The user trust system is a fundamental cornerstone of our community. 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, Talk with Africans offers five user trust levels . Your current trust level is visible on your user profile page.
Explaining the Trust Levels
Trust Level 0 — New Users
By default, all new users start out at trust level 0, 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. New users’ abilities are restricted for safety – both theirs and ours.
(We also want to hide any “advanced” functionality from new users to make the UI less confusing for them as they gain more experience.)
Users at trust level 0 cannot …
- Send personal 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
- Post more than 3 topics
- Post more than 10 replies
Trust Level 1 — Basic
At Talk with Africans, we believe reading is the most fundamental and healthy action in any community. Thus, if a new user is willing to spend a little time reading, they will quickly be promoted to the first trust level.
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 our core functions; all new user restrictions are removed.
- Send PMs.
- Upload images and attachments.
- Edit wiki posts.
- Flag posts.
- Mute other users.
Trust Level 2 — Member
To get to this trust level, it means you as a Member keeps coming back to our community over a series of weeks; you have not only read, but actively participated long and consistently enough to be trusted with full citizenship.
You can get to trust level 2 by…
- Visiting at least 15 days, not sequentially; that is in any order.
- 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×
- Ignore other users
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 can be further trusted to help tidy up and organize the community. In essence, getting to this stage makes you a senior citizen; more like a member of the parliament or senators.
To get to trust level 3, in the last 100 days, you…
- 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 or silenced
* 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 the above criteria must be true to achieve trust level 3. Furthermore, unlike other trust levels, you can lose trust level 3 status . If you dip below these requirements in the last 100 days, you will be demoted back 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…
- Re-categorize and rename topics
- Access a secure category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher
- Have all their links followed (we remove automatic nofollow).
- TL3 spam flags cast on TL0 user posts immediately hide the post
- TL3 flags cast on TL0 user posts in sufficient diversity will auto-silence 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 — Leader
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, and they’ve earned the highest level of community trust, such that they are almost moderators within the community already.
Get to trust level 4 by…
- Manual promotion by staff only
- (Possibly via a to-be-developed election system in the future)
Users at trust level 4 can…
- Edit all posts
- Pin/unpin topic
- Close topics
- Archive topics
- Make topics unlisted
- Split and merge topics
- Reset topic bump date
- Daily like limit increased by 3×
- Any TL4 flag cast on any post immediately takes effect and hides the target post
We believe this trust system has been a proven success so far (with other communities using it), as it leads to stronger, more sustainable communities by carefully empowering members, regulars, and leaders to curate and lead their own communities. But like everything else in the world, the trust system will evolve over time as we gain more experience with more communities. We’ll continue to update this post with any changes.
If you have any question or suggestion on how we can make this trust level system better, please do not hesitate to ask or give us your feedback. We will most definitely work on them.