Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

1. What is a Private Message (PM)?

A default setting in your TechRepublic profile prevents other users from sending you private messages. To allow other users to send you private messages, in "My Workspace," click on "Edit Profile" and update your "Contacts permissions". Now other users can send you private messages.

A Private message is sent as an email from the registered email address of the sender to the email address of the recipient. Note that although the user ID of the sender is visible in the message, there is no straightforward way to open the sender's profile on TechRepublic, unless the sender includes a link in the message. And, for the same reason, if a message refers to a discussion thread, then a link to the referred discussion can be very helpful.

If you sent a PM to someone, then the other person may opt to reply in the discussion thread for (at least) two reasons:

  1. If the conversation may be useful to other participants in the communication and the contents don't need to be regarded as confidential.
  2. In order to not reveal their email address without need.

Finally, note that several members on TechRepublic specifically ignore PMs from other members if the sender has PM blocked in his or her own profile.

2. How do I set my profile picture? What is Gravatar?

We use the service Gravatar to display profile images. The process for setting up your avatar is very straightforward. Go to and create an account with the same email address that you use at TechRepublic. Associate an avatar with your email address. That's all there is to it. Your Gravatar will automatically show up on TechRepublic within about 10 minutes.

3. How do I update my TechRepublic profile?

When you're logged in to the site, on the top right-hand side of any page, click My Account and then My Profile. There are Quick Links a little bit down on the right-hand side for updating your personal information and changing your password.

4. What's the difference between a Discussion and a Question?

This might seem like a no-brainer, but quite a few folks post Questions in the Discussion forum and vice versa. Discussions are reserved for sharing thoughts and opinions. Questions are reserved for help solving technical problems. Before submitting a post on TechRepublic, take a moment to figure out which type you should choose.

5. What if someone asks for my personal information?

Never give out personal information in a post - this includes your email address. Your TechRepublic peers should respond directly into the discussion thread or question forum.

6. Besides a simple Smiley, what emoticons can I use on TechRepublic's forums?

Emotion ASCII Image
Happy :) or :-)
Sad :( or :-(
Grin :D
Grin :D
Love :x
Mischief ;
Cool B-)
Devil ]:)
Silly :p
Angry X-(
Laugh :^O
Wink ;) or ;-)
Blush :8}
Cry :_|
Confused ?:|
Shocked :O
Plain :|
Santa <:-)>
Angel 0:-)
Sick/Ill/Barf :-&
Pirate :ar!
Thumbs down :-q
Thumbs Up :-bd
Party <:o)
Heart <3
Flower @->-
Check v/

TR Mug

Music Note ~/*

Paw Print





Light Bulb C=

7. If I say something other members don't like, can I get booted off the site?

Everyone is able to Alert individual posts and identify whether they're spam, offensive, off-topic, or other.

Use of foul language repeatedly, obvious racism, and spamming the boards can get you blocked from the site. But in general, if you're reasonable, respectful of your peers, and generally act in a professional manner, you'll never have to worry about it.

8. How do I mark spam and other offensive posts?

Click the Alert link in the comment box, and then select the radio button Cause of Report to let us know if it's spam, offensive, off-topic, or other. You can also offere a Brief Explanation, but that's not manditory. Oh, and don't forget to click the Submit button.

9. How do I create a Contact?

A contact is a TechRepublic member whose posts you'd like to track. To create a contact, click on the member's username to get to their profile. Click the "Follow" link below their avatar and membership information.

To see a list of all your Contacts, click My Account at the top right of any page and then select Contacts. You can sort your Contacts list by username or the date they were added.

10. How do I delete a Contact?

To delete a Contact, simply select the "Unfollow" link that you'll see next to their avatar and membership information.

11. How can I enhance my posts with formatted text?

While our forums do allow a few HTML tags, you'll always have success using these custom tags for basic text features like bold, italic, underline, and verbatim text:

Bold use [b] Bold [/b]

Italic use [i] Italic [/i]

Underline use [u] Underline [/u]

Verbatim use [pre] Verbatim [/pre]

The verbatim text custom tags are equivalent to the "pre" tag in HTML. This tag is intended for programming code and other texts that are best displayed "as is" without being modified to conform to page style. For example, this XML code snippet can now be included in a discussion post without losing the indents and other formatting:

<?xml version='1.0'?>

<object colour="red" type="polygon">

   <height units="cm">23</height>

   <width units="cm">5</width>


12. Top 10 reasons to visit TechRepublic

These were taken from a New User Guide by Tim Malone:

  1. The stories - Nowhere else can you get the in-depth and behind the scenes stories on how technology is being used in the real world. These stories are written by tech pros. Most are writing about their first-hand experiences in rolling out new equipment. They share the successes and the failures of using the technology.
  2. The forums - I almost rated this first on the list. One of the greatest hidden secrets of TechRepublic is the immediate access you can have to thousands of other tech professionals. Ask a question in the Tech Q&A or start a discussion in the Discussions area. Click on Hottest to see where the action is and join right it. The topics and comments go all over.
  3. Blogs - The top three are on the top for a reason. They are each excellent. I know how hard it can be to come up with interesting stuff every day. Jason and Toni and Bill do a great job of it. I recommend that the new visitor to TechRepublic read their blogs.
  4. Newsletters - If you didn't sign up to receive the email newsletters when you joined TechRepublic, you should. There is something for everyone - CIO and IT Management, Network Security, Servers, Software and Web Development, Desktops and Software, IT Career, Database and Storage, Network Administration, and more.
  5. Videos - Bill’s TR Dojo presentations are easy-to-follow techniques for doing tech better.
  6. Image Galleries - If you scroll down the Image Galleries page, you will see that there are hundreds of pages of galleries. Wow! What a selection of content.
  7. Webcasts - You get the notices in your emails every day if you subscribe to the newsletters. It can be difficult to fit them into your busy day when doing tech support or are up against a project deadline. But did you know that you can view these webcasts on demand? Browse through the content for a wealth of help.
  8. White Papers - Doing research for a new tech project and need a better understanding of the issues involved? Check out the white papers. Yes, they are mostly written by vendors - software publishers and hardware manufacturers - but they can be invaluable in getting up to speed on the technology involved.
  9. Training - You've probably received catalogs from Global Knowledge in the mail. You can also check their course offerings online in the training section.
  10. Downloads - I can’t tell you how many 10 things lists I have downloaded and saved to my personal tech library. Click on the Hottest tab and see if something interesting doesn’t jump out at you.

13. What is TechRepublic Pro?

TechRepublic Pro is a premium online resource that provides access to extensive, up-to-date, original IT content and resources. Find out more about the benefits of subscribing to TechRepublic Pro here.

14. Who can I contact for help, and where can I send suggestions?

You can always post your thoughts in the Water Cooler, which is part of the Discussions forums. However, if you have Customer Service questions, here is the link to our "Site Help & Feedback:"

The "Site Help & Feedback" link also appears under Services on the bottom of every TechRepublic page. From there, you can search for help or click the "Submit a Question" tab and fill in the blanks to contact Customer Service.

15. How can I get rid of the ads?

We can't get rid of our ads! The site is free to you. The ads pay the bills.