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miniBB :: Abbreviated User Guide

  1. Introduction
    1. Features
  2. Moderators
  3. Forums-wide user options
    1. Users hierarchy
    2. User's registration
    3. User's login
    4. New topics and replies
    5. Locking topics
    6. Editing messages
    7. Editing preferences
    8. Changing user password
    9. Forgotten password
    10. Forums search panel
    11. Statistics
  4. GNU Free Documentation License


This guide explains features that are not covered by their own explanatory text.


miniBB offers users and administrators most popular features:

  • Easy and customizable search function
  • HTML is disabled, but there are basic BB codes (HTML replacements), which allow you to make your posts really good-looking. There is also an ability to turn on/off BBCode in posts.
  • Both anonymous (guest) and registered users may post messages in any forum. Registered users can also edit their messages.
  • Registered users can be notified via email when their post or topic is replied to, even if they are not authors of the topic. They can also unsubscribe.
  • Special rankings and titles for registered users
  • Moderators feature
  • Advanced statistics for users and forums
  • Powerful encrypted cookie logging and update system for every user
  • Private, archive (read-only) and registered-users-only forums
  • "Sticky" topics
  • Expiration of editing messages
  • One-step and email registrations
  • Basic spam protection
  • All forums can be protected by one password

Why do you need miniBB?
The answer — it is SMALL, SIMPLE, FAST and POWERFUL as ever.


Concepts and possibilities

In miniBB concepts, moderators are people who can:

  1. Lock, unlock, delete and move any topic — the same way as admin.
  2. Edit any message (with topic's title) — the same way as admin.
  3. Post a new topic in post-only forum.
  4. View poster IP (and view all users that have posted under this IP).

Moderators have no admin privileges and have no access to the administration panel.

Forums-wide user options

Users hierarchy

There is "liberal" user hierarchy in miniBB. Topics can be made both by anonymous users and registered users. Let's see what happens.

  • Anonymous users. If you do not register, you can make anonymous posts...even under your nick/call. Simply type your username in "Login" field without password, and make a post under this name. If you leave both fields blank, your name automatically will be "guest." However, if you enter the nick corresponding to any registered user you won't be able to post. This feature is only available if forum's administrator has not disabled it in options.
  • Registered users. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND all users to register...even occasional users. Why? First, no one else will take your "unique" username/nick, and anonymous users will not be able to post messages under your nick. Second, if you post some messages under your nick, and register it later, it is NOT POSSIBLE to edit these "anonymous messages." And finally, any registered user can take your "anonymous" or non-registered nick simply by completing the registration form (though in the case of a callsign 'nick' the fraud would likely soon be discovered).

User info is displayed on a separate page. On the threads page, you'll find only user's nick and, if this user is registered, a "member" beneath. Clicking on it, you'll get all possible info about user, which either is specified/allowed or not (see below). NOTE: by clicking on user's nickname, you "quote" his nickname in the reply form!

User's login

All user logins are made via cookies, that need to be enabled in your browser. User login form is located on every topics or threads page, as well as on the first page. You need to type your login and password correctly. Cookie passwords are saved in encrypted format. Anonymous users also receive a session cookie that goes from one page to another.

User's registration

For registering, just click on "Registration" menu and fill in the form.

Necessary fields are:

  • Login: Your username (must be unique) - if a user with the identical login already exists, you won't be able to register. Callsigns are unique, so use it! Login must contain only the letters A-Z (upper or lower case), digits, underscore ("_") and hyphen ("-"). You can use a name with length from 3 to 20 characters. Your user name is the one item you CANNOT edit later. If you make a typo, please email us and we will fix it in the database. Please do not "abandon" the bad user ID.
  • Password: Your password for can contain only the letters A-Z (upper or lower case), digits and "_" sign (no spaces!). You can use password with length from 5 to 32 characters. Why exactly 32? We don't know ;) Seriously, there is little point in using more than 10 characters.
  • Password (again): This must be the same character combination, as the "PASSWORD." This is just for checking - have you entered password correctly, or not. Pay attention: all passwords are encrypted. There is no possibility to view user password, even by admin! Despite this, if you forget your password, you can receive new a new one via email. However, it will be different from your original one (randomly generated). It is recommended that you change this random password upon first login.
  • eMail: Your email. Must also be unique (no 2 users with the same email are possible). Email is checked by "regular expression" programming technique for preventing blatently wrong emails. If you are unable to register a valid email, please report it to admin, and it will be fixed.

Depending on what options current forum has, you may be registered just after completing the form, and can login to forums straight away. If administrator has disabled open registration, you'll need to check for the password in your email first. When open registrations are forbidden, your password will be auto-generated by the system. That is why you need to enter a valid email address. Your email address will never be shared, sold, or used for nefarious purpose. Please refer to our Privacy FAQ if you have concerns about this.

New topics and replies

New-topic form is placed at the bottom of each topics listing page. You need to type topic's title (New topic) and body (Message). At minimum, "New topic" field must be filled in. If you write in it but omit "Message," message body will be automatically equal to topic's title.

New-post form is located at the bottom of each threads page.

Note: Before making a post, make sure you have corresponding ENCODING for this. For example, if you make a posting with non-English characters, be sure your browser encoding is set to recognize it. To do so:

  • In Internet Explorer, click the right mouse button on the screen, choose "Encoding," and then set it;
  • In Netscape Navigator/Opera, choose menu's "View" -> "Character Set (Encoding)" and then set it. Since this forum has been configured to transmit data in Unicode format, usually no other steps are needed (except for certain double-byte languages... in which case, you are SOL).

Note 2: Text breaks (newlines +carriage returns) are automatically converted to "physical" breaks.

Note 3: Don't use a lot of apostrophes, quotes and specific tags in your messages. Actually, they are converted to "real" HTML-tags like "'" (apostrophe), "&" (& sign) etc. As you see, HTML special char takes at least 4 times more space than usual character. So, if topic's title limitation is set, let's say, to 70 characters by administrator, your sentence can contain maximum 17 special characters. Practical example: your topic is "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog's ears & nose" (49 characters). Actual title is converted to: "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog's ears & nose" (58 characters). If the limitation would be 50 characters, the sentence would be truncated to "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog's ears" (minus "nose" minus 5 special-characters).

Email notifications

Email notifications can be enabled or disabled by forums admin. If enabled, every user who makes a post, can subscribe to them. Notifications are sent to user's email when someone replies to the topic after this user. Users can subscribe to notifications even if they are not topic authors. Users can also unsubscribe from notifications. For that, go to the desired topic and find "Unsubscribe" link instead of notifications checkbox, and just click on it.

Automatic links highlighting

If you are using links like http://thewholeinternet.com (beginning with "http://" | "https://" | "ftp://" | "www" | "mailto:"), they are automatically converted to "real" links. But, when checking "Disable" box, links ARE NOT automatically highlighted, both as BB-codes (see below).

BB Codes

In miniBB, there is no possibility to include HTML in topics or posts. They can contain only "BB-codes" - special HTML-code replacements, that emulate HTML code. Since HTML is not supported, these codes offer an alternative to use when posting a new message or topic. The following codes are currenyly supported:

  • [b]Bold[/b] where "Bold" is the text you want to markup in a "bold" style.
    Example: [b]Attention[/b] produces Attention.
  • [i]Italic[/i] where "Italic" is the text you want to markup in an "italic" style.
    Example: [i]I apologize[/i] produces I apologize.
  • [u]Underline[/u] where "Underline" is the text you want to markup in an "underlined" style. Example: [u]Don't write me an email[/u] produces Don't write me an email.
  • [pre]PREformatted text[/pre] where "Preformatted text" is tabular data, used when alignment of columns and/or rows is critical (such as line scores, or currency). There are two reasons why preformatting is needed in such cases. The first is simply a limitation of HTML, whereby it is not possible to render consecutive "whitespace" characters (e.g., spaces, tabs). The second has to do with the default fonts used by most modern computers. Known as "proportionally spaced" fonts, the width that a character occupies is proportional to it's size (e.g., a lower case "i" requires less width than an upper case "W"). Now that you understand what preformatted text is, here's how to use it:
     1. Move your cursor insertion point to the spot in the text-entry box where you want to add preformatted text, and click the "P" button. You will see [pre][/pre]appear.
     2. Note that the opening [pre] tag automatically inserts a blank line (unless you are on line 1), so it is not necessary for you to do so. If you are doing a cut/paste of the box score from your contest software, move your cursor insertion point to the spot between the tags, then "paste" (Ctrl-V on a Windows machine) your data.
     3. Although the text may look misaligned because of the tags on the first and last lines of inserted data, they will display properly! If in doubt, check your work before posting by clicking the "Preview" button. NOTE: As mentioned in step-2, the opening tag creates a blank line. So for example, if your 1st line is SS CW Results: and THEN you add text within [pre][/pre], an extra (blank) line will be automatically inserted and visible. To avoid this, just type your first line inside the tags, hit Enter, then paste your score data. Simple — it takes longer to describe than it does to do it!
     4. Always remember that the "Preview" button is your friend. Use it often. NOTE: Many "popup blockers" will prevent Preview from working, so look out for that.
  • [url=SomeURL]SOMETEXT[/url] where SomeURL is URL like http://thewholeinternet.net, SOMETEXT is alternate text to URL. DON'T USE QUOTATION MARKS OR APOSTROPHES INSIDE THIS TAG. In a post, these tags are replaced like following: <a href='SomeURL'>SOMETEXT</a>.
  • [email=SomeEMail]SOMETEXT[/email] where SomeEMail is email you want to highlight. Practically, this tag is the same as URL, only with "mailto:". DON'T USE QUOTATION MARKS OR APOSTROPHES INSIDE THIS TAG. In a post, these tags are replaced like following: <a href='mailto:SomeEMail' target='_new'>SOMETEXT</a>.

Note that the case of BB codes doesn't matter. You can type "[URL]" or "[uRL]" or whatever. Only opening and closing tags ([urL]...[/uRL]) are important. Also, tags CAN NOT CONTAIN SPACES!

Both anonymous and registered users can use BB-codes. You can also disable BB-code on a per-post basis by checking the "Disable" flag. Usually this is not necessary, because BB-codes allow posts be more organized and and make for a better looking message.

It is possible to combine tags with each other, like "bold + italic" or "bold link." But be careful again with nesting opening and closing tags (Rule: first_opened/last_closed). For example:

'This General Public License [b]does not permit[/b] incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.

Return to [url=http://www.fsf.org/home.html]GNU's home page[/url].

FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to [email=gnu@gnu.org]gnu@gnu.org[/email]. Other ways to [b][url=http://www.fsf.org/home.html#ContactInfo]contact the FSF[/url][/b].

Comments on these web pages to [email=webmasters@www.gnu.org]webmasters@gnu.org[/email], send other questions to [email=gnu@gnu.org]GNU[/email].

[b][u]Copyright notice above[/u][/b].

[i]Free Software Foundation, Inc[/i]., [i][u]59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA[/u][/i]'


'This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.

Return to GNUs home page.

FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to gnu@gnu.org. Other ways to contact the FSF.

Comments on these web pages to webmasters@gnu.org, send other questions to GNU.

Copyright notice above.

Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA'

If you need to post 100% "tagged" URL, it is better to do it with tags, since automatic replacements can't work in some cases. F.e., the following example will not work: [b]http://www.minibb.net[/b]. It is only "bolded", but not "highlighted." For bolding url links, use [url] tag.

Note: you can use tags also for multi-line text. Example:



(text contains two paragraphs) produces:



Users may also use any HTML decimal codes in their messages. This is done mostly for international forums, when user's encoding is set to different language from which he/she posted. You can use any code beginning from "&#" and ending with ";". For example, this:

[b]Use bold[/b]: &#91;b]Use bold&#91;/b]

will produce: Use bold [b]Use bold[/b]

Note that decimal codes are not replaced back, when you edit your message. They display as-is.
A complete listing of international character codes is available at: http://www.bbsinc.com/iso8859.html

Quoting messages

Topic posters can quote other messages. For your convenience, there is a "quote" link at the top of every posting. To make a quote, select some text and press this link. The selected text will be automatically inserted into the reply box at the bottom of the page.

This feature is based on JavaScript code, so of course, that functionality must be enabled in your browser. This is the default configuration in most browsers.

Locking topics

Topic authors can lock their topics if they so desire. In order to do it, topic author needs to be logged in. At the bottom of the topic's page he must see small "lock topic" link. Clicking on it, topic becomes closed.

Nobody except topic author or administrator can lock the topic. If topic was locked by admin, topic author can unlock it ONLY if it is defined in forum options (in most cases it's not).

Editing messages

Registered users (and only registered) can edit THEIR messages, but only if they are cookie-logged and only if the time of the message is not expired. For this, just click on "Edit" near each post (if it is your message, you'll see the link, else not). When editing message, "automatic highlights" are replaced with "real" BB-codes, so there is no need to delete them once again. Also, "real" HTML tags are replaced back to codes. Via editing, user can add new BB-codes, links etc. - like in any new post or topic. User can edit only his POST, not topic's title, even if he is the author of the topic. After message is edited by user, info about that is displayed near each post.

There is no way to delete your message and edit topic's title, if you are topic's author. Only admin can do this.

After administrator has edited user's message, for user, it is no way to edit it once again.

Editing preferences

For editing user preferences, you need to log in and go to the "preferences" appearing in menu. You can type new data for your account, except login, that can not be changed. If you don't want to change your password leave the password field and go next to the fields you want to edit, you don't need to write your password once more, 'cause are already logged. Then done just press submission button below.

This action works exactly like registration: you need to type grammatically correct data. Thus, you can not change your email to the one of someone who already registered (incl. admin's email ;) ). Updating preferences, you don't need to enter password, if you don't want to change it. Just leave these fields blank.

Two exceptions:

  • Show email public?: that option allows (or not) other users to view your email in user info. It does not affect emailing notifications etc.
  • Sort topics by: that option switches sorting filter. On topics and last discussions pages, you can view topic names sorted by new topics or new posts. This is one of the points of why to register: logging into the forums, you can quickly view, what's new. This option is saved on all pages, since anonymous users will need to click on "sort" every time.

Changing user password

Login, go to the preferences, type new password 2 times in "password" fields. Your password will be updated to the new one.

Note: after changing password your old password will not be valid, and you will need to re-login on the login page. If you will edit more settings, you'll get the message "not allowed" or something similar.

Changing forgotten password

Passwords are encrypted with MD5 algorithm. There is no way of extracting your original password...even by admin. If you have forgotten your password, we we can only change it, by generating new random password.

Follow these steps to receive new password:

  • Click on "password" links near login form
  • Enter an email you've mentioned in the registration form
  • If your email is correct (we hope, yes :) you will receive further instructions via email
  • Follow link described in email and confirm your password
  • Only(!) after confirmation, will your password be changed. You will be able to change it to something "readable" in "preferences."

Forums search panel

You can quickly search forums for keywords. Search panel is placed under the "Search" link in menu. You can search text in topics and posts, in topics only, in poster names, by all words, any words or the whole phrase. Search results are sorted by post time in descending order (new posts are shown first).

Also remember that search phrase length can`t be more than 100 symbols. Also minimum length of any word is 3 in "Any words" type of search and at least one word must be more than 2 symbols in any other type of search. This was made to protect your server in case, if somebody will try to attack it with lots of simple search queries, like, for example, searching letter "a" in all posts and topics, which will lead a large number of search results to be returned by database server, thus it can become overloaded.

Beginning with miniBB 1.3, there is also a more complex search. You can choose "match whole words" option which actually means you will search only WHOLE words (if you type "nick," the sentences containing "nick" will be found, but not such words as "nickname" or "Snickers"). Also, you can search within defined period of days, when posts were made. If you want to expand your search, it is always better to set this to big amount, f.e., of 365 (1 year) days. Note that searching for username is NOT affected by this "search-within-days" option.


In the "statistics" menu, you can get all available information about forums. In statistics, you will find:

  • Total number of registered users (except admin)
  • Total number of topics
  • Total number of posts
  • Who are moderators
  • Who is administrator
  • Who is last registered user
  • Most popular topics list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40), which is generated according to how many answers were posted in topic
  • Most viewed topics list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40)
  • Most active registered users list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40)

Beginning with miniBB 1.3, you can define period of days which will be used in calculating stats (this setting affects only most popular topics and most viewed topics, username stats are NOT affected).

GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.1, March 2000

Copyright (C) 2000  Free Software Foundation, Inc.
59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other written document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

This License is a kind of "copyleft," which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.

We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.

This License applies to any manual or other work that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License. The "Document," below, refers to any such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as "you."

A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language.

A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section of the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the publishers or authors of the Document to the Document's overall subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall directly within that overall subject. (For example, if the Document is in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not explain any mathematics.) The relationship could be a matter of historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position regarding them.

The "Invariant Sections" are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License.

The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License.

A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy, represented in a format whose specification is available to the general public, whose contents can be viewed and edited directly and straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats suitable for input to text formatters. A copy made in an otherwise Transparent file format whose markup has been designed to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers is not Transparent. A copy that is not "Transparent" is called "Opaque."

Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain ASCII without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format, SGML or XML using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming simple HTML designed for human modification. Opaque formats include PostScript, PDF, proprietary formats that can be read and edited only by proprietary word processors, SGML or XML for which the DTD and/or processing tools are not generally available, and the machine-generated HTML produced by some word processors for output purposes only.

The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material this License requires to appear in the title page. For works in formats which do not have any title page as such, "Title Page" means the text near the most prominent appearance of the work's title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text.

You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.

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If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent pages.

If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a publicly-accessible computer-network location containing a complete Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material, which the general network-using public has access to download anonymously at no charge using public-standard network protocols. If you use the latter option, you must take reasonably prudent steps, when you begin distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this Transparent copy will remain thus accessible at the stated location until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to the public.

It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Document.

You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

  • A. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
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The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.

You may combine the Document with other documents released under this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its license notice.

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In the combination, you must combine any sections entitled "History" in the various original documents, forming one section entitled "History"; likewise combine any sections entitled "Acknowledgements," and any sections entitled "Dedications." You must delete all sections entitled "Endorsements."

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