User Registration

The simplest solution to the editing issue.

I’ve added a link in both the header and the footer menus to allow folks to register for OTB user accounts. Registration should allow you to, if logged in, edit your comments directly in the site software rather than relying on a buggy third-party plugin.

I’d ask that you use the same username and email that you usually do for sake of continuity.

If enough of you do this, I may remove some of the plugins entirely, which would likely speed up the loading of the site and improve the performance of the remaining plugins.

UPDATE: I’ve (temporarily?) disabled the old EDIT plugin so that registered users can tell whether they’re getting the organic edit feature.

UPDATE: I have no idea what’s happening with emails not sending; it’s not a problem I’ve experienced before. Playing around with it, there’s still something off with the permissions for users in the Subscribed role. There seems to be no way to assign permissions to edit only one’s own comments, just to either edit comments or not. I’ll have to check in with my WordPress guy.

UPDATE 2: Yes, registered users can see the dashboard. That’s normal. Those with Subscriber permissions have no ability to edit or delete posts or comments. They have the ability to write, but not publish, posts.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Well, I can tell what kind of day today is. Apparently Flat Earth Luddite contains illegal characters so registration denied. Time for coffee.

  2. daryl and his brother darryl says:


  3. ptfe says:

    I mean, you have “luddite” in the name – of course The Machine doesn’t trust you

  4. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Another test

  5. Tony W says:

    Registration was easy and worked well.

    Nicely done.

  6. Bill Jempty says:

    One two three four

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Once we register, how do we log in?

    FWIW, when I tried to register just now it told me that username was already registered. Did we do this in the past at some point?

  8. CSK says:

    Speaking of edit functions…there are allegedly 6 comments here, but I only see three, including mine.

  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    While I’ve not tried to use it, it looks like registering gives access to make posts and access the moderation, which is probably not the desired effect (WordPress may stop me further on if I try, but again I haven’t tried)

  10. Kylopod says:


  11. Jon says:
  12. Joe says:

    I tried to register. It said it would email my registration to me. Still waiting for that 5 minutes later. Tried to register again and it told me my user name was already occupied, so I am sort of registered. I just can’t log in. 🙁

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: up to 12, now! Only four are showing

  14. Mu Yixiao says:


  15. Mister Bluster says:

    I see 13/5.

    ETA: Now I see the EDIT key after a page reload.
    Can’t see registration link on my phone. Hope to see it on my MacBook Air when I can connect to the ‘net via Wi-Fi at Panera.

  16. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: @Mister Bluster:

    I get 15/6.

  17. charon says:

    I keep getting “incorrect password” messages. Attempts to reset password repeatedly fail.

  18. ptfe says:

    My first one is caught in moderation. Let’s see if this one goes there too…

  19. Kylopod says:

    I registered, then I went to submit a post to this thread. Even though the top of the page said I was logged in, I still had to put in all my info before submitting a comment. It went to moderation. I assume that’s what’s happening to a lot of people, and why there’s a much higher number of comments listed than what’s visible. And I’m expecting this comment to go to moderation again anyway, even though I’m typing it from my phone, where I haven’t logged in. We’ll see.

  20. Jay L. Gischer says:

    … seems ok.

  21. Mister Bluster says:


  22. Mister Bluster says:

    Ben Bradlee

    ETA: So the ghost of a dead editor has conjured up the EDIT key…yikes!

  23. Andy says:

    You need to change the user permissions- I can currently see comments in moderation and have the ability to make new posts.

  24. charontwo says:

    Do I have a new name? Maybe.

  25. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: I created an account for you in order to post your submission under your byline. You should have gotten an email but you can just put in your username or email and get a reset email.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    21/22 (?)

    ETA: 27/26

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    test 2

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    Interesting, despite being logged in, I needed to refresh the browser in order to get the edit function and more importantly the HTML function buttons.

  30. tester123 says:

    This seems to work just fine.

    Yup. I get an edit button.

  31. tester123 says:

    Another test with the plugin turned off.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: Thanks. Tried the “forgot my password” route but didn’t get the requisite email. Any chance you remember the password you set and, if so, can you send it to my email? Thanks

  33. Andy says:

    Ok, good, it looks like you fixed the permissions.

  34. tester123 says:

    @MarkedMan: Weird. I didn’t set a password for you. I just created a “user” and then posted using my normal account and changed the author. I can create one and email it.

  35. restless says:

    The registration page accepted my info, but I never got an email. After a bit, I tried the reset password link, but still no email. What should I try next?

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @ptfe: Good one!

  37. inhumans99 says:

    Okay, I found the register option at the bottom of the site page and clicked on the email that was sent to me to create a PW. Once I set the PW I clicked on the visit site link and here I am.

    I think I am all good.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I couldn’t see the registration link from my phone earlier today, but I do see it in the heading. Tje comment thread make it look too high tech for me and my simple needs. (And Luddite only thinks he’s one. 😀 😛 ) Still, appreciate the offer and will consider it further.

  39. Joe says:

    @Joe: I solved my problem by telling the machine I had forgotten the password (that it never let me set). I’m in now.

  40. Beth says:

    I think I registered ok, but it looks to me that I have permissions I shouldn’t have. Just FYI.

  41. Andy says:


    If you haven’t already, check the spam folder in your email.

  42. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Hey, what’s wrong with tatting lace the old fashioned way? Are you implying that your fancy machine made lace is better than mine? Humph!

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Got the wrong Cracker on that issue. Never could tat lace. Tremor got in the way. 🙁 Good thing I could always afford store bought.

  44. Raoul says:

    123 test.

  45. charontwo says:

    So – I have now a new name and gravatar.

  46. charontwo says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Thanks for the tip, did the refresh, got edit key

  47. restless says:


    Good idea, but nopes, nada, nil in spam either 🙁

    I sent my account email from one of my gmail accounts, and that showed up, so I know the account is active

  48. Andy says:


    I sent you and Steven an email. I think there are still problems with the permissions that present a security risk. I assume the emails on the contact page are correct, but you still have Doug’s email there, so it appears it hasn’t been updated.

  49. tester123 says:

    @Andy: Thanks, Andy. This is James, logged in with a test Subscriber account I created this morning. I’m able to see the backend, including comments, but not do anything with them. You should have the same permissions.

    (Unfortunately, this account also doesn’t seem to have the ability to edit its own comments, which was the goal. I’ll ping my WordPress guy.)

  50. gVOR08 says:

    It was good of you, James, to address the EDIT issue. No good deed ever goes unpunished.

  51. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I’m staying with the traditional access to OTB until the “other” login is is perfected.

    I think I’m registered and tried to login.
    But after login, the page doesn’t look anything like the page I’ve seen for years (when accessed by http://www.outsidethebeltway)

  52. Stormy Dragon says:


    Is that email for Steven accurate? It doesn’t match the one he uses elsewhere, but I was hesitant to ping his work email without invitation to do so

  53. CSK says:


  54. Gustopher says:

    Despite being logged in, I still have to type my name and email to post a comment? Is that expected?

    Also, I cannot moderate comments (I tried to approve a few pending innocuous ones, because of course I did), so that’s probably good.

    It does let me save a draft of a post. I had to fight my desperate urge to publish it to see if it would let me and had to remind myself that our gracious host is playing with WordPress settings because he is so frustrated that someone keeps posting “test” and I shouldn’t be doing things that will frustrate him further…

  55. Mu Yixiao says:


    You’ll need to modify the “subscriber” role in order to all “edit own comments”. Unless WP has changed (I just checked one of my installs), this isn’t a standard option in the settings. I’ve used User Role Editor to create new roles and change permissions.

    So… you could have “subscriber” and “trusted subscriber”, with the difference being the ability to edit (and delete if you so choose). You would have to manually change someone from the former to the latter, still giving you control over who gets that promotion.

  56. Gustopher says:

    Now I can see my comment in moderation!

  57. Gustopher says:

    When logged in, my comments seem to go into moderation. Logged out, trying again.

    ETA: This also went into moderation.

    ETA2: The old “Click to edit” is behaving for me though. Unless it’s a new “Click to edit”?

    ETA3: My many years of software engineering lead me to worry that James is bringing a world of pain on himself by poking a fragile, but functioning system. Full credit for intentions, but… oh, man, you are just tempting fate.

  58. Mu Yixiao says:

    * in order to allow

  59. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I don’t know – I did receive a response from James via email.

  60. tester123 says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I installed the User Role Editor plugin this morning but can’t find that setting.

  61. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’ll be back to my regular computer in about 45 minutes. If you don’t figure it out by then, I’ll go into my install, find the setting, and relay it to you.

  62. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I hadn’t updated that page in years but Steven must have seen your comment, because it’s showing his personal Gmail, not his school account. I cleaned up the defunct (if redundant) links, including one to contact Doug.

  63. SKI says:


  64. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..because he is so frustrated that someone keeps posting “test” and I shouldn’t be doing things that will frustrate him further

    Point of Information: I have not used that word since Dr. Joyner and others scolded me on the matter recently. I did use the word exam today on the Forum thread and was able to call up the EDIT key even though I have not registered with the new system.
    Can’t count how many times I have seen “t*st” used by other contributors while posting in this User Registration thread today.
    Hope no one is shitting bricks.

  65. Mu Yixiao says:


    Go to “users”
    Click on the “User Role Editor” option

    To create a new role (e.g., Trusted Subscriber”), click “Add Role” on the right.
    Or, just edit current role.

    The option to add (check the box) is “edit_posts”, and “edit_published_posts”. This allows the role to edit their own posts (but not others–that’s “edit_others_posts”). A comment is considered a post.

    Do a quick check to see if that does what you want (and doesn’t do what you don’t want).

  66. JohnSF says:

    Just caught up with this.
    I think I’ll give the Prof’s a couple of days to scratch heads and curse bugs.
    At work we’re currently trying to contain the possible fall out of recalcitrant editability of user permissions re. order placing and purchase approval.
    Everyone hoping we can torture it into compliance before the audit office pokes their snoots in, LOL.
    Fortunately I’m not at the epicentre of that little fuss.

  67. wr says:


  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thanx for trying, James.

  69. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    Sorry for not being clear:

    The gmail e-mail was always there. I just didn’t know if the e-mail was actually still in use, as I got no response last time I e-mailed it, and he doesn’t appear to use that e-mail anywhere else but on that page, but I was worried to try something other than that one.

  70. tester123 says:

    Trying with the new permission checked

  71. tester123 says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Hmm. I hadn’t previously checked “edit_published_posts” and have done so for the Subscriber level. I don’t get the edit button that I’ve always gotten as a logged-in user (Granted, one with Administrator privileges) and can’t even edit the comment in the backend.

    I’m doing this in Firefox, since I’m not logged in as an admin there.

  72. tester123 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That’s the email I use for him and usually get a response.

  73. tester123 says:

    Trying something else

  74. Mister Bluster says: risk
    Is this something that contributors to OTB should be concerned about?

  75. Neil Hudelson says:

    Alright, testing it out.

  76. Andy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    At least with me, I could do things I should not be able to do, like create new posts and bulk moderate comments.

  77. Mister Bluster says: risk…

    Thank you for your reply.