The trust system in Aptos Discourse serves two important purposes: ensuring a safe learning environment for new users and preventing unintended harm to themselves or others, while also granting additional privileges and responsibilities to experienced users as they contribute to the community’s moderation and growth over time. This progression of user participation is well-documented in the book “Community Building on the Web.”
Discourse has implemented a user trust system consisting of five trust levels, which are designed to maintain user safety and facilitate community moderation. Users can view their current trust level on their user page, and an overview of all trust levels is presented on the dashboard.
New users are introduced to the trust system through a private welcome message that includes a link to a blog post explaining its functionality and safety measures. They are also encouraged to engage in an interactive training conversation with @discobot.
Upon reaching trust level 1, users receive a congratulatory private message with a link to the blog post and an invitation to complete their user profile or start a new topic. The same process occurs upon reaching trust level 2, along with an additional link to a blog post containing tips and tricks. When users advance to trust level 3, they receive a detailed private message outlining their new abilities and an invitation to join the lounge category and interact with other trust level 3 users.
Trust Level 0 - NEW:
Initially, all users start at trust level 0, indicating that they have not yet earned trust within the community. These users are essentially visitors who have recently created an account and are still in the process of understanding the community’s norms and functionality. To ensure safety and prevent confusion, users at trust level 0 have limited abilities, and certain “advanced” features are hidden from them.
Trust level 0 users are unable to send personal messages to other users, use the “Reply as new topic” feature, flag posts, post more than one image or attachment, include more than two hyperlinks or mentions in a post, create more than three topics or ten replies, or edit their own posts after 24 hours. However, administrators can adjust these restrictions by modifying the settings related to new users and the first day.
Trust Level 1 - BASIC:
At Discourse, reading is considered the most fundamental and beneficial activity within any community. New users who invest some time in reading are quickly promoted to trust level 1.
To reach trust level 1, the following conditions must be met by the users:
Must enter at least five topics.
Read a minimum of 30 posts, and spend a total of 10 minutes reading posts.
Once these requirements are met, all restrictions imposed on new users are lifted, and trust level 1 users can utilize all core functions of Discourse.
Users at trust level 1 gain the following abilities:
They can send personal messages.
Upload images and attachments (if enabled).
Edit wiki posts.
Flag posts, and mute other users.
Trust Level 2 - MEMBER:
Members are users who consistently participate in the community over a period of several weeks. They have not only read but also actively engaged long enough to be considered trusted members.
To achieve trust level 2, the following conditions must be met by the users:
Visited the community on at least 15 days (not necessarily consecutively)
Give at least one like.
Receive at least one like.
Reply to at least three different topics.
Enter at least 20 topics
Read at least 100 posts.
Spend a total of 60 minutes reading posts.
Once these requirements are met, trust level 2 users gain additional privileges:
They can use the “Invite others to this topic” button to onboard new users easily.
Invite external users to group personal messages.
Have their daily like, edit, and flag limits increased by 1.5 times.
Ignore other users, and edit their own posts for up to 30 days after posting.
Trust Level 3 - REGULAR:
Regulars are highly valued contributors and dedicated members of the community who have actively participated in discussions for several months or years. They are regarded as reliable and trusted members who can help maintain the community by organizing and cleaning up content.
To attain trust level 3, the following conditions must be met within the last 100 days:
Visited the community on at least 50% of the days.
Replied to at least 10 different topics, excluding personal messages.
Viewed at least 25% of the topics created in the last 100 days (capped at 500).
Read at least 25% of the posts created in the last 100 days (capped at 20,000).
Received at least 20 likes and given at least 30 likes from a minimum number of different users (1/5 the number) on different days (1/4 the number). Likes received cannot be from personal messages.
Did not receive more than 5 spam or offensive flags confirmed by a moderator.
Was not suspended or silenced in the last 6 months.
Trust level 3 can be lost if any of the above criteria are not met within the last 100 days. However, there is a 2-week grace period immediately after achieving trust level 3, during which demotion will not occur.
Users at trust level 3 gain the following abilities:
Recategorize and rename topics.
Access a secure category visible only to trust level 3 and higher users.
Have all their links followed (nofollow is removed).
Have their spam flags on new users’ posts immediately hide the post.
Have their flags on new users’ posts, with sufficient diversity, automatically silence the user and hide all their posts.
Make their own posts wiki (editable by any trust level 1+ user).
Daily like, edit, and flag limits increased by 2 times.
Trust Level 4 - LEADERS:
Leaders are experienced regulars who have demonstrated their positive influence on the community through their actions and contributions. They have earned the highest level of trust within the community and are considered almost moderators themselves. Leaders are the go-to people for guidance or advice.
To achieve trust level 4, manual promotion by the staff is required. In the future, an election system may also be developed for promoting members to this level.
Users at trust level 4 have the following privileges:
Edit all posts.
Pin or unpin topics.
Close, archive, unlist, split, merge, and reset the bump date of topics.
Increased daily like, edit, and flag limits by 3 times.
Any trust level 4 flag cast on any post immediately takes effect and hides the target post.
Send personal messages to an email address.
The trust system has proven successful in building strong and sustainable communities by empowering members, regulars, and leaders to curate and lead their own communities. It is a unique feature that sets Discourse apart from other platforms. As experience with communities grows, the trust system will continue to evolve, and any changes will be updated in the corresponding blog post.
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