The requirements for newbie, regular and VIP status have changed.
Everyone starts out as 'Registered'.
To be a newbie, you must have posted in the last 7 days. Newbies get access to more stuff than people who don't post. If you don't post, you slip back to 'lurker' status, and lose the ability to read most of the site.
To be a regular, you must have positive (1 or higher) reputation, have posted in the last 7 days, and have 20 posts or more overall. Regulars get access to a lot more stuff, including their own hidden forum, the site galleries, a lot more profiles, a special green name, and other features.
To be a VIP, you must have at least 10 reputation, have posted in the last 7 days, and meet one other (secret) requirement based on how much good stuff you have contributed to the site. This secret requirement is fairly hard to meet, and will result in there being less VIPs than there were before this change. VIPs get special features including a bold green name, the ability to have a custom title, and access to hidden VIP forums/galleries.
Note that it is possible to lose status over time. For example, if you register and then make one post, you will have newbie status for 7 days, at which point you will slip back into lurker status. So, if you want to maintain your status, you have to remain active on the site.
The intentions behind this change are:
- To provide people a slight incentive to be active, without making it impossible for people who are away for awhile to get their status back.
- To restructure the requirements for VIP to make them tougher and more geared to the quality of peoples' contributions than just their rep score.