There are a couple of different things going on here. With the move away from vBulletin to Discourse, we needed a way to map a member’s user group/permission profile to our new system’s user group/permission profile. We had to decide what level of activity constituted being moved into a higher Trust Level, automatically giving a member a broader set of permissions on the new system without actually having to do that things what would normally get you there. If you received the message “We’re sorry, but new users are temporarily limited to 3 replies in the same topic.”, and you were on the old website, you were designated a New User at the time of the switchover. The new system recognized that your account didn’t meet the thresholds needed to automatically move you into the next Trust Level.
But as you said, it’s not a permanent state of being. For one, if somebody replies to you in the topic where you receive the “3 post” notice, you get another 3 posts in that same thread. Every time somebody replies, your 3 posts reset. Again, this is only for New Users, and it’s done because it’s very easy for a new user to come in and ruin a single thread by simply posting in it over and over. Just create a new account, be super argumentative, reply to every single person that replies to you at great noisy length, telling them just how wrong they are, and… destruction of the thread ensues. So the new system puts limitations on what new users can do.
How do you get that limitation removed? Become a Basic Member (Trust Level 1)
#New Users can get to Trust Level 1 by:
- entering at least 10 topics/threads
- 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
So as you can see, promotion to the next Trust Level is about more than just post count or even how long you’ve been a member. The system records what threads and posts you read, calculates a read time, and applies that read time, along with other factors, in deciding when you move up to a new permission level. This system requires that brand new users, who legitimately want to be here, stick around a bit to gain those new permissions. And at the same time, it creates a larger barrier of entry for spammers to be able to post. I can see the inconvenience in not being able to post immediately, especially after being here for years, and we’re sorry for that. But with a fundamental change in how access is granted, he had to fit old-system activity metrics into the new system, resulting in some former members needing to start from scratch. That’s probably more detail that you wanted, but hopefully explains a bit of what’s going on behind the scenes.