What are trust levels, and what do they do?

You may have noticed that, by default, all Discourse users start out as trust level zero.

What is the purpose of these trust levels, and why do they exist? How do you get to higher trust levels, and what do they do?

User trust levels are a way of…

  • Sandboxing new users in your community so that they cannot accidentally (or intentionally!) hurt themselves, the forum, or other users while they are learning what to do.
  • Granting experienced users more rights so that they can help 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 progression from…

Visitor → Novice → Regular → Leader → Elder

These five levels seemed like a great starting point for our user trust system, with one small modification – we renamed “novice” to “basic” to avoid any negative perception of being a so-called “novice”.

Thus, Discourse offers five user trust levels, and your current level is visible on your user page:

0 (new) → 1 (basic) → 2 (regular) → 3 (leader) → 4 (elder)

The concept of trust levels is still actively evolving. We have only defined levels 0 and 1 at the moment. I’ll go ahead and document what we currently have for each level in a separate post below, one per level.

Read more:

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