Privileges here like having a signature, being able to link out etc., are based on post count. As post count rises you get more privileges, including access to our VIP Lounge.

But to build post count you need to make "quality" posts, not fluff (see Rule 3). Please bear in mind that a lot of posts that would be allowed on other forums would not cut the mustard here.

What is fluff? (in existing threads)

For the purposes of this website, the definition of fluff varies depending on who you are and where you're posting. If you are new to the forums almost every post you make to an existing "conversation" is fluff unless it contains something new, is on topic and assists the discussion in the thread. You have to meet all three. You're joining a group of friends having a chat in a thread. You need to come across as someone who wants to be part of that multi-way communication and who can contribute usefully to it.

Despite the serious sounding nature of this description, most people joining our forums for the right reasons have no need to worry - they likely already do make sensible rather than fluff posts in other forums they visit.

More Tips:
- Don't scatter your opinion about to people you don't know - they don't want it. If a group of people at a restaurant were talking about wine you wouldn't interrupt them to tell them you prefer Maseratis over Ferraris. Your opinion on this doesn't matter to them and is annoying. Even if you were on topic, they likely don't want to hear your opinion unless you have something extremely useful or original on the topic or you're a well known expert in the field. Posting just to say you agree is a waste of your time and theirs and could get you an infraction. A better approach would be to show interest in what they're saying and ask polite, on-topic questions. Once they know you better they'll be interested in your opinion.

- Don't state the obvious: If the discussion in a thread is about advanced SEO techniques, dropping in to explain what SEO stands for doesn't help - none of the posters in the thread need that information. Repeating, albeit in different words, a fact already expressed is also annoying. Either add something new...or stay out of the thread.

- Don't ask a question that's already been answered in the thread. Particularly if it's a short thread with just 10 or 20 posts, please read them all first.

- Don't post just to say you've sent someone a PM/email. If you've sent them a PM, they'll know about it ...and the rest of us don't need to.

Doesn't all this scare new members from ever posting?

Not at all. If you're new, there are easy ways to become visible and start chatting. Others have done it For example, you can...

1. Create a thread in the Welcome section to tell us about yourself. No, not a cut and paste job from somewhere else, but a real post so we know something about you (some good opening posts). You do not need to disclose your name, phone number, URLs or any personal data (in fact, not posting URLs is a good indicator you're not here to spam). You could tell us what you like about the forums, which threads you found useful, what you hope to get out of joining us, areas of expertise (or interest) on which you can contribute/ benefit...

2. Find threads like the Twitter thread that are open to all and post in there.

3. Make a post or two with feedback about this site, what you like, what you feel could be improved, how we can make it more friendly. This is the right place for feedback and forum related questions.

4. Bear in mind that we love good questions. You can start a thread in the Website Valuation, Due Diligence or Website 101 sections asking a question or two. Saying that you have a poker site and asking for a valuation isn't giving people enough information. Tell them how much of traffic you get, how old the site is, what your average traffic is like etc. Take the trouble to put together at least a paragraph or two to give us context. Help others to help you. Starting a thread asking just "How can I make money online?" will get you in trouble. If you want to persuade people to help you, don't act like the village idiot. Do a bit of research first and ask for specific help. Start by telling them what you've already tried, what ideas appeal to you, what skills you have available, where you are based etc. Then ask them whether your idea could work, how to implement it or how to improve earnings.

How long do these strict restrictions last?

It's not based on time, it's based on your usage of the forum. The more you make non-fluff posts and the more you create threads that turn out to become popular conversations, the more credibility you have with other posters and the less likely your post is seen as fluff.

What if I've been here a while and made useful posts?

If you've been posting elsewhere in the forums but are new to a thread in question there's a slightly lower onus on you to prove yourself as others may have already seen you about and may consider you an acquaintance (even if not a friend).

If you've been having an extended conversation with someone in a thread, you could get away with even a one word answer to a question he has directed at you and it won't be considered fluff.

If you're new to a thread where, say, four other members are having a chat, please first assess who they are before posting. If they are all old friends you've had numerous other conversations with elsewhere, they already know you, know some of your views and will likely accept a short post without considering it fluff and filing a complaint. Such posts will usually still be on topic or inject some humour. If these people are new to you, your post will need to have more meat to pass muster and not be seen as post count manipulation.

The mod team here is the ultimate arbiter of what's fluff.