As a member of the Reef2Reef community, perhaps you've noticed that some members seem to have labels (sometimes a whole stack of 'em) under their username. Maybe this is something you're just now noticing, or perhaps it's a question you've been muddling over for a while but just never got around to asking... What the heck are these labels and what do they mean? Well, keep reading because today I'm going to work on unpacking all of the different user "banners" you'll see around R2R. :)

Before we begin, a general introduction to our banner system: The user banners on Reef2Reef are helpful indicators that we utilize to identify members who contribute to our community in a lot of different ways. Some of these are contributions based on roles within our community leadership, some of these are recognitions of financial contributions by members who support our community (such as sponsors, supporting members, and partner members), some are to note content contributors, and others are award banners for some type of achievement within our community. ALL of these different banners help you as a member to identify people who fill these different roles.

So without further ado, let's begin our banner tour...

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Staff Member/Team R2R -
These 2 banners are always seen together. The individuals who have these are the members of Team Reef2Reef, our site moderators. This great team of volunteer staff assist in keeping the community running smoothly in a wide variety of ways. This includes things like assisting with logistical issues, helping with content creation, aiding members with navigating the forums, maintaining the TOS (terms of service), and, in general, seeking to provide beneficial help to all of our membership.

While Team R2R is tasked with ensuring that members do follow our community guidelines, this is definitely not their only (or even their primary) function. It's also worth noting that moderating decisions are discussed together and made by consensus as a team. Team R2R is made up of men and women who love our community and love to help members with all different types of issues ranging from hobby questions (many of our Team R2R members are expert-level hobbyists who have a lot of knowledge to draw on) to help with site functions. If you have a question, these guys and gals are here to lend a hand, so feel free to message any of them directly if you have questions about the site! Want to meet the team? Check out this thread (or click this link to see a list of the members of Team R2R).

Reef Squad -
This banner is given to members of an awesome team of eagerly helpful people around R2R. This team of folks are specifically responsible for helping our members with all kinds of hobby questions. The guys and gals of this team have each been hand-picked as friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable members who are always willing to help out with any type of hobby issue. They all have different areas of hobby knowledge, and they work hard to be sure that all of the questions that get asked here on R2R get answered. By the way, if you want to specifically call on our Reef Squad members to help with your specific question, all you have to do is add the hashtag #reefsquad to your post (think of this as R2R's own personal "Bat signal" that calls our awesome RS team to aid), and they're always quick to respond.

Reef Squad Leader -
This might be self-explanatory after the above paragraph, but just in case you were still wondering, these are the men and women who give leadership to our Reef Squad team. They are responsible for bringing on new Reef Squad members and for helping to guide and direct our awesome team of RS volunteers and ensuring excellence is maintained.

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Sponsors - Gold/Platinum -
These two banners both identify our awesome sponsor vendors (this includes any users who may have non-commercial names but who have one of these banners). The gold and platinum labels represent different levels of advertising, but the important thing for you to know is that all of these companies and individuals are an essential part of our community and contribute so much to not only our forums but to our hobby in general. Not only do they bring a plethora of great products (both dry and live goods) to our hobby, but they also hold a great wealth of hobby knowledge and experience that they are happy to share. If you'd like to see a full list of our sponsors, be sure to check out this link: R2R Sponsors. Also, note that each sponsor has their own sponsor forum in which they do their advertising, but you can also find many of them out and about in the general forums participating in conversations and contributing to the advancement of our community's knowledge.

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R2R Supporter -
Our supporting members are men and women who support our community through a yearly monetary contribution. Membership here at Reef2Reef is always FREE! However, the members have chosen to support the community a little extra and earn some cool perks along with it. Some of these perks include things like unlimited ability to edit your own posts, exclusive monthly supporter giveaways, the ability to include links or embedded media in your signature, and quite a few others. Click this link if you're interested in learning more about supporting membership.

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Partner Member -
Partner members are like supporting members in that they make a monetary contribution to the Reef2Reef community. This contribution is used to provide periodic upgrades to the forums (things like server and software upgrades or additional forum functions for our members). The partner membership does not include the same perks as the supporting membership (these are distinct types of contributions and come with different types of perks), but instead includes a cool box of R2R swag, access to our exclusive partner member forum, entries into exclusive partner member drawings for some awesome prizes, along with some additional forum function perks (such as unlimited editing ability and private messaging auto-response). Also, while members can become supporting members anytime they'd like to, the opportunity to obtain a partner membership is only open for a short window of time each year.

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Expert Contributor -
This banner is reserved for a select few individuals who have demonstrated a level of knowledge that sets them apart even from intermediate level hobbyists in a particular area or field of research. Many of these men and women have written articles, spoken at conferences, and contributed to our knowledge in a variety of other ways. They bring an expert level of knowledge to help our members. Listen to them! They KNOW what they're talking about!

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Article Contributor -
If you find someone with this banner, you've found one of our authors who contribute article content to Reef2Reef. These folks take the time to put their knowledge into content that we can all learn from. If you have never checked out our article archives, then follow this link. You'll find content in all kinds of areas ranging from Reef Spotlights to DIY (do-it-yourself) guides to articles on all kinds of fish and corals. If you've got content you'd like to submit for an article, be sure to reach out to one of the members of Team R2R.

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Showcase Editors -
R2R has a growing showcase that serves as a great resource to our members. In this showcase, you will find information about different types of corals and fish, reviews about different vendors, and even a list of different videographers who contribute video content to the hobby through YouTube and Vimeo channels. The men and women with our Showcase Editor banner are those who are ongoing contributors to these showcase areas. If you'd like to check out our showcase, please follow this link.

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R2R Excellence Award -
The excellence award is given to the guys and gals who go above and beyond to make Reef2Reef an amazing place for hobbyists of all ages and levels of experience. These individuals demonstrate themselves to be people who not only have a great deal of knowledge that they actively contribute to our forum but also demonstrate an attitude of kindness and helpfulness in their forum interactions. We highly value kindness and helpfulness in our community, and the recipients of this award actively demonstrate what R2R is all about! Got someone you'd like to nominate for the excellence award? Reach out to a member of Team R2R and make your nomination!

Photo of the Month -
This banner is given to the winners of our Photo of the Month contest. Each month, R2R holds a photography contest in which members may enter their best photos of that month's subject. The winning photo is selected by our community, and the winner receives this banner as well as a nice prize from our POTM sponsor. You can find the current month's contest posted as a sticky in the Photography Forum (so go ahead and get those entries in!).

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Reef Spotlight -
The Reef Spotlight banner is awarded to members whose reef has been featured as one of our Reef Spotlight articles. These are extraordinary reef tanks that demonstrate a uniqueness and beauty that reflects the type of hobby skill that we all aspire to (#tankgoals). We feature a reef spotlight each month (our Reef of the Month article), but at times will feature other reef spotlights as well. By the way, if there's a reef that you'd like to nominate, be sure and reach out to one of the members of Team R2R (also, make sure that the person you are nominating has a build/tank thread here on Reef2Reef). If you see this banner, definitely check out that member's tank thread!

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Toys for Kids 2016 -
One of the things I love about the R2R community is that this is a community that is characterized by GENEROSITY. Each year around Christmas time, Rev leads a toy drive where members of the community have the opportunity to donate funds which are used to buy toys for kids in need. Our sponsors are great about supporting this drive and provide prizes that are drawn for those who participated in the giving. Therefore, each of the sponsors who donated a prize in the most recent year (in this case, 2016) received a "Toys for Kids 2016" banner under their name. If you'd like to take a look at how this drive went in 2016, here's a link.

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Local Club Members -
Reef2Reef loves our local reef clubs! We offer free forum hosting to any local clubs who would like to make R2R their club home. Each club receives a public forum and a private forum as well as a spiffy red banner with their clubs initials or name on it. That way, every club member who joins can represent their local club proudly with their banner under their name! If your local club would like to receive these free benefits, just contact one of our staff members!