Member ranks -- the default title if you don't use a custom title -- are automatically assigned based on how many posts you've made:

Initiate: 0 to 19 posts
Aspirant: 20 to 49 posts
Student: 50 to 99 posts
Graduate: 100 to 249 posts
Assistant Professor: 250 to 499 posts
Professor: 500 to 999 posts
Tenured Poster: 1000 to 99999 posts
Sometimes you may click through the latest community forum thread and find yourself with no access to read. This is because the post is in The Green Room, a subforum of community. Only sponsors have access to The Green Room: http://forums.philosophyforums.com/membersponsor.php
Philosophy Forums is and will remain ad-free. If you'd like to make a donation to help cover expenses, that would be appreciated. Here's a brief FAQ:

Q: What benefits do I get for donating?
A: Your name turns green and you get access to a special sponsors-only forum. You also get unlimited shouts per day.

Q: Who does the money go to?
A: It goes to Paul, the creator/owner of the site. Whatever isn't needed for domain and hosting expenses goes to cover time spent developing the site.

Q: Is Philosophy Forums a non-profit organization? Is my donation tax deductible?
A: No and no.

Q: I don't trust random websites with my credit card. How can I pay safely?
A: The preferred payment method is PayPal. PayPal is used very widely across the internet for untrusted transactions, like eBay auctions (PayPal is owned by eBay). The seller (me) doesn't have access to any buyer financial information, only the buyer name shows.

Q: I'm afraid to do online payments. Can I pay offline by mailing a check?
A: Sure. Send Paul a private message for details.

Q: Will the site die if I don't send you money?
A: No, Philosophy Forums is not in danger of disappearing. The amount of money donated does affect how much time the owner spends working on maintaining and improving the site, though.