How do users learn about the trust system?


Understanding Discourse Trust Levels

  • Jeff Atwood

Jeff Atwood

Jun 25, 2018 • 6 min read

The user trust system is a fundamental cornerstone of Discourse. Trust levels are a way of…

  • Sandboxing new users in your community so that they cannot accidentally hurt themselves, or other users while they are learning what to do.
  • Granting experienced users more rights over time, so that they can help everyone maintain and moderate the community they generously contribute so much of their time to.

As documented in Community Building on the Web, there is a natural progression for participants in any community.

This seemed like a great starting point for our user trust system. Thus, Discourse offers five user trust levels. Your current trust level is visible on your user page, and a summary of all trust levels within your community is presented on your dashboard.

How do users learn about the trust system?

  • Every new user gets a welcome PM mentioning the trust system and linking to this blog post, explaining that new users may be temporarily limited for safety reasons. They are also invited to start an optional interactive training conversation with discobot.
  • Upon transition to trust level 1, users are sent a congratulatory PM which also links to this blog post and invites the user to fill out their user profile, or start a new topic.
  • Upon transition to trust level 2, users a sent another congratulatory PM which also links to this blog post, as well as the tips and tricks blog post.
  • Upon transition to trust level 3, users are sent a longer form PM describing their new abilities and inviting them to the lounge category to meet their fellow TL3 community members. This PM also links here to this blog post.

(It’s also worth mentioning that Discourse starts in “bootstrap mode” where the first 50 users who sign up are automatically granted TL1, and daily digests, to promote growth of the community via early adopters.)

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