You can see any forum poster's profile by clicking "View Profile" for up to three or four (while NOT log into the profile side). If you choose to "Hide Your Profile", no one doing a search will have access to it.
Your profile will not be used as "filler" on any page.
I know exactly what Michael means because I encounter the same thing occasionally, myself.
I was wondering too, if this was some kind of stealth setting that I wasn't aware of - that only 'logged in' people can see your profile. You can browse without logging in for awhile but then it wants you to login to continue.
Yet, people are posting on that thread about things they've seen on this person's profile and are giving them tips on how to improve it - everyone's seeing it but me, apparently.
So, I'll go log onto my profile account then go BACK to the forums and to that particular thread - and lo and behold, I can now see the person's profile.
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Note that hiding your profile not only keeps non-members from viewing you, but keeps you out of all search results. I'll be logged into the forums, but not necessarily logged into my profile account.
I'll be reading the Profile Review section (for example) and click on the OP's profile to look at it, and I'll get brought to the main sign up page, instead.
It has nothing to do with any setting on a profile etc...
You can only browse profiles so long without it trying to get you to register or login. Cowboy As the other posters have tried to explain, forum login is separate to profile login. Within the three or four profile view limit, you will still get the login screen if the person's profile is hidden.