Okay, I normally use IE, and have used Firefox. I have access to a computer with Google Chrome installed, so I thought I would try it out.
When I opened a Reply to thread tab, I noticed something. The normal toolbars on top of the edit window are available, and the smilies to the right. However, the upper right there should be icons for spell check (ABC check mark), expand window (up arrows/down arrows), and “Switch Editor Mode” (A/A, changes from text to pseudo wysiwig - formatting is displayed rather than the code, except for quote blocks).
I just checked and IE on the same computer is normal. It is just Google Chrome not giving those options.