This section aims to be a complete list of Symbio users' questions about the software. If you've got a question of your own, please don't hesitate to contact me: you can request features, get support or report bugs on the site; for any other type of enquiry, there's always plain old e-mail.

Your questions

I have a web site that uses CSS; can I style the comment links individually?

Certainly! Just enclose the entire link code in a <span>, e.g.

<span class="symbio">
<!-- Enter the comment link code here -->

and style the link for that span as follows:

span.symbio a {
  /* Enter your CSS here */
span.symbio a:hover {
  /* Enter your CSS here */

Could you implement a feature that allows users to enter their AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, … ID?

This feature has already been requested several times. However, in order to make those extra fields available, a rather large part of Symbio would have to change dramatically. Updating Symbio's internal data is an option, but changing the theme specification would be a hassle. Furthermore, there are so many IM clients these days that the format would have to be dynamic, allowing you to define your own clients, producing even more problems with themes. Back when I first implemented theme support, I realized I might need this feature later, but in the long run I think themes will be more useful.

Why do some comment links say there is no poll associated with the article, while there is?

This behavior only occurs when the poll is created from a template and the comment window for the article has never been opened.
Why is this? Well, as far as Symbio's concerned, an article doesn't exist until someone has commented on it, and a poll isn't created from the template until someone has opened the comment window. Therefore, there is no efficient way for Symbio to know if a poll is associated with the article in this particular case.
The easiest way to work around this is by opening the comment window yourself right after saving the article, when a poll is to be generated based on a template.

What are the .htaccess files for?

These files set extra access conditions for the web server. In this case, they simply tell it not to let anyone access the directories in which they are, because those directories contain internal data the surfers are not supposed to see. However, .htaccess files are much more versatile than that.

One of the modules required to run Symbio is not present. What can I do?

Not to worry, you can still use Symbio! There are several ways to install the required module.

If you're having trouble with any of the methods, you can always contact support.

What the hell is that <killbanner> tag in every HTML source for?

This is a tag invented by, to allow inclusion of pop-up advertising instead of inserting the ad on the page itself. Since their inline ads get inserted at the top of the page, the pop-up ones are far more suitable.
Now, that does mean the <killbanner> tag won't be parsed on any server beside ProHosting's, leaving it in the output. This makes the HTML code less valid, but it doesn't seem to disturb any of the popular browsers. If you should run into trouble caused by the tag, please let me know. In case the tag really bothers you, any advanced text editor should allow you to remove it from all of Symbio's files with a couple of clicks.

The file save/ready.txt is empty. Can I delete it?

No. This file was introduced at the launch of Symbio 1.4. It indicates that all comment files are in the new format, which is used by Symbio 1.4 and up, and that installation is complete. If the file is not present, users will not be able to view or post comments.

Why is the theme resource directory called img and not res or something like that?

The img directory dates back to when Symbio didn't have theme support, and to avoid having obsolete directories I decided to keep it, even though its name isn't entirely accurate anymore. But what's in a name? The same goes for the dates.txt file, which holds the post IDs and comment counts.

Why do the layout tag examples read beefcake, screw you guys, etc.?

These are quotes from South Park's Eric Cartman, except for the URL. I'm a big fan of the animated series, and if you're not familiar with it, I suggest you check it out.

Why are there barely any comments in your code?

Sorry mate, I'm lazy that way. I might get round to it eventually, but for now, you'll have to analyze the stuff I coded.