CR4 Frequenty Askes Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is CR4?
  2. What are the rules and responsibilities of a CR4 member?
  3. What is the relationship between CR4 and GlobalSpec?
  4. How do I register?
  5. I am registered at GlobalSpec. Am I also registered on CR4?
  6. I've forgotten my username / password.
  7. How do I contact the CR4 moderation team?
  8. Do you use cookies?
  9. How do I login?
  10. How do I update my profile?
  11. How do I post to a forum?
  12. Can I post copyrighted material?
  13. Are there limits to the usernames that I can select?
  14. Are there specific rules for posting?
  15. Where does my post belong?
  16. What if I post to the wrong forum?
  17. What is the difference between a forum and a blog?
  18. How do I reply to a forum post, blog entry, or comment from another user?
  19. How do I rate a post?
  20. How do I rate a comment?
  21. How do I post to a blog?
  22. I want my own blog!
  23. What are User Groups?
  24. What are pathfinder tags?
  25. What are user tags?
  26. What do member titles mean?
  27. How do I subscribe to a discussion?
  28. How do I report a post?
  29. How do I email a friend / send an internal message?
  30. How do I subscribe / unsubscribe from the Daily Digest?

1) What is CR4?

Conference Room 4® (CR4) is a forum for engineers, scientists, technical researchers, technical buyers, students and folks who just like technology to discuss engineering news, seek technical help and get answers to burning questions. CR4 is a community website supported by GlobalSpec. CR4 is a for-profit website that generates revenue via advertisements and sponsorships.

2) What are the rules and responsibilities of a CR4 member?

Click here to view the CR4 Site Use Policy.

3) What is the relationship between CR4 and GlobalSpec?

CR4 is an engineering community website sponsored by GlobalSpec. Most members of the moderation team are GlobalSpec employees; however, CR4 in no way represents or speaks for GlobalSpec. The words of all moderators and every CR4 user are his or her own.

4) How do I register?

Registering at CR4 is easy and free. Simply click the "Register" link and follow the steps. (The "Register" link is near the top of this page, on the right-hand side below the search box. Or just click here to register.)

5) I am registered at GlobalSpec. Am I also registered on CR4?

  • Registering with GlobalSpec does not register to CR4.
    • When you register at GlobalSpec, you are not automatically registered at CR4.
  • However, when you become a registered member of CR4, you will be registered at GlobalSpec.
    • That is, unless there is already an existing GlobalSpec registration for your email address.
  • GlobalSpec and CR4 use independent registrations and passwords
    • Changing your email or password on one site will not affect the other.
    • Logging in (vs. registering) to one site does not log you in to the other.
  • You can use your CR4 account to post on the CR4 community and on articles on GlobalSpec and Electronics360.
To be sure to become a member of both sites, you should register with both sites.

6) I've forgotten my username / password.

Click here and follow the steps.

7) How do I contact the CR4 moderation team?

Email us at

8) Do you use cookies?

Yes. Cookies are used to track your username / password and to identify the posts you've read during your current session. If your browser does not accept cookies, some CR4 functions won't work properly.

A lot of people worry about cookies (and not without reason), but the simple fact is that cookies are how we know it's you from one click to the next.

If you don't want to use cookies, you don't have to. As a registered CR4 user, you can post anonymously; however, you will not be able to use all of the site's advanced features (story tracking, story rating, user preferences, etc).

9) How do I login?

When you register with CR4, you create an account with a user name. After registering, you can login to take advantage of CR4's personalization features, and to have your username displayed on comments and posts. To login, look in the upper right-hand corner of the CR4 home page for the Login link. This link will take you to a page where you can enter your username and password. Remember that your password is case-sensitive. This means, for example, that 'S' and 's' are different.

10) How do I update my profile?

Click the "Edit Profile" button within your own user profile, or choose the "Edit Profile" link at the bottom of the CR4 right-hand navigation, in the block labeled "Logged In". From within the Edit Profile action area, you may:

  • Add, change or remove an avatar or personal image.
  • Publish a link to your place of work or personal website.
  • List your geographic location.
  • Add a signature (personal quote).
  • Enter a biography.
  • Change your password or email address.
  • Change your mailing preferences for the Daily Digest.
  • Set your time zone.
  • Select the way you want comments to appear within threads.
  • Subscribe to discussions.
  • Limit discussion and private mail alerts.

11) How do I post to a forum?

At the top of the CR4 right-hand navigation, in the block labeled "Got Something to Say?", click either "Ask a Question" (to ask / post a question) or "Start a Discussion" (to report / post news, tell a story, etc.). Enter a title and your message (including related links, if applicable), then select the appropriate forum for your entry. Click "Preview Thread" to see how your submission will look. If everything looks good, submit your entry; you can also edit your post within fifteen minutes of publishing it, if you find errors. Once the post is submitted, it will appear on CR4 in the forum that you selected.

12) Can I post copyrighted material?

If you own the copyright, then the answer is "yes".

If you do not own the copyright, then limited presentation of material is permissible via the "Fair Use" Doctrine. A reasonable rule-of-thumb is that copying three paragraphs from a normal-length news article or editorial (approximately 300 words) is acceptable as long as attribution is provided; however, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you're unsure about what to do, then don't post the material. If you do not know the copyright status of a given block of text, assume it is owned by someone else.

Copying and pasting complete copyrighted articles without permission from the copyright holder is categorically prohibited by copyright laws. Copyright infringement can expose both you and CR4 to financial liability. Please do not do this. Otherwise, the CR4 moderation team will be forced to remove your post and possibly ban you from the site.

Copying and pasting copyrighted images without permission is the same as using copyrighted text. It is a violation of intellectual property laws. If you want to use an image, get permission from the copyright holder first. When in doubt, don't post the image.

13) Are there limits to the usernames that I can select?

Yes, we ask that you avoid using registered trademarks, company names, your email address (or anyone else's) or the names of real people (who are not you) in or as your username. You should also avoid using foul, unsavory or profane language that violates the CR4 site policy.

Each user is allowed to create one account. One person, one account. No exceptions.

14) Are there specific rules for posting?

Although you are free to post as you wish, as long as your post does not violate the CR4 Site Use Policy, we ask that you follow these guidelines when posting or commenting on CR4.

  • Look for answers before you post. Check a search engine or two to see if you can find the answer to your question or a collection of useful links. If you can't, or if the answer you find is unclear, then that's a pretty good justification for asking the question on CR4. We don't want to stifle questions, but you're more likely to get a helpful response if you've done a little research on your own.
  • Provide as much information as possible. The most frustrating questions on CR4 are like this one: "I need a sensor to test water flow - which is the best one." What are you testing for and what are you trying to determine? Is it in a stream, a pipe, or an aquifer? Are you looking to measure velocity or mass? Are you testing for particulates, mineral concentration, or pollution? Is it wastewater, potable water, slurry, etc.? The more you let us know, the better the chance that someone on the site will be able to help you find an answer.
  • Give some thought to your post title. Don't use "Hello", "Question" or "Help". Also, it's not enough to simply say "DC Motor". Be specific, e.g., "How Do I Install Replacement Brushes In My DC Motor". If your post lacks an interesting and informative title, you're less likely to get assistance from the community.
  • Please stay on topic. Posts and comments should be of a technical nature and involve some aspect of engineering, science or technology. If you are going to delve into other topical areas (business, entertainment, sports, etc.), please do your best to relate them back to one of the main focal points of this site. Posts focusing on politics or religion will probably be removed. There are plenty of places on the Web to talk politics or religion. CR4 isn't one of them. Likewise, strong political and religious sentiments should be kept out of profiles, signatures and other content.
  • Do not post the same thread multiple times. The CR4 moderation team will delete all but the most appropriate instance, and may delete them all if sufficiently annoyed.
  • Do not post phone numbers or email addresses. The CR4 moderation team will delete all phone numbers posted in threads or comments, and we strongly urge you not to post email addresses. Posting your email address is an open invitation to spammers; yes, they do crawl our site looking for easy marks. If you to provide your contact information to someone and are a registered CR4 member, then use the internal messaging system. Keep in mind, however, that all use of the internal messaging system must conform to the Messaging Code of Conduct. Do not send spam!
  • Include your country/region if needed. Some questions can only be answered "correctly" if people know where you are in the world. For example, wall plug and voltage standards are different in the U.S. than in Europe.
  • Do your own homework. Even though we have the Engineering Homework blog, CR4 is not a homework cheat site. Individuals may request help with academic challenges and assignments in accordance with the Engineering Homework blog rules. If you cheat on your homework, you are only cheating yourself of the opportunity to learn.
  • Please avoid using unsavory language, profanity and/or foul imagery. It is unnecessary to use profanity. Doing so may get your post pulled and even result in your removal from the site. Photos and images containing nudity or the suggestion thereof, foul language, or any other material that violates the CR4 Rules will be removed. Final judgment about what constitutes "foul, vulgar or unsavory" belongs to the CR4 moderation team. This site is used by people of all ages and we seek to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere. Please keep this in mind when participating. The same is true for links and references to other websites. When you link to an external website, it is your responsibility to make sure that the content on the linked site is appropriate for our community and does not violate our guidelines. This includes mentioning or referencing a site, even if you do provide a hyperlink.
  • Post all advertisements in Commercial Space. If you are posting engineering-related press releases, sales fliers, product announcements, testimonials, descriptions of your company and the work that it does, or any such advertising materials, please select Commercial Space as the forum. This is the only place within CR4 where unpaid advertising is allowed. It does not matter if the advertising is for a commercial website, a personal website, a nonprofit website, etc. Please post only one notice for your company, too. The CR4 moderation team will remove additional posts and we may delete them all if we feel you are simply spamming the site. Should you wish to advertise or sponsor CR4, please contact the CR4 moderation team.

15) Where does my post belong?

It depends on what you are writing about. CR4 is divided into 15 sections, each with at least one forum:

  • Aerospace : Stories about aircraft, spacecraft, and all of the "space" surrounding them.
  • BioMech & BioMed : Stories related to biomechanics, biomedical engineering, bionics, biomimetics and biomechatronics, as well as sports fitness and nutrition. Please note that posts about medications that you're taking will be deleted. This is an engineering site, not a medical one.
  • Chemical & Material Science : Stories related to the development and use of plastics, ceramics, composites, metals and alloys, adhesives, etc.
  • Civil Engineering : Stories about construction and architecture, infrastructure, HVAC, etc.
  • Communications & Electronics : A wide category of stories that includes controls and monitoring, embedded systems and buses, computer hardware, computer networking, telecomm and telephony, etc.
  • Education : Stories related to engineering and technology education, including university courses, continuing education and certification programs, primary and secondary schooling, pedagogy, and classroom collaboration.
    • Engineering Projects : This sub-forum is for students to discuss graduate or similar projects and for mentors to make suggestions and provide support.
  • Electrical Engineering : Stories related to sensors and switches, power generation and distribution, test and measurement, alternative and renewable energy sources, etc.
  • Engineering Careers : Stories about industry outlooks, personal and professional development, job growth and job searches, and organizational and professional communication.
  • Instrumentation : Stories about measurement and testing systems, laboratory equipment and scientific instruments, controllers, PLCs, and oscilloscopes.
  • Manufacturing : Stories about factory floor work, machine shop production, tools and tooling, industrial assembly, packaging and labeling, automation and robotics, etc.
    • Quality Assurance / Control : Stories refer to quality, quality assurance, quality control, quality management, total quality management (TQM), auditing, and quality of products.
  • Mechanical Engineering : Stories about motion and control, mechanical components, power transmission, etc. This is the place to talk about the function and design of motors, bearings, gears, heaters, pumps, etc.
  • New Technologies & Research : Stories about R&D, clinical research and patents, and cutting-edge technologies such as nanotech and femtotech, etc.
  • Software & Programming : Stories about application software, software development, computer programming, and the Internet.
  • Sustainable Engineering : Stories about sustainable design, low-impact materials, building design incorporating green space, renewable energy sources, industrial ecology, life cycle assessment, etc.
  • Transportation : Stories about non-flight methods of transportation including cars, trucks, trains, and ships.
  • General : For everything else ...
    • Commercial Space : This sub-forum is the place to post engineering-related press releases, sales fliers, product announcements, and any and all advertisements about your company, and its services or products. It is the only place that unpaid advertising is allowed on CR4.
    • CR4 Feedback : This sub-forum is the place to post questions, comments or suggestions about CR4 and its functionality.

16) What if I post to the wrong forum?

Report the post to the CR4 moderation team or email The moderators can move it for you. Occasionally, a site moderator will do this of his or her own volition upon finding a post that belongs in another area. This is most likely to happen in relation to items that belong in Commercial Space.

17) What is the difference between a forum and a blog?

A forum is a place where any user can ask a question or start a discussion. All CR4 members can post to forums, and reply to posts within a forum.

A weblog (blog) is an online journal comprised of original, written content along with links and images. A blog is owned by an individual user or a small group of users. Only the blog owner or owners can post blog entries; however, all users can comment about these posts.

18) How do I reply to a forum post, blog entry, or comment from another user?

To reply to a forum post, blog entry, or comment from another user, simply click the "Reply" button associated with the given entry. Enter your message in the box provided, then preview and submit your comment.

19) How do I rate a post?

You can rate any forum thread from 1 to 5 stars - 1 being poor and 5 being superlative. At the top of every thread are three gray boxes. Click "Rate this", select the desired number of stars, and then click "Add Vote". Your opinion of the thread will be registered instantly and added to the total. Please note: we do not display half or quarter stars. Instead, we round up or round down to the closest rating, so that an item rated 3.2 stars will display as 3 stars, while something rated 3.7 will appear as 4 stars. You are welcome to change your vote at any time, but CR4 will only consider your most recent vote for the story (i.e., if you give a story a 2, but then go back and change your vote to 4, your original vote of 2 is deleted).

20) How do I rate a comment?

Users can rate comments as "good answers" (GAs) or "off topic" (OT). Only registered members of CR4 can rate comments, and each member can cast only one vote per comment (except if you give your own comment an "off topic" vote, as this immediately relegates the comment to off-topic status). It takes a net of two positive votes (+2) for a post to be considered "good" and a net of two negative votes (-2) for a post to be considered "off topic". Comments voted as "good answers" will be ringed in green with a thumbs-up icon. Comments voted "off-topic" will be minimized. Additionally, "good answers" are noted in the user's profile as part of a running tally.

"Good answer" votes should be given only to comments that provide a valuable technical contribution. Comments should be voted "off-topic" only if they do not directly pertain to the original post.

The "off topic" feature should not be used in cases where you simply disagree with a poster's point-of-view, nor should this feature be used to punish another user. Posters who engage in such activity will lose their ability to rate comments and may have their account closed.

Over time, you may see your running tally fluctuate up or down. This is a normal occurrence as other users may appreciate the value of your posts, or feel that they lack merit. If you believe you have lost "good answer" votes unfairly, please contact the CR4 moderation team and ask them to investigate. If your case is founded, you will have your "good answers" returned. Generally, however, the greatest fluctuations occur when a user receives a "good answer" for a political comment ("Bush is an idiot" or "it's all Obama's fault"), a questionable claim (HHO/perpetual motion, anti-evolution, conspiracy theories, etc.), or a populist message ("It's all the fault of x government/business/entity"). Then someone of a differing viewpoint marks the comment "off topic". In these cases, the CR4 moderation team will not make a change, as the "good answers" were based on agreement with an opinion rather than on technical merit.

21) How do I post to a blog?

Only blog owners can post entries to a blog; however, all users can reply to entries in a blog as within a forum. Many CR4 blogs allow visitors to submit material to the blog's owner or owners for potential inclusion. So, if you're moved to write, use the "Contact Blog Admins" button. You are also are welcome to lobby the blog's owner to invite you in as a blog owner, but this will likely require demonstrated expertise on the subject, as well as dedication to CR4 in terms of usage, rank, and quality citizen-journalism. Note that some CR4 blogs are owned by organizations that may wish to maintain control of the blog's ownership.

22) I want my own blog!

So you think you've got what it takes to be a CR4 blogger? Well, then contact the CR4 moderation team and request your own blog. Let the moderators know what you'd like to write about and your experience / expertise in the field. Be specific and be prepared to provide samples of your work. These may include your work on other blogs. Your content sample will be evaluated along with your history on CR4. Typically, you'll be asked to write a few entries for an existing CR4 blog before being given your own CR4 blog. Note, however, that we will not accept bloggers who simply want to promote a product, service, or company. Blog entries must have technical merit and all blog owners must make a commitment to blogging.

23) What are User Groups?

User Groups are CR4 members who have something in common and want others to know about it. Joining a User Group causes a "badge" or image to display on your posts. User Groups can develop based on many factors, such as personal interests, similar experiences, hobbies, geographic location, career paths, etc. Some User Groups have open memberships. Others require permission to join. The list of existing user groups can be found on the User Group Index. Any registered member of CR4 can petition to join a group or submit a request to create a new User Group. At this time, User Groups do not have their own forums. They are simply groups of users based on their affinities.

24) What are pathfinder tags?

Pathfinder tags are similar to keywords. They are added to a post to detail important topics within the post, and to allow users to find a post more easily. Pathfinder tags may be added by the poster when the entry is first posted and, occasionally, by the CR4 moderation team.

25) What are user tags?

Registered users can tag forum posts and blog entries to make it easier to find this information again later. Unlike pathfinder tags, user tags are not visible to the general public. They simply serve to help you organize CR4 for yourself. Tagged items can be tracked and modified through your user profile.

26) What do member titles mean?

Member titles are a fun way to track user participation on the site. The more posts you submit to CR4, the higher you'll rise along the following scale:

  • 0 - Browser
  • 1 - 4 Participant
  • 5 - 9 Member
  • 10 - 24 Active Contributor
  • 25 - 54 Associate
  • 55 - 99 Commentator
  • 100 - 499 Power-User
  • 500 - 999999 Guru

Beyond that, we really don't know (and we're kind of scared ...).

Member titles are simply a way to measure one's activity on the site and should not be taken as a serious indicator of anything. A user's title in no way reflects the quality of his or her posts, but rather (and only) the number of posts a user has added to the site. A user's "good answer" total is a better reflection of the quality of his or her posts. You may notice a number of folks with titles who are not on this list. They are CR4 moderators and do not gain rank in this way.

27) How do I subscribe to a discussion?

There are a number of ways you can subscribe to forum threads and blog entries. You can subscribe when posting a question or story; or when replying, by making sure that the "Yes, email me as new comments are added" box is selected. You will then receive an email whenever someone responds to the post - unless you have edited your profile preferences so that this will not happen.

You do not have to post or reply to subscribe to a discussion. All forum threads and blog entries have three gray boxes over them. Click the one that says "Subscribe" and then click the "Subscribe to this Discussion" button.

You can unsubscribe from discussions by modifying your user profile and clicking "Default to 'Don't Subscribe'", or by clicking the "Subscribe" button in the forum thread and blog entry again, and then clicking "Unsubscribe from this Discussion".

28) How do I report a post?

All forum threads, blog entries, and user profiles have a "Report" link. CR4 members can use this to inform the CR4 moderation team of spam, inappropriate advertising messages, and problematic (harassing, fighting, or rude) posts. Please describe the exact problem in detail.

29) How do I email a friend / send an internal message?

Occasionally, you may want to contact another user to discuss something in greater detail without the prying eyes of the rest of the community. CR4 members can do so by sending an internal message. Just click "Send username a message" within that user's profile, or click "Write New Message" from within your own mailbox. Note: This is not an email, but a private message sent within CR4 to another user.

Use of the internal messaging system is a privilege - not a right. Any user who violates the Internal Messaging Code of Conduct risks losing the right to use the messaging system - or even expulsion from CR4. A quick, though not comprehensive list of unacceptable messaging behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unsolicited spam
  • Cyberstalking
  • Messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-orientated, hateful, racist, threatening, or that otherwise violate any laws

30) How do I subscribe / unsubscribe from the Daily Digest?

You may unsubscribe from the Daily Digest at anytime by:

  • Toggling off your Daily Digest subscription in your user profile (if you are a registered member of CR4).
  • By clicking the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the Daily Digest.

Note: Unsubscribe may take up to 72 hours to take effect. You will probably receive at least one more edition of the Daily Digest, for which we apologize in advance.