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Introducing the New Tom's Hardware Community

It is with great pleasure that we introduce the new Tom’s Hardware Community to the world! Our fast-growing community recently reached an epic milestone when it surpassed a million registered users, making ours one of the biggest, most quality communities in the world for discussion of hardware, software and technology.  To build upon this success, we've been busy developing big improvements to our forum that we’re rolling out today live.  If you haven’t registered with us yet, please note that there are definitely benefits to doing so with the new changes now in effect.  If you've been with us for some time, take a peek at the following notes for a quick review on what this new update includes.

What’s Changed

• Ads
As a registered, contributing community member, your Tom’s Community experience is now ad-free.  To turn ads off on the forums, just sign-up - it’s as easy as that.

• Navigation
Navigational elements and aesthetic has been improved to make the community easier to browse, and we've included new usability features that have been on the wish list for a long time.
• Categories
Forum subcategories have been revamped, and many of the older, obsolete categories have gone away.  You’ll also see some newer subcategories emerge over time.
• Points
Points and ranks based on points have been replaced with a Badge system founded on achievements and best answers provided.  The new reputation system rewards quality of posts, rather than quantity, and makes subject matter experts easier to identify.  But not to worry if you currently have a host of badges – your prestige will be preserved as Legacy badges that are unobtainable any other way.
• Status
You’ll now be able to set a unique status as a part of your avatar, based on the badges you've earned.  You can chose to display a badge that you've earned as your status title to customize how you present your digital self to the community.
• Badges
You’ll discover a whole bunch of new badges have been added, and many are based on legendary characters or cultural icons you might recognize.  Most badges will be obtained by receiving a number of Best Answers in a category over a period of time, while others will require more difficult tasks to receive.  You’ll still see the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels and most badges will have those three tiers, but you’ll also be able to continue on past Gold by improving the badge level.
Forum Improvements
• Tags
You can now tag threads with pertinent keywords.  The most used tags will have their own tag pages for easy browsing and searches will be far more powerful with this system.  Users can also become recognized experts of the most important tags.
• Refinement Filters
Filtering now allows for refinement of listed thread results, and you can browse by date, keyword tag or even discussion type.
• Moderation
The powers of moderators have been strengthened as well as reporting functionality open to all users.  A strong spam/junk detector has been introduced that will catch much of the ad spam our moderation team has been diligent about keeping low on Tom’s Hardware.
• User Avatars
Avatars are now larger, giving you more space to personalize your presence.  The maximum has been increased to 100x100.

What’s the Same

• All community guidelines, rules and policies remain the same.
• Flags and tracking threads works the same way as it did before.  You’ll find your tracked threads migrated over, so you won’t have any problem following threads you are watching.
• Private messaging remains the same, though you may find some new features and streamlined functionality in the new interface.  As an added feature, you can now PM multiple recipients.
• There were no major changes to your personal configuration, signature, or quote.  Most of your settings will be migrated.
Thank you so much to every one of our community members that participated in the months-long beta testing process to make sure the new platform was as smooth as it could be before launch.  We appreciate your feedback and your guidance in making critical change to our community that you've been requesting for some time.  We could not have come as far as we did on this update without your assistance and we are grateful to all who sent in bug reports, feature requests and thoughts during the open beta.
While we’re transitioning to the new platform, I’d ask for your patience in minding our dust.  No update of this magnitude is ever completely seamless, even with the help of a massive community, and with millions of registered users there’s going to be some small turbulence expected.  When it does, and if you do encounter any issues, please let us know in Forum Feedback and I’ll make sure the development team hears first thing so it can be addressed.

A Note to the Forum Veterans:

It may take some time to grow accustomed to the new user interface, and there might be some bells and whistles around that you aren't used to seeing.  After giving ample opportunity to our community to send in a big pile of feedback, which we received and that helped guide development, we’re confident that you’ll come to enjoy the new forum experience in short order.   A handful of things might not be where you remember them, and it might take you a few days to re-acclimate, but once you do you’ll find the new forum well-suited to all your tech discussion needs.

A Note to the Forum n00bs:

If you've been a lurker up till now, it’s a great time to finally register.  C’mon on in, the water’s fine!  Plus, you may have an opportunity to earn a whole pile of badges while we work out the “sweet spots”.  As a new user, you’ll find the interface much less daunting than before, and the forum browses more like other forums you may be accustomed to.
Thank you so much for being a part of the Tom’s Community, and we’re looking forward to another year of continued growth in the best tech community out there.
Joe Pishgar
Community Manager, Tom’s Hardware

P.S. - Due to the large number of users in the community, the badges and reputation system will be rolling out separately later this week, so you won't immediately see your badges ported over today as of yet.  Any new progress you make towards winning a new badge won't show up right away today, though it will count towards your total once the badges system goes live this week.

Joe Pishgar is the Community Director of Tom's Hardware US. He oversees the number one tech enthusiast forum in the world.