Understanding user trust levels

Safety and trust on the forum is build around user trust levels. The guiding idea is sand-boxing unknown users, while granting experienced users more rights over time. They are trusted to maintain and curate the community they generously engage with.

We currently have four user trust levels. Trust levels are awarded as badges. The easiest way to learn about a user’s trust level is by opening their user card (by clicking on their username or avatar image). You can also find a summary of all trust level badges on the bottom of the Badges page.

Trust Level 0 — Untrusted

By default, all users start out as Untrusted users, meaning trust has yet to be earned. These are visitors who just created an account, and are still learning the community norms and the way our community works. Untrusted users’ abilities are restricted for safety – both theirs and yours.

Untrusted users cannot…

  • Send personal messages to other users
  • Flag posts
  • Have links on their profile
  • Post attachments or more than 1 image
  • Post more than 3 topics
  • Post more than 10 replies
  • Edit their own posts after more than 24 hours

Trust Level 1 — Basic

We believe hearing others is a fundamental and healthy action for our community. If a new user is willing to spend a little time reading, they will quickly be promoted to the first trust level.

Advance to Basic by…

  • Entering at least 5 topics
  • Reading at least 30 posts
  • Spending a total of 10 minutes reading posts

Basic users can…

  • Use all core forum functions; all Untrusted user restrictions are removed
  • Send PMs
  • Upload images and attachments if enabled
  • Edit wiki posts
  • Flag posts
  • Mute other users

Trust Level 2 — Member

When users keep coming back to the forum over a series of weeks and have not only read, but actively participated long and consistently, they are trusted with full citizenship. See who’s currently Member on the Members page.

Become a Member 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
  • Spending a total of 60 minutes reading posts

Members 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
  • Ignore other users
  • Edit their own posts for up to 30 days after posting

Trust Level 3 — Regular

Regulars are the backbone of our community, the most active readers and reliable contributors over a period of months, even years. Because they’re always around, they are further trusted to help moderate and organize the community.

To become Regular, in the last 100 days you…

  • Must have visited at least 50% of days
  • Must have replied to at least 10 different non-PM 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 or silenced

All of the above criteria must be true to become Regular. Furthermore, unlike other trust levels, you can lose Regular status . If you dip below the requirements in the last 100 days, you will be leveled back to Member. However, in order to avoid too much fluctuation, there is a 2-week grace period immediately after gaining Regular trust level during which it will not be re-evaluated.

Regulars can…

  • Recategorize and rename topics
  • Access a secure category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher
  • Cast spam flags on Untrusted user posts to immediately hide the post
  • Cast flags on Untrusted user posts in sufficient diversity to auto-silence the user and hide all their posts
  • Make their own wiki posts (that is, editable by any Basic or more trusted users)
  • Daily like limit increased by 2

We hope this trust system will lead to a stronger and more sustainable community by carefully empowering Members and Regulars to maintain and curate.


Could you explain this a bit better?

And also you are a member, but you are also a moderator. What does that mean?


So there’s a very restricted sandbox for Untrusted users. This is basically a check against spammers and trolls. But it’s easy to advance to the Basic trust level if you just look around a bit on the forum.

With Basic you already have access to all core functionalities. Sandboxing then mostly refers to staging access to specific features, giving users time to learn the way the platform works. This is reflected in the @discobot tutorials you receive. E.g. on your profile it says that as of now you visited for 13 days. The threshold for becoming Member is 15 days, so if you come back another two days you will advance to Member and could also follow the next tutorial.

Regulars further gain some moderation abilities.

The Moderators group is one of the two default administrative groups on the forum, alongside Admins. Different to the user groups, there is currently no automated path towards becoming member in an administrative group. Being Moderator means you can re-categorize and split topics, send users system messages, post system messages, remove posts and silence or remove users.


Nolo, thanks for explaining this system. This effectively stops new people from spamming the communication system. That’s good. There is a problem with offering regulars the power to veto others. In the CS groups I saw a systematic approach of a number of regular contributors there gang together with private messaging to report those they didn’t like directly to the safety officer, bypassing the moderators. I wonder if it is possible to work a way to avoid power cliques evolving in groups, as it discourages new members

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Regulars can silence Untrusted users. But that’s not really a power to veto others, because anyone who spends 15 mins reading on the forum already advances to Basic. Untrusted is really only there to filter out spammers.

That’s the big task indeed! On this forum, this is not so much related to trust levels, but to moderation powers and flags. In general, we’d like to try out flagging as a way of distibuting moderation and seperating raising issues from reviewing them. I’ll post more detailed information on flags soon.

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