back to article El Reg user forum opens to public, HTML for all (mostly)

As of now all commentards with five or more posts accepted for publication can create topics in our new El Reg forums. We have made this easier to find: the signpost link is in the secondary nav bar on the front page. At the same time we've opened simple HTML formatting to all commentards who have had five posts accepted for …


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  1. Chris 3

    Delicious irony?

    In the table that illustrates how simple HTML is compared with markdown, you seem to have made an error in the HTML.

    Or was that the joke?

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: Delicious irony?

      Little of both, I suspect; the author was clever enough to use &lt; entities in place of opening angle brackets, but the CMS wasn't clever enough to notice that and not attempt to convert the ampersands, so the result was &amp;lt; which renders as &lt; instead of < .


      1. Drewc Gold badge

        I shall leave formatting jokes in the capable hands of Verity Stob

        Aaron Em, you guess right.

        The table is for visual purposes only. Our CMS is not clever enough - or too clever - and wants to render all correctly formed html. Hence the &lt;

        And on the stupid side - table looked lovely in our CMS preview - and I was not clever enough to spot before it went live. Fixed

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Godwhacker

      Re: Delicious irony?

      Well, it's consistent- now BBCode is off, none of the examples they've given will work.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Alex Walsh

    Could you bring back the <blink>blink</blink> tag. Purleeease? :D

    1. craigj


      the <marquee>marquee tag</marquee> Pretty Purleeease? :D

      1. Crisp Silver badge

        Re: and...

        The marquee tag doesn't exist. And has never existed. Any memory you may think you have of it is an alcohol induced hallucination.

        I also plan to eliminate from the world, anyone that has ever used the blink tag.

  3. stuartnz

    Not quite there, drat!

    Everything seems eminently sensible to me, but I'm a little miffed at having to wait a bit to be able to create a topic. Even though I first posted here in '07 apparently, and have a fairly decent upvote/downvote ratio (54/4), I am not yet at 100 posts. On every web communication outlet I use, I try to live by David Byrne's mantra "when I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed". Is El Reg trying to tempt me into posting just for the sake of it, so that I can get my tally to that magical ton?

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Not quite there, drat!

      Stuart have you tried to create a topic? You can create topics after 5 posts, not 100.

      The 100 bar is for hotlinks.

      1. stuartnz

        Re: Not quite there, drat!

        D'Oh! That sort of doltishness is why I've only just cracked 50 posts. Sorry about that, and thanks for the cluestick.

    2. Andus McCoatover

      Re: Not quite there, drat!

      You could post something worth viewing, or 'Get a Life'. (JOKE!). Or, like me, be unemployed, and have bugger all to do at the pub. (ah...)

      Nonetheless, I've upvoted you to help you achieve the coveted Holy Grail of the Sofa Potato.

      (I'm at over 830 upvotes, but I wonder if there's gonna be a 'special prize' for the number of downvotes... Sarah Bee, come back, all is forgiven!)

      1. stuartnz

        Re: Not quite there, drat!

        "The Holy Grail of the Sofa Potato" - sounds like something that might appear on a Chesterfield in the middle of the pitch at Lord's - I look forward to attaining it.

  4. prefect42

    If you can't handle HTML... for the reg?

    A nice way to follow on from saying "If you can’t handle using simple HTML, then in our house you don’t get to use the basic formatting tools." is to put &lt;/b> and &lt/i> in the table...

  5. Haku


    but can you get shot of the stupid curved arrow that indicates a post is a reply to someone elses post in favour of the original grey bar?

  6. JDX Gold badge

    I'm happy enough using HTML but...

    ... your justification is laughable. HTML may be the web standard, but BB is the standard on forums. The problem is that El Reg is suffering from NIH Syndrome :)

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: I'm happy enough using HTML but...

      So HTML was invented by the Reg, then? Good to know...

    2. Malcolm 1

      Re: I'm happy enough using HTML but...

      I knew El Reg was influential, but I didn't know they invented HTML.

      1. John Gamble

        Re: I'm happy enough using HTML but...

        It was a demo by Verity Stob, who used Delphi to do the work. I've no idea why she signed her rights over to El Reg.

  7. Ian Ferguson


    how about some nice dynamic html to record post up/down votes without opening a new page. Most comment systems manage it now.

    Or just use a standard plugin that uses social media logins, instead of coding your own.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Next

      Check out the El Reg Forums roadmap. It's on the list.

      1. Aaron Em

        Just a quick comment

        to register my delight with third-party social media login not being on the map at all. Hate to think I'd have to put up with facefuckery in order to do my shit-stirring.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: Just a quick comment

          That, and quite a lot of work places have a content proxy/filter server (aka 'nanny filter') to keep people from wasting productive work hours on failbook, including mine.

          (while I'm immune to it, being the admin of said nanny filter, It does please me that not everyone wants to jump in bed with failbook's broken single sign on.)

  8. Real Ale is Best

    My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

    It would appear not :-(

    Tags: Please could we have <pre> and some way of quoting other people's posts?

    1. jai

      Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

      quote: Tags: Please could we have <pre> and some way of quoting other people's posts?

      i was going to put "+1 for <quote> request"

      but then i realised that it is really a bbcode type tag, there isn't an equivalent html tag that could be used is there.

      best i can think of is to italicise the quote.

      I think, if you have to manually format your quote, that's a good way of stopping some quotetard from putting gobloads of a post's text in a quote and then just typing "me too" afterwards.

      1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

        El Reg Forums roadmap

      2. Mage Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

        Quotes? Of course there is an HTML

        HTML blockquote tag - W3Schools

        <blockquote> Here is a long quotation here is a long quotation here is a long quotation here is a long quotation here is a long quotation here is a long quotation ...</blockquote>

      3. Tasogare

        Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.


        HTML has <blockquote>, if I remember right. Would that suit?

        Also, here's another vote for <pre>. Even though I probably won't ever post there. (I hate web forums. And comment threads, actually. NNTP FTW.)

      4. John G Imrie

        Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

        I think <blockquote> is what you are looking for

    2. Parax

      Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

      Your at 101 actually...

      1. Real Ale is Best

        Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

        Your at 101 actually...

        laughs Umm, yes I just noticed that! Easily confused this morning.

        The text in the post edit box still says plain text only no HTML though.

        1. Parax

          Re: My obligatory comment to see if I've reached 100 posts yet.

          Yes. it lies! As usual any update results in more to update elsewhere!

  9. jai

    uh oh

    now that El Reg is an official forum website as well as a news site, i wonder how long before it gets blocked entirely by our office websense filtering :(

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: websense filtering

      Does the site get blocked now - or only some stories?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Tags..

    <MontyBurns> Excellent.. < /MontyBurns>

  11. Greg J Preece

    Fluid width comments! You beautiful people, I've been wanting that for ages. The previous stuff looked kinda silly on a 1080p monitor.

    1. Drewc Gold badge

      Page width comments - we should have 'em but ...

      Sorry to disappoint, Greg. We ripped out the right hand side for Site News announcements. The RHS is a buffer elsewhere - I think.

    2. Aaron Em

      And one sentence stretched across the entire display doesn't?

  12. TRT Silver badge

    I just want...

    a couple of Star Trek icons and a hyperlink back to my original comment so I can easily find replies.

  13. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    Ooh, taggy goodness

    Sounds like a right sack of crap ripe for abuse a great idea.

    Tee hee.

    Steven R

  14. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    What the fuck is BBCode

    That's the reason for not using it.

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: What the fuck is BBCode

      It's what children use instead of HTML.

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: What the fuck is BBCode

        "It's what children use instead of HTML."

        Where is the hidden Upvote 100 times button?

  15. Bakunin

    "HTML is the open standard of the web. Deal with it, bitches."

    Quote of the week. Fantastic.

    So when's the El Reg branded T-shirt coming out?

  16. Jerome 0

    That all sounds pretty reasonable... so reasonable, in fact, that it makes me wonder why bbcode was invented in the first place.

  17. Mage Silver badge

    BB code is retarded. It was before CMS systems had decent HTML sanitising. A lot of forums use WYSIWYG editors anyway. Mostly it simply replaces < with [ and has a bunch of different ways according to extension for Tables and other stuff beyond basic,

    Also HTML allows for easier Copy & Paste from existing source.

  18. James Anderson Silver badge

    thankyou google

    Went to try this out and discovered my Android keyboard does not have &lt; or &gt;

    1. Davidmb

      They're just hidden, usually

      Switch to number keyboard (12# button) then second page (1/2 button). There they are, along with the £ sign!

      Long-winded and might not work with every phone.

  19. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Thumb Up

    Right choice

    (But whatever you choose to do will be wrong for someone).

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Required: link for New Postings

    Can we have a New Postings (since last visit) link to a screenful of topics with recent activity... it's the only way to manage web forum visits, if you don't want to miss anything and don't want to recursively check each and every subforum!

    1. Drewc Gold badge

      Re: Required: link for New Postings

      Check out the El Reg Forums roadmap in our Forum wishlist.

  21. ratfox Silver badge

    Let's see

    Thank you very much!

    Here is a link to a really good tech site.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Let's see

      Dude! Couldn't you have put that in <spoiler /> tags?

  22. Jess

    What about handling html plus markdown?

    Surely it can't be hard to make both work?

    Though the conventions I would prefer are those from text email:




    > quoted section

    1. Sweaty Hambeast

      Re: What about handling html plus markdown?

      >Though the conventions I would prefer are those from text email:

      And the ones I would prefer are from IBM's GML which use : and . instead of < and > and here's the problem: lots of people have lots of different preferences. Anyone wanna start a count?

  23. Jamie Kitson


    Markdown is even simpler than in your example (I think): *Bold* _Italic_

    1. Haku

      Re: erm

      Hmm lets try that.

      *Bold* /Italic/

      Yup that works ;)

  24. Miguel Farah
    Thumb Up

    So... may those HTML tags have attributes?

    I'm guessing the answer will be no (and I'm fine with that), but it'd be better to make this explicit:

    Can the allowed &lt;b&gt;, &lt;i&gt;, &lt;em&gt;, &lt;strong&gt; and &lt;strike&gt; include common attributes? For example:

    &lt;b style="color: blue;"&gt;Blue bold text&lt;/b&gt;

    &lt;b id="myComment&gt;link this later with #myComment&lt;/b&gt;

    Also: will the syntax be strict, accepting only "&lt;b&gt;" instead of "&lt;b &gt;"?

    For the record, I *do* like the idea.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: So... may those HTML tags have attributes?

      You've not noticed the Preview button then?

      1. Miguel Farah

        Re: So... may those HTML tags have attributes?

        I did. What I want is an explicit definition of it in the rulebook.

  25. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Ho Hum

    I do wish El Reg would either get all they are going to do done or stop tweaking the forums. Every time something changes I have to alter my Grease Monkey script to get things working properly in Firefox. Yes; I know Grease Monkey shouldn't be necessary, but c'est la vie. I can live with it but would just like a firm foundation to stand upon.

    I'm not entirely sure all these minor tweaks are that beneficial or necessary. I do hope El Reg isn't being slowly sucked down the Web2.0 rabbit hole.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Ho Hum

      Sorry, El Reg jumped down that rabbit hole a long time ago!

      That's why you're able to post a comment here instead of bashing out an email to the author like in the good ol' days. It's that wambly nambly user interaction that web 2.0 was all about.

      But at least they do a good job, and don't get carried away like so many other web sites have.

  26. David Shaw

    one hundred


    so I can start doing steganography with html font colour space encoding yet? Some random IEEE paper

  27. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    OK, thanks for the features, but you can call me old-fashioned. Unless I need to add a link (which I have only found the need for ONCE) I'll stick with standard text. The reason for that is the same as why I loathe Powerpoint and WYSIWYG editing: I focus on content. The day I need embellishment is the day I evidently have no longer anything interesting to say..

    So, hello gadgets, but I'll use them sparingly. Unless I want to annoy someone, of course :-)

  28. Irony Deficient

    Thank you!

    Good to see that HTML formatting has been granted to all (mostly). I hope that the following formatting will be added to the roadmap:

    • the remaining HTML phrase elements (cite, dfn, code, samp, kbd, var, abbr, acronym);

    • inline quoting (the q element);

    • preformatted text (the pre element);

    • fixed width text (the tt element);

    • small caps (sadly there is no simple HTML element that provides them; a span element with a particular style attribute would be required);

    • the recommendations of the Vulture Central Humour Comprehensibility Committee, found at (sorry, at this time I do not meet the prerequisite for hotlinking).

    Do the characters used for HTML elements count towards a post’s maximum length?

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Don't forget our forum wishlist!

      I shall post a link to your post in our forum wishlist.

      But commentards please put your recommendations there - much easier if we have them all in the same place.


  29. Anonymous Coward

    no chance of latex support?

  30. Old Handle

    HTML vs. BBCode

    I thought the main appeal for BBCode and similar was that it's less trouble to implement safely. If you completely block HTML, and then bring back limited formating through another syntax, it's really easy to make sure you stay in control. If you allow some HTML tags, and especially if you allow attributes, then you have to be much more careful to avoid letting something harmful through.

    I certainly don't mean to suggest El Reg isn't up to the job, but for something like a personal blog (if not using a pre-made blog platform) that could be a big advantage.

  31. Gordon Fecyk

    Pedantic HTML Nazi Alert

    "HTML is the open standard of the web. Deal with it, bitches."

    (Courtesy of the W3C Validator)

    Line 112, Column 123: general entity "T" not defined and no default entity…inancial incentives to Verizon and AT&T in the hope of getting them to join Sp…

    This is usually a cascading error caused by a an undefined entity reference or use of an unencoded ampersand (&) in an URL or body text. See the previous message for further details.

    Line 192, Column 22: reference to non-existent ID "EMAIL" <h4><label for=email>Email</label></h4>

    Line 198, Column 22: reference to non-existent ID "PASSWORD" <h4><label for=password>Password</label></h4> be fair, I struggled a lot with ampersands in URLs until I changed my parser to catch these and swap these in and out on the fly. Avoiding them in links entirely also helps. And face it: You were asking for this, El Reg.

  32. umacf24

    And another reason...

    Many of the grosser and more extreme techies that read the Reg are dinosaurs.

    HTML, I know. But I never heard of BBCode or the others until I read the story...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay! —HTML allowed in forum posts. It's like some kind of 1990s revival! The big question is, have I posted enough wank here, over the years, to be allowed to post a definitely not spammy link to one of my websites...?

    Woot! Looks like I have, unless the preview is lying. Go me!

  34. Richie 1

    Allowing inline Javascript could be fun

    <span onmouseover="alert(‘you suck‘)">what a lovely article</span>

  35. ~mico

    The Reg missed the obvious...

    <code> tag!

  36. Trixr Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Markdown is just really nice ... and I'm speaking as someone who first learned 'er tagging in SGML. (Roll your own DTD, bitches)

    As for BBCode, yup, "sanitised" html - what's the point.

    And another vote for *<code>* please! (<pre> is deprecated for that purpose!)

  37. Chris Sake


    You mention that commentards will have posting and formatting rights. Can I assume that those who who detested this term will be, quite rightly, excluded?

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