An Explanation of Trust Levels

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 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 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 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

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 5 topics
  • reading at least 20 posts
  • spend a total of 15 minutes reading posts

*Users at trust level 1 can…

  • use all core Discourse functions
  • 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 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
  • Post new topics in the Showcase category

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 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%
  • 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…

  • Recategorize and rename topics
  • Automatically hide spam posts from view by flagging it appropriately

Users at trust level 3 should…

  • Use their discretion on whether to report a post as off-topic, inappropriate, spam, or other (more info).
  • 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).

Note: A fair amount of this copy was plagiarised from a post by @system .


Are the Trust Levels starting from scratch as of the migration to Discourse, or is our past worth something? I’m just wondering because I have a trust level of “basic user” although I have been a member for 7 years, regularly visit Sitepoint several times daily, started quite a few threads, and responded to quite a few threads. I’m really excited about the new platform but a little disappointed about my trust level (although that’s not why I frequent these forums).


You start over. The reason being, is Discourse performs a “training” so to speak to get you to each level. And if we started you off higher, then you may miss out on some hidden features that become available as you utilize the site.

I’ve answered a similar question here. :slight_smile:

Okay. I can understand that. Well that presents a challenge to me that I will definitely take on with pleasure. Thank you for responding so quickly to my concerns.


No problems, and don’t fret to much about TL, TL 1 and 2 are easy to reach and you’ll get to TL 1 within hours and TL 2 within a week or two (most likely).

TL 3 we are still trying to figure out the best “settings” for, as it permits users to moderate other threads. That gives our members a whole new view on responsibility (one that we as staff like the idea of, but need to tread lightly with).

In Discourse, TL’s do not necessarily reflect long time member, but rather, an engaging member. They are here often, utilize the site to its fullest, etc.

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well, technically, it requires you to come back for 15 days :wink:

So, most likely within 3 weeks if you’re active!

Hmmm (that’s me thinking!) how can you differentiate between someone who’s TL1 and TL2 apart from visiting a profile page?

Traditionally forums let you see things on a thread page like post count, member group, star rating for whatever, and that gave you a hint as to the likely credibility of the person posting.

Currently there’s nothing to offer any level of “trust” or authority for any post. That leaves the door open for a new member to post something but give other members no signals to base the information on.

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Clicking on someone’s avatar on the post brings up a window with that basic info.


Ah ok, still hard work and still an extra clicks and so on… Will many people bother doing that?

It’s one extra click, yup.
As to whether people will bother, I guess it depends on how much they actually care.

Trust Levels are interesting. I understand where you are coming from in setting these up so I will give it some time and see how it goes for me.

The one disappointment that I see so far is the Showcase area. It says only TL3s can create there but everyone else can make replies.

I doubt seriously that there will be 100s of TL3s. In fact, I see this area as being a “Perk” for the TL3s and higher. This is just my initial thoughts.

Correct me if I am wrong.


No you are not wrong, it is definitely a perk for TL 3s. In short it is a way for us to reward those who are constantly here, helping others, posting questions/discussions, etc.

Allowing them to “show off” their work unhindered is definitely a big perk.

I guess I missed it being described as such before the new roll out. I was under the impression it would be more accessible to people.


From the article Sitepoint moves to Discourse

First up, there is the Showcase, which is a place where you can self-promote to your hearts content, provided you’ve been around for long enough to show us that you really want to be a part of the community – it’s based on the new Trust Levels.


So when are the team leaders going to stick something in the showcase to show the rest of the forum members what they can aspire to?

If you are an avid keyboard user and are using those shortcuts on this site, you can start thanking me for what I’ve aspired to :smile:

Unfortunately, all my stuff is backend, so it is hard for anyone to actually see it… :frowning:

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It is sort of hard not to look at that section as “The Elite” area now.

Sorry, that’s my opinion.

Why not just get rid of it. This is not recognizing long time givers but rather elevating certain privileged members within the Community. Since everyone is already on equal footing making their way through this new Discourse World it just seems to me that there needs to be a maturing of the new environment before opening a category like that up.

We are already dealing with no SIGs. Which is already traumatic for some of us. BUT I will say that the Profile area does look promising!


I just migrated one of the biggest web dev forums around from vB to Discourse. You guys should see it. I’m pretty proud of it.


How so? It does recognise long time givers. The staff have already reached that level because we’ve been using this platform for 9 months. :smile:

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