vB codes: Why safer than HTML?

From the vB codes link:

(Emphasis mine)

What the hell does “safer to use” mean? Do they mean that since vB requires fewer keystrokes, I have less chance of getting carpal tunnel? Is HTML a known carcinogen? Will I increase my chances of getting a virus (computer or otherwise) by using HTML?

I’m sooooo confused.

Using HTML isn’t less safe for you, it’s less safe for the board. HTML coding opens the door for folks with no scruples to mess up the board. vB code is handled by the board’s software to make the pretty postings we all love.

Doesn’t even require a lack of scruples. If you allow posters to type arbitrary HTML and don’t very carefully check it, it is entirely too easy to mess things up due to innocent mistakes. The vB codes restrict you to a subset of things that can be contained, so that if you forget to turn off bold, for instance, you’ll only bold the rest of your article.

For example, if you decided you wanted a table in your message, and you forgot to close your <TABLE> tag, you would blow the layout of most of the page, which would now have an unclosed outer <TABLE>, as the first closing tag for the board display is now closing your table.

Nevertheless, I DO think it would be a better approach for the software to simply allow a restricted subset of HTML that it is willing to police and clean up before storing the message (closing your dangling syntax, for instance), and allowing board administrators to control which tags users may have (no, you may NOT have image tags - too many people are posting enormous images). It would escape all other HTML syntax as it does now. This would mean that if you already knew HTML, you wouldn’t have to look up vB codes, and the HTML tags for a few simple embellishments are no worse for the normal user to learn than the vB codes.

Anyway, that’s not how vBulletin chooses to do it. I don’t know what they provide if you allow HTML and how carefully they screen it. Apparently not carefully enough.

I like it the way it is. Even the most innocent HTML codes are open to genuine mistakes or malicious use (16 fonts in 5 sizes and 35 colours? Why yes, I will pay more attention to your post!). Basically, anything beyond the functionality provided by vB tags could go horribly wrong, so by using proprietary tags (presumably with some kind of idiotproof coding to prevent really nasty errors) you just cut out any chance of it.

I really can’t see much point in allowing HTML; what other commands would we need? Colours, font faces and font sizes are all open to really horrific designs, and may not be easily viewable by every Doper.

FTR, this question should probably be in ATMB.

Another advantage of the vbCode codes is that they make it easier on the users for some less simple things. For instance, quoting is much easier to do using the quote tag than it would be by hand coding the html. And as a bonus, the board gets a uniform look at the same time. Same deal with external links that open in new windows.

BTW - “You can use vB Codes even only if the administrator has specified that you can”. Is that English?

Yeah, it should be in ATMB, so I moved it.


We could put images in our posts if we had HTML. Yippee! :rolleyes: I remember back in the days when HTML was enabled on this board, there would be threads that took forever to open because 2-3 people posted images in them. This was back when we only had 2K posters (maybe less). I don’t even want to imagine what it’d be like if folks had that option today.

Delphi allows html, and many times malicious html shut down different boards. Pages would takes ages to load because of all of the images and fonts and animated gifs. There was truly nothing more annoying than 20 point font along with 6 images, 2 of them animated, just for the person to contribute “Me too”. It’s one of the reasons I don’t post there anymore.

Don’t forget Daniel P. Bostaph (I forget his new name… Bosta di Trichidore or something). He used to piss the entire board off with his size 72 pink bold fonts. I, for one, am glad he can’t do that anymore. No offense, other than that.

LOL Coldie. His posts are so much easier to read now that they’re all in one text size and color.

“Post your desktop!” anyone?


Also, when HTML was enabled, it was possible to cover up the advertisements at the top of the page. I don’t think you have that problem with vB. So, its safer for the Chicago Reader to have vB and not HTML.

Or you could slip a </html> in there and really have some fun.

It seems that it is possible to allow for only a subset of HTML tags. At any rate, I have been to other bulletin boards that allow HTML and they aren’t messed up like some people asserted that they would.

I don’t know…it is kinda pretty.


[sub]I plead insanity and swear I will never do that again.[/sub]

Cute. :slight_smile:

I’m sure vB doesn’t have the same security holes, but some truly obscure use of the image tag gave hackers access to passwords and stuff for boards running phpBB. That one really sucked for a lot of people.

What we do at the SDMB is create additional vBcodes for HTML tags that we think would be useful. Read the technical issues FAQ to see which ones have been added so far.
To give an example (for those of you who may not remember) - we disabled the img tag after an SDMB user decided that he didn’t want other people to read a certain thread, and so started posting links to huge images in the thread to make calling up the thread very slow.
If someone started using on a regular basis the font BooBoo316 just used in Great Debates, posting huge chunks of text, we probably would disable the font tag.

You didn’t just ban that user instead?

It is not really whether there are VB codes in place for HTML tags. I think it’s more of a question of habits. I have always used <em> for italics and it became second nature. So a whole bunch of my posts contain the <em> tag instead of doing the italics I want. What makes things worse is I can’t go back and fix them.

No we didn’t.

We encourage people to use preview if they have a post with vBcodes and they still feel unsure of their vBcoding skills.

Again, this is a question of habit. It’s not my codes were wrong (not that I have never gotten them wrong before :)) but SDMB refuses to render them.

Don’t worry, Urban Ranger, that just works better here than it does with HTML enabled. This way, we not only see that you meant to emphasize your text, we also see that you’re a nerd. It’s sort of like the folks who use L[sub]a[/sub]t[sup]e[/sup]x codes here, even though they know they won’t be displayed J.