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How to use the post count to limit forum access

Description: This article explains how you can use the newly registered users group to limit access for users to one or more forums.

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[url=https://www.phpbb.com/support/docs/en/3.0/kb/article/how-to-use-the-post-count-to-limit-forum-access/]Knowledge Base - How to use the post count to limit forum access[/url]

How to use the Newly Registered Users Group as a post limiter for forum access.

This article explains how you can use the newly registered users group to limit access for users to one or more forums. NOTE: This will mean you can't use it as an antispam measure of requiring new users posts to be approved.

You might want to do that, for instance, if you have a buy/sell forum or a VIP area where users need to make a reasonable posting contribution to the board before those forums become visible, or if you have a 'Welcome' forum where users must post first before having access to the rest of the site.

What is the Newly Registered Users Group?

The newly registered users group was added at 3.0.6 as a means to prevent spammers or new members from posting freely on the board after registering. Its default purpose is to allow you to put the first X number of posts from new members in to a moderation queue for approval before they show up on the board and some other smaller permission restrictions. All members of the board automatically become members of the registered users group but when the newly registered users group is activated, they go in to that group as well and take on some addition overriding restrictive permissions.

However, you can use that extra layer of permissions to limit access to forums until the required post count is reached. Note that it only works on one level. You can only set one limit to gain access and not multiple levels where several sections would become available at different posting milestones.

So how do we do it?

For the purpose of this explanation let's assume you want to set it so you need 100 posts to gain access to a VIP forum.

In the Administration Control Panel > General > User Registration Settings
Set the new member post limit to 100
NOTE: This limit will only apply to people who register AFTER you set it. If you make any changes to that number, the new limit will only apply to newly joining members and the old limit will still apply to those who registered on the previous limit. To resynchronise the members of the newly registered users group you can use the resync option in the Support Toolkit.

So, now you have a limit set, whenever someone new signs up to the board they will go in to BOTH the registered and newly registered users groups for the duration of 100 posts.

Permissions

Now we need to set some permissions so that group does what we want it to do.

Obviously you wouldn't want to have to approve 100 posts from each user so we need to turn off post approval for that group.

Permissions
Groups forum permissions
Choose the newly registered users group
Choose all of the forums you want them to freely post in to get to the required limit.
Choose the newly registered user role from the drop list
Then in the advanced permissions go to the misc tab
Can post without approval - YES


Then we need to stop the newly registered users group from seeing the forum we want to restrict access to, our VIP forum.

Permissions
Groups forum permissions
Choose the newly registered users group
Choose all of the forums you want to stop them accessing before they get to the required limit (in this case, the VIP forum)
Choose the newly registered user role from the drop list
Then in the advanced permissions go to the post tab
Can see forum - NEVER
Can read forum - NEVER
Can start new topics - NEVER
Can reply to topics - NEVER

You might think that just denying the ability to see the forum will be enough but that does not stop them accessing and posting in it if they follow a link posted elsewhere.

Now, your users won't know that VIP area exists. They can post freely on the rest of the board and when they get their 100th post, they will automatically drop out of the newly registered users group and the VIP forum will appear on the index for them to post in.

Alternatively you could set the 'can see forum' permission to yes but leave the other options on never so they can see what they'll get to with the required posts but not actually access it.

One other feature of that group is to stop members sending PMs as a means of controlling PM spam. So to turn off that feature

Permissions
Groups' permissions
Newly registered users
Make sure the role drop list is set to newly registered user
Select advanced permissions
In the private messages tab, at the bottom of the list, change
Can send private messages to YES