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 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
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
- Upload images and attachments if enabled
- Edit wiki posts
- Flag posts
- have all new user restrictions removed
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 ×
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 25%
- of posts created in the last 100 days, must have read 25%
- 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 2-week 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).
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.