An Explanation of Trust Levels

Our new Forum platform, Discourse, uses Trust Levels to handle the promotion of your user account and access to more features and responsibilities. This is a departure from how we used to do the same thing on vBulletin, which exclusively based on post count.

Trust Levels operate in a completely different way. So let’s get into how they work.

User trust levels are a way of:

  • Sandboxing new users in your community so that they cannot accidentally (or intentionally!) hurt themselves, the forum, or other users while they are learning what to do.

  • Granting experienced users more rights so that they can help maintain and moderate the community they generously contribute so much of their time to.

Discourse offers five user trust levels, and your current level is visible on your user page:

0 (New) → 1 (Basic) → 2 (Member) → 3 (Regular) → 4 (Leader)

New (0)

New users are visitors who have just created an account. They are still learning the rules and the way our forum works. Whether accidentally, or intentionally, new users can cause problems, so they need to earn trust.

Some “advanced” functionality is hidden from new users to make the interface less confusing for them and gently open up more features as they get more experienced.

Thus, new users’ abilities are restricted for safety – both yours and ours.

*Users at trust level 0 cannot:

  • Send private messages to other users
  • Reply as new topic in the right gutter (UI removed)
  • Flag posts
  • Post any images
  • Post any attachments
  • Post any hyperlinks in a post
  • Have actual links in the ‘about me’ field of their profile (will be silently and temporarily converted to plain text)
  • Mention more than 2 users in a post

Basic (1)

If a user sticks around long enough to read a bit, we trust them as a basic user.

They can get to trust level 1 by:

  • entering at least 10 topics
  • reading at least 50 posts
  • spend a total of 15 minutes reading posts

Users at trust level 1 can…

  • use all core Discourse functions
  1. Upload images and attachments if enabled
  2. Edit wiki posts
  3. Flag posts
  • have all new user restrictions removed

Member (2)

Members keep coming back, they’re the people you see around a lot. If basic users are part time users, members are full time users. They come back often enough that you know you’ll see them again soon – they can be trusted to be present enough to actively participate and be held accountable.

They can get to trust level 2 by:

  • visiting at least 15 days, not sequentially
  • casting at least 3 likes
  • receiving at least 1 like
  • replying to at least 3 different topics
  • entering at least 40 topics
  • reading at least 150 posts
  • spend a total of 60 minutes reading posts

Users at trust level 2 can:

  • Use the “Invite others to this topic” button for one-click onboarding of new users to participate in topics
  • Invite outside users to PMs making a group PM
  • Daily like limit increased by 1.5 ×

Regular (3)

Regulars are some of the most active and prolific contributors. They set the tone for everyone else and set an example by what actions they take, and the posts and replies that they contribute.

They can get to trust level 3 :
This is time and activity based, unlike the previous levels. In the last 100 days…

  • must have visited at least 50% of days
  • must have replied to at least 10 different topics
  • of topics created in the last 100 days, must have viewed 22%
  • of posts created in the last 100 days, must have read 22
  • must have received 20 likes, and given 30 likes.*
  • must not have received more than 2 spam or offensive flags (with unique posts and unique users for each, confirmed by a moderator)
  • must not have been suspended

*These likes must be across a minimum number of different users (1/5 the number), across a minimum number of different days (1/4 the number). Likes cannot be from PMs.

All of these must be true.

Unlike other trust levels, you can lose trust level 3 status. If you dip below these requirements, whether from flagging or the passage of time, you will be demoted to Member. However, in order to avoid constant promotion/demotion situations, there is a multi-month grace period immediately after gaining Trust Level 3 during which you will not be demoted.

*Users at trust level 3 can:

  • have all their links followed (we remove automatic nofollow)
  • Recategorize and rename topics
  • Automatically hide spam posts made by TL0 members from view by flagging it appropriately
  • flags cast on TL0 user posts in sufficient diversity will auto-block the user and hide all their posts
  • access a private “frequent flier’s lounge” category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher
  • Daily like limit increased by 2 ×
  • make their own posts wiki (that is, editable by any TL1+ users)

Users at trust level 3 should…

  • Use their discretion on whether to report a post as off-topic, inappropriate, spam, or other.
  • Be lenient on topics tagged with “article”. These are a vector for new members and we need to maintain a good balance of having good constructive responses yet trying to pull these members to be a part of our community.
  • Be respectful to the community at large (from the new members, to the experienced members, to staff).

Leader (4)

Leaders are regulars who have been around forever and seen everything. They set a positive example for the community through their actions and their posts. If you need advice, these are the folks you turn to first.

They can get to trust level 4 by…
Manual promotion only at the moment!

Users at trust level 4 can:

  • edit all posts
  • pin/unpin topic
  • close topic
  • archive topic
  • make topic unlisted
  • Split and merge topics
  • Daily like limit increased by 3 ×

As Trust Levels are something new to the community, we will continue to evaluate the requirements of promotion.

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I want send pm Title must be at least 15 characters
Hi guys! I have a question

Interesting update you’ve made to the whole site. I like the new look.

I hope these trust levels will turn out well!

I might even start a short thread, it’s been a long time…

33 Likes

Hey o990l6mh, thanks for the feedback! Yes, huge undertaking, with big changes for everybody involved. But we wouldn’t have done them if we didn’t feel they were necessary. With the trust levels, it puts a whole new spin on discussion, engagement, reputation, and responsibility for all staff and members. It’s very early, so we’re interested to see what becomes of it.

But the new system, in how it hands out access, is already automatically filtering a lot of blatant spam. We’ll definitely have some tuning to do to our moderation process and Trust Level requirements, but so far, we like what we see!

43 Likes

Starting a thread sounds like a great idea. :slight_smile:

12 Likes

Why am I at “new user” level with restricted access when I been registered and have contributed since AUG 2015? Just tried to post in one of the threads i visit the most, and was met with a “3 post limit”?

7 Likes

While you’ve been a member since 2015, the majority of your most recent activity was also from 2015. So during the switch to our new system, your overall activity didn’t meet the requirements to be automatically moved into the Basic Trust Level. And as a New User, to limit potential spam, you were limited to posting 3 times in a the same thread.

But it looks like, in short time, that you’ve moved up to the next Trust Level. This was just a matter of “checking the boxes” to move to that next level, so doing ALL of the following:

  • entering at least 10 topics (threads)
  • reading at least 50 posts
  • spending a total of 15 minutes reading posts

Congratulations on your achievements!

20 Likes

Hehe, am still new. Nice to know

10 Likes

@Maryrose Welcome to the forums and we hope that you got to check out the School too! Good luck on your journey into forex and btw, great profile pic!

11 Likes

Yeah. I have been reading through the forex courses. Soon I will be done through the first. Thanks. I appreciate you kind gesture

6 Likes

This trust level thing make no sense, before the new format I was at the highest level and now I am second to lowest, please explain

4 Likes

Anything in particular that I can help you out with? The nuts and bolts of Trust Levels are covered in the first post extensively.

I can share that moving from vBulletin’s post count only metric to Discourse’s trust levels wasn’t necessarily a like-for-like migration if you compared the systems that handled access and permission promotion . All the information related to posting and replying is still the same, but Discourse handles promotion between the levels by relying on several factors like total read time, likes received and given, receiving flags on your contributions, your visitation trends to the forums, and to which topics/threads you reply and how often. So there’s definitely a lot more going on behind the scenes from a contribution and activity standpoint.

Let me know if you need clarification on anything else. Thanks for the feedback.

7 Likes

Gosh, I am all for progress but one thought occurs to me - does this new ‘trust’ system make it harder for established users to take a break and come back? I joined seven or so years ago, and was prolific for some years (I forget, but think I had a few thousand posts/likes, I was on the front page of the member list when counted by posts, with the top level of ‘reputation’). I then stepped away for some time to start a new business and get the last of my kids into school (my youngest, Alice, is now four and started school this week). I have been trading throughout that period (it’s what I do), I just had to row back from some other stuff in my life, such as discussion fora. However now I have logged back in and find that I have been bumped back to ‘member’, as if I was never really a part of this community. Seems a bit odd that prior posting and reputation count for so little. I know that I could get my recent post count back up, but between this change and how different the site looks (I’m finding basic navigation difficult, and can’t find an all-in-one-place guide, sorry if I’m being stupid!) I’m suddenly finding it quite inaccessible. This isn’t a complaint (there were some well-known issues with the old site, which presumably this rejig has addressed), but more a flagging of a concern that we don’t want to lose the resource and knowledge base that comes from established trader members. There were some really knowledgeable, open posters a while back who used to come and go a bit but were great during their periods here. It would be a shame if they stepped away for whatever reason, then found stepping back in so alien and inaccessible that their absence became permanent as there was a core of users who were really helpful to new joiners. I’m suddenly seeing very few of them around here.

Please don’t misconstrue this as a complaint, I’m just surprised at this expunging of records. New posters used to be able to find an established poster, then look up their old posts and learn a lot from them (I used to do that a lot!). That now seems a lot harder to do.

12 Likes

It’s pretty much a level playing field now ST - unless you want to click on each individual user and see the number of posts they have contributed; an unnecessary step, and a step backwards from a user interaction point of view. And, yes, if you’r post count drops, you can be demoted from ‘Regular’ back to ‘Member’ - but can’t be demoted from ‘Member’.

Members TL2

Members keep coming back to the site, and have participated long enough to earn complete citizenship.

They can get to trust level 2 by…

visiting at least 15 days, not sequentially
casting at least 1 like
receiving at least 1 like
replying to at least 3 different topics
entering at least 20 topics
reading at least 100 posts
spend a total of 60 minutes reading posts

Regular TL3

Regulars are the most active readers and reliable contributors over long periods of time.

They can get to trust level 3 by…

This is time and activity based, unlike the previous levels. In the last 100 days…

must have visited at least 50% of days
must have replied to at least 10 different topics
of topics created in the last 100 days, must have viewed 25% (capped at 500)
of posts created in the last 100 days, must have read 25% (capped at 20k)
must have received 20 likes, and given 30 likes.*
must not have received more than 5 spam or offensive flags (with unique posts and unique users for each, confirmed by a moderator)
must not have been suspended

  • These likes must be across a minimum number of different users (1/5 the number), across a minimum number of different days (1/4 the number). Likes cannot be from PMs.

All of these must be true.

Unlike other trust levels, you can lose trust level 3 status. If you dip below these requirements, whether from flagging or the passage of time, you will be demoted to Member. However, in order to avoid constant promotion/demotion situations, there is a 2-week grace period immediately after gaining Trust Level 3 during which you will not be demoted.

4 Likes

Thanks very much. I’m happy with the level playing field, but am concerned that it’s much harder these days to spot the posters who know what they’re talking about! I used to use things like the post count, like count and member profile to form a view on whether I was going to find a discussion helpful or constructive, and all that seems to have gone. So I can post something which others might find useful (or not lol) but struggle to find others I might learn from. The thing with a level playing field is that it’s, well, level.

Oh well!! Thanks for the response.

4 Likes

Frankly, as far as quality, you should be at the very Top, but what do I know :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The Ever Traders Life VIPER

4 Likes

Welcome back! We’ve definitely made some big changes since you were here last. Regarding your question, unless you progress to Trust Level 3 (TL3), you stay at least a TL2/Member even if you don’t visit the forums for years. As TL3 status is tied more to your all around forum activity, you could lose it if your activity metrics drop below certain levels. You don’t lose basic functionality that you’re used to (posting, replying, inviting, liking, bookmarking, PMing, etc.), but you would lose anything on the following TL3 abilities list:

*Users at trust level 3 can:

  • have all their links followed (we remove automatic nofollow)
  • Recategorize and rename topics
  • Automatically hide spam posts made by TL0 members from view by flagging it appropriately
  • flags cast on TL0 user posts in sufficient diversity will auto-block the user and hide all their posts
  • access a private “frequent flier’s lounge” category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher
  • Daily like limit increased by 2 ×
  • make their own posts wiki (that is, editable by any TL1+ users)

Also, we were able to save the post/thread counts and groups you were a member of on our old system, so we’re looking into displaying some of that information in more highly visible areas. That information was also used to get you started as a more established member, rather than as a completely new user with a limited permission set.

As for finding established posters, if you want to look simply at post count, this is still possible. Try the following, to find yourself on the list.

Sort member list by post count

  • Click on the hamburger menu (3 horizontal lines between the Search button/magnifying glass and your avatar (in the top right corner of the page).
  • Click on Users
  • Change the timeframe filter from Week to All Time
  • Click on the column heading for Replies
  • Scroll down the list to find your name (you’re not too far from the top!)

Hopefully that answers some of your questions. I hope that with some more time using the system, some of the new features and layout become more familiar, providing you a better experience. Please continue to share your feedback!

6 Likes

Yeah, the same here…

1 Like

Hello mc297, you’re right on the cusp of moving up to the next Trust Level. It looks like the only thing keeping you from progressing is the total number of threads you’ve read. Read just a couple more and your New User status will be upgraded. And you wouldn’t even need to read the threads in their entirety.

As compared to our old forums platform, Trust Level progression is more holistic now, and doesn’t simply rely on account age or post count.

But you’re almost there!

3 Likes

Great information. Thank you for the explanation. (Editing to get badge) :grinning:

2 Likes