What are Trust Levels in place?

You may have noticed that, by default, all Discussion Board users start out as trust level zero.What is the purpose of these trust levels, and why do they exist? How do you get to higher trust levels, and what do they do?

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.

Visitor → Novice → Regular → Leader → Elder

These five levels seemed like a great starting point for our user trust system, though we changed a few names to make the levels more clear.

Thus, our Discussion Board offers five user trust levels, and your current level is visible on your user page:

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

There are also flags that make an account a moderator or admin, but these privileged accounts will work up the user trust levels in the same way that regular users do, they just start with most or all abilities. If you are an admin, you can view the system wide stats on how many users are at each particular trust level on /admin.

The concept of trust levels is still actively evolving. We have only defined levels 0 and 1 at the moment. I'll go ahead and document what we currently have for each level in a separate post below, one per level.


Trust Level (0) - Visitor

Our Discussion Board does not quite trust new users yet, as they are visitors who just created an account, still learning the community norms and the way your forum works. Whether accidentally, or intentionally, new users can cause problems in your community.

We also want to hide any so-called "advanced" functionality from new users to make the UI less confusing for them and gently land them on the deeper UI as they get more experienced.

Thus, new users' abilities are restricted for safety -- both theirs and yours.

Users at trust level 0 cannot...

  • Send private messages to other users
  • "Reply as new topic" via Link button (UI removed)
  • Flag posts
  • Post more than 1 image
  • Post any attachments
  • Post more than 2 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

Trust Level (1) - Basic

If a user sticks around long enough to read a bit, our Discussion Board now trusts them as a basic user.

They can get to trust level 1 by...

  • entering at least 5 topics
  • reading at least 30 posts
  • spend a total of 10 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

Trust Level (2) - Members

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

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 ×

Trust Level (3) - Regulars

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.

Users at trust level 3 can...

  • recategorize and rename topics
  • access a private "frequent flier's lounge" category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher
  • have all their links followed (we remove automatic nofollow993)
  • spam flags cast on TL0 user posts immediately hide the post
  • flags cast on TL0 user posts in sufficient diversity will auto-block the user and hide all their posts
  • make their own posts wiki (that is, editable by any TL1+ users)
  • Daily like limit increased by 2 ×

Trust Level (4) - Leaders

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!

In the future, look closely at quality?

 ExplicitQuality = min(1.0,
contributionValue(LikesRecievedCnt) * LikesWeight +
contributionValue(BookmarksRecievedCnt) * BookmarksWeight +
contributionValue(FavoritesRecievedCnt) * FavoritesWeight +
contributionValue(RepliesCnt) * RepliesWeight +
contributionValue(AvgTopicRepliesCnt) * TopicRepliesWeight)

Look also at site and topic promotion: invites, accepted invites, external links followed?

Election process?

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 ×

Trust Level (5) - Administrator

Reserved only for Administrators on the site. You'll be required to share the bill if you're in this section! ;)