it’s not just malicious misuse that is trouble. Innocently generated confusion is bad too. I once started a “What’s going on here?” thread because a user had changed their location field to read “Posts: 83456” (or something like that). Then an Admin had to look into the matter, send an e-mail to the user, etc.
    As well, if a large proportion of the posters have a modified status, it could be confusing (especially for a newbie) to know who’s who, and such.

I say, the purpose of that field is to differentiate Moderators from the rest of the membership. In this way, when manhattan says “Don’t do that in this forum”, a poster knows to take the instructions seriously. This isn’t a poster’s nametag. It’s his rank.

  1. Okay. I’m no expert on the board’s software.

  2. Do we really want to encourage people to pad post counts? Right now, post count officially means nothing at all. (admittedly a petty point).

  3. TubaDiva et al had their reasons for disabling the feature, which may be more extensive than what I’ve suggested here.
    For me though, the final word is twofold:

  4. Activating the feature would in no meaningful way enrich my experience at the SDMB.

  5. It’s not my playground, so I don’t get to make the rules. (And this isn’t a rule I think is really worth a petition for change.)

Exactly. They are volunteers. IOW, they’re willing. I don’t think there needs to a public debate. There wasn’t one in order to turn it off. No need to have one, in order to turn it on. Just an announcement with the rules governing usage.


The “whether” part would be short. The “how” part would be shorter. This isn’t exactly a debate on macroeconomic policy. The software limits the usage and outcomes.


They currently ban those who don’t contribute anything meaningful and are jerks. Like I said, those likely to flaunt this after 100 “proper” posts would have to be perverted users.


First of all, how is it “bad” ? Why would you be confused by the location thing ? You should know that an user gets to enter their location and there is no intelligent AI that pops up and say “hold on, Mars is not a valid location”.

How would a newbie be confused ? When they sign up, they’re presented with rules. They can also observe that everyone has this “tag” beneath their nicks. It shouldn’t take long to figure out what this thing is.


Wrong. If that was the sole purpose, vBulletin wouldn’t allow users to change it, nor would they have an option to differentiate title by post count.


Like I said, if I was a troll, it would be pretty stupid of me to post 100 proper posts, then change my status, only to get banned 3 posts later. There are more effective ways to be a troll.


So, why have nicks or sigs ? Just have names. They aren’t meaningful. But they’re fun. A witty or informative user status doesn’t contradict that.

Not wrong, just only right at this particular board (and at this time). Just because a feature exists doesn’t mean we have to use it. A Boeing 747 can be used to do aerial refuelling of fighter jets, or to ferry space shuttles around. But British Airways doesn’t use it for that, so their planes don’t have the required equipment installed. The feature’s there if the owner of a board thinks it would be nice to have on his board.

Anyway, we’ve pretty much made the same arguments twice…
My arguments wouldn’t really be very convincing as reasons to switch the feature off if it was on.
And I don’t find yours very compelling as reasons to change the status quo, either.

Frankly, I don’t see this as an issue of importance. Just because the feature’s there doesn’t mean we have to use it, and the Admins have seen fit to turn it off. Sure, it might work out, but there isn’t a good reason to change the way things are. Like most or all of the features that have been disabled, we live just fine without it. And we’d live just fine with it, too. So there’s no impulse to change.

It’s like a country’s electoral system. The French way works just fine, and so does the Canadian. Neither country has any reason to change. You haven’t given any great reason why the Admins of this board should, either. And if it always had been turned on, my arguments wouldn’t be enough to justify turning it off.

The SDMB Admin have a habit of turning off features they perceive as unnecessary or potentially troublesome. They’ve classified this one as such, and that’s fine with me.

If I was a child, and my father owned a car, this would be a bit like asking him to put the fancy hubcaps back on. Who knows why he took them off in the first place; maybe he had a reason, maybe he just didn’t think they were necessary.

For the interested: A little history on the other similar features:
The Location field was always present, but only at the above-mentioned ‘Spring Equinox of our Missed Content’ did it become visible beside each post. Prior to the software upgrade, it was only a line in the user profile. The reasons for keeping that feature active may be manifold, but one good one might be in case the staff need to know where a poster is (for reasons covered in the membership agreement - Just a guess on my part).

I can’t comment on the history of Sig lines, except to say that at one point they were tending to get a little lengthy, and the Staff asked us to keep them short.

Gyan9 said:

VBulletin allows several different options for the configuration of user status. This means the option of how to use the feature belongs to the owner of the board. Some boards like to use this status for official purposes. Some like to use it as a quick gimmick on how many times a poster has posted. Some boards may wish to let people call themselves anything they want. SDMB has chosen to use this feature as an official designation. This is an SDMB decision, not a vB decision. In other words, “That’s the way we do it here.”

Example: some parents won’t let their children eat sugar. Others let them eat sugar all the time. Different rules from different people calling the shots.

Look, you already have sigs, can pick your own username, and can modify your location to your whimsy. There’s no added benefit to changing your member status, and the loss of a useful feature to SDMB (using member status to track member status). Gee, let’s use logic to make the decision.

I can’t speak for the mods, but I’d guess the reasoning would boil down to the fact that it’d just be one more dang thing for them to police.

My mistake. The formal title for this feature is Custom User Text or User Title, not member status. It’s use as a status indicator is like you say, solely SDMB’s decision.

I just don’t see what boogeyman exists solely at SDMB.

Anyway, we can drop it right here.