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How to register a forum account

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The process to register a forum account on The T-Bucket Forums is a very simple procedure. But it seems to trip up three or four people every week. A new member recently suggested a tutorial on how to register, so here it is -

The initial step is to spend a bit of time on the forums, reading posts, reading the Forums Rules page, reading the Terms of Service page and reading our Privacy Policy page. These pages will define the guidelines by which this forum and its members are governed, as well as the responsibilities we all share whilst using this site.

Users from the European Union should make particular note of the information on the Privacy Policy page. This site is owned and operated by a citizen of the United States of America and the site is hosted on a server located in the United States of America. This site does use cookies to help provide a more robust experience for our users, so you have been warned.

OK, you've spent some time browsing the forums and you still want to become a member, so let's start at the beginning and work our way through the registration process.


Located on the forum home, or index, page is a module titled T-Bucket Forums Navigation. The very first link in that module is titled Before You Register. Clicking that link will take you to an informative registration page, which actually provides all the information this post contains but goes largely ignored by prospective new members. I fully anticipate this post will be ignored in the same manner, but welcome to my life. At least I can say I've tried to help with these additional instructions.


As you can see, that page recommends reading the Forums Rules page, the Terms of Service page and the Privacy Policy page.

The page also states, quite clearly, we do not and will not accept registrations from Yahoo and Hotmail e-mail accounts. There is a very specific reason we have blocked these e-mail providers and that is to help our members. Both of these providers have very aggressive spam, or junk, filters that you may or may not even be aware are in place. The forum uses e-mail notification for a lot of forum features and functions, so your ability to receive e-mail from this domain is important. And to have your e-mail provider making decisions on what constitutes spam mail without any input from you is more than a little over the top. This policy has been in place since 11 April 2008 and we have had over 2,550 members register forum accounts since that time. So if this policy is an insurmountable obstacle for you, I certainly understand and wish you well.

Please, please, please, take the time to read that page before you try to register and you will find all of your questions will be answered. But I'll continue here, just to make sure we're not overlooking anyone.


On the forum home, or index, page, there are two links where you can click to sign up. Both links will provide the same experience, so pick one and go.


The first field provides you with a place to enter a username or an e-mail address. Most people are pretty cautious about their e-mail addresses, which I fully support, so just enter a username. This username will be what you will use to log into the forums and will also be displayed alongside any material you submit to the forums. Some people are comfortable with using their names and some people prefer to use a nickname. The username must be unique and it cannot use any characters other than capital letters, lower-case letters and numbers. NewMember is valid, whereas New-Member, New_Member, New.Member and New&Member are invalid. If you want to enter a space in your username, do so at your own risk, because it will likely create problems down the road. A space character has a specific hexadecimal designation, a specific ASCII designation and a specific unicode designation, all of which can create problems with filters guarding against potential phishing attacks. As Web security increases, that little '20' code in your username is going to become even more problematic. You have been warned.

Since you do not have a forum account, tick that top radio button and then click the Log In button.


The registration page will give you another opportunity to come up with the username you want to use on the forums.

You will then be asked to enter a valid and working e-mail address. Just in case the red text doesn't attract your eye, remember you will not be allowed to use a Yahoo or Hotmail e-mail address. (You would be amazed to see how many messages I get each week, from people who 'know what they're doing', but somehow fail to miss all the warnings.)

Now it is time to enter a password. This is an area that seems painfully self-explanatory, but let's cover it, just to make sure you understand. You need to enter a password that only you will know. You need to enter a password that you will be able to remember. You need to enter a password that is secure. Every child on the Internet knows people want their passwords to be convenient, so when they are trying to crack your online accounts, they are going to try passwords like - 'password', 'qwerty' and '123456'. People who know your birthdate, your anniversary, your spouse's name and your pet's name also have some additional clues. Please, use a random string of both upper and lower-case letters along with some numbers. Yes, I know, that makes your password hard to remember, but it also makes it hard to guess, so make it hard to remember. And then make a note to change your password on a regular basis. If I find a password I've had in place as long as 4 - 6 weeks, I'm changing it.

Yes, your password will be stored in the database. No, I cannot see your password. When you enter your password, it goes through a hashing process, using both SHA1 and SHA256 encryption. When you enter your password string, the forum software runs that string through one of those two encryptions, to hash it up. The result of that process is then run through one of those two encryptions, to has it a second time. Which means if someone could manage to get through our multiple layers of server security and could access the forum database, they will not be able to discover your password. So if you forget your password, you will need to use the Lost Password function, available at the log-in prompt.

Your date of birth is required, because we require our registered members to be over the age of thirteen (13).

You can then specify your gender, unless you're still in the discovery process.

Enter your time zone and forum times will then reflect times that are correct for that zone.

Then it is time to enter the ReCAPTCHA data. Yes, I know, some of those character strings can be hard to read. That is done for a specific purpose. The think to remember is that both strings must be typed, exactly as they are displayed. If a displayed string has a capital letter, then you will need to enter that as a capital letter. Enter the first string, a single space and then the second string. If you simply cannot make out one or both strings, it's as simple as clicking on the Reload link. That will load a fresh image with two new strings. If you are vision-impaired, you can also click on the listen to audio link. We have used CAPTCHA and ReCAPTCHA on this site since its inception, so it's really not impossible to succeed at entering the correct strings.

You will then be required to tick the option showing you agree with the terms and rules of this forum site. You have read the Terms of Service, the Rules and the Privacy Policy, haven't you?

You can then click on the Sign Up button.


From that point, the forum software takes over. It creates a new account for your username in our database. It salts your password twice and stores that hashed string. It creates a unique link for your account, inserts that link into an e-mail to the e-mail address you associated with your forum account and sends it off. You will be taken to a new page that will show you that your account is awaiting e-mail confirmation. The Notification bar will show the address the confirmation e-mail was sent to, which allows you to verify you entered the address correctly.

The server will send the e-mail within seconds of you clicking the Sign Up button, so you should see the confirmation e-mail within minutes. If you do not see it right away, then you need to verify the e-mail address you associated with your forum account was entered correctly. If the address is correct, then look through your e-mail account's Spam or Junk folder, to see if the confirmation e-mail has been identified by your system as being spammy. If you've entered your e-mail address incorrectly, you will need to get that corrected in your user profile and then click on that Resend Confirmation Email link.


The Notification area will alternate between these two messages. One will tell you the address your confirmation message was sent to and the other will remind you that until you confirm your e-mail address, your registration process is not complete. It will also inform you if you do not successfully confirm your e-mail address within 7 days of registering, your forum account will be deleted from the database.


The confirmation e-mail you will receive is going to look like the above. Just follow the instructions, click on that link within 7 days of registering and your account will be successfully registered.

The process is really quite simple and self-explanatory, so long as you remain aware and read all the associated information.

I do not tolerate spam. Full stop. We get a lot of new registrations from people who use phony e-mail addresses. Which is alright with me, because those idiots will never get a confirmation e-mail, which means they will never be able to post their junk to the forums. After 7 days, their forum accounts are deleted and we remain spam-free.

But that means you need to be very careful about entering your e-mail address. Because if you enter an invalid address, the confirmation e-mail you're waiting to see is going to bounce right back to me.


The above is an example of a member who failed to enter the correct e-mail address, during his registration. His e-mail account contains two lower-case L's, which he entered as two upper-case I's. Obviously, Google's Gmail POP3 servers saw the e-mail was invalid, so it bounced the message back to me.

This creates a major problem, because this individual wasn't going to be able to complete his registration process.

This created a secondary problem, because this same member decided to violate the forum rules by registering a second account, rather than simply fixing the first account's self-inflicted problems.

I've been at this forum administration business for a l-o-t of years, so when I see people registering with invalid e-mail addresses, my knee-jerk reaction is that individual is likely up to no good. I immediately make note to watch that user's account for possible spam, or to see if this is a disaffected individual who has been previously banned from the forums. When that same person them turns around and registers a second account, that gets the red lights flashing and the sirens blaring. Users with multiple accounts are rarely up to any good, so I will quite often ban them on the spot.

I've had members register with e-mail accounts that do not belong to them. When I receive complaints from the actual owners of those accounts, I delete those members without a second thought. A couple months back, I had a member register with another person's e-mail. The owner of that address complained (rightfully so) and I deleted the member's account. A few days back, this same individual re-registered on the forums with a working e-mail account. He failed to read all of the information displayed in the confirmation e-mail and on the forums, so he used the Contact Us form to question whether or not his account was actually registered, or not. What I found interesting is this individual used a third e-mail address for the e-mail field in the Contact Us form. And yes, that got those lights and sirens fired right back up.

Spend some time reading all the information we've provided for all of our members and guests. If you decide to register a forum account, pay attention to all the advice we've made available and pay attention to the information provided on the registration page. Before clicking that Sign Up button, review all the data you've entered, to ensure it is all correct. If you do all of those things, you will have no problems registering. If you can read, if you can comprehend what you've read and if you can follow simple instructions, everything will work as intended.
Remember what I said about passwords and making them difficult? Here is a valuable site for you to use - How Secure Is My Password


That's the password I use on this particular site.

If you are looking for a way to come up with a tough password that will still be easy to remember, think of a simple phrase that means a lot to you. A phrase you couldn't possibly forget.

I drive a red Dakota. Let's look at what can be done with that phrase, as a password.

idriveareddakota - the number jumps to 345,000 years
IdrivearedDakota - 22,000,000,000 years (yes, that is 22 BILLION)

The fact of the matter is the password has 16 characters, so that alone makes it pretty safe.

How about this one?

iammike - Uh-oh, that could be cracked in as little as 2 seconds.
IamMike - Changing to some capital letters bumped me up to 4 minutes
IamMike854 - I added the month and year of my birth and that took things up to 6 years.

See how easily a very short password can be broken?

ilovemywife - 10 days
Ilovemywife - Changing just one letter to a capital jumped it up to 59 years

Give the tool a try. Come up with something that cannot be cracked in mere seconds. And then change it often. Using familiar phrasess can help you remember a password that is hard to crack. (And no, I don't use phrases, I just force myself to memorize some screwy new character strings every month or so.)
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