-Their number of posts
-Their registration date
-Their position (usually moderator)
-How "popular" they are among the other users
The forum elitist cannot accept the fact all members are on the same level, from the administrator to the lowly newbie. As a result, new users are generally treated with contempt and revulsion by the forum elitist, often when they have done nothing but registered at a later date.
A message board can be effectively ruined by forum elitists, as over time they breed, increase their numbers, and spawn an entire inbred forum monarchy, which actively seeks to rule the "peasants" of the board with an iron fist. This terrible fate has befallen more than one forum over the years, and is virtually irreversible once it has been established.
"Shut up newbie. You are lower than sewer scum on the bottom of my shoe."
"ya lol shut up you noob!"