Create an automatic pathway to TL1 and TL2 for email only users

Right now the requirements for promotion to TL1 and TL2 involve logging into the website and spending time there and reading widely in topics and posts. This is great for forum style communities, but does not accommodate communities like mine with many email-only users.

Today I discovered that a handful of long time members were languishing in TL0 pergatory until I retroactively updated them to TL1. (Thanks @zogstrip for making that possible for me. Much appreciated!)

These people are active on email and have been contributing to discussions even though they never log in. They also are trusted staff members and should automatically have been promoted at joining, and I have fixed the group settings to handle this going forward. I also loosened the restrictions on links and attachments for TL0 users. Will have to watch out for the spammers. :wink:

While I have now solved this problem for trusted staff, I am concerned about other community members who never make it out of TL0 even though they in fact are actively participating in discussions… just by email. One idea would be to add a TL1 requirement/option based not just on read time or posts read but on posts contributed. E.g. “30 posts read or replied/liked” and “5 topics read or replied/liked”.

All of that said… maybe there’s no reason to change any of this because trust levels are most relevant for folks participating online and we are able to loosen posting restrictions so email only users are not really hampered even if they never leave TL0.


We don’t really want to incentivize replying. The problem is that it is 100% impossible to track email reading.

(This has also been brought up before in the context of “I read this in my email already, why can’t you mark it read for me on the website?” but it’s basically the same issue.)


That’s a good point – but I think there is a compromise here. This request is mostly about providing some way for mail-only users to reach TL2 eventually – it doesn’t have to be a short way.

For reference, TL1 needs 5 topics entered and 30 posts read with at least 10 minutes reading time. Let’s say there was a second path to TL1, by following all these requirements:

  • Have posted at least one reply that is at least 14 days old.
  • Posts with flags don’t count for that.
  • Didn’t receive any flag in the last 30 days.
  • Maybe even require one like?

To me, that proves the point of TL1: The users is not a spammer (or a super dedicated one). It also doesn’t incentivize replying to get TL1, because it takes at least 2 weeks and reading a few posts is so much quicker if you use the website. Still, a good mail-only user will find eventually pass these checks.

TL2 already requires replies, so a path for mail-only users could easily be based on the same principle: Require three posts, and replace the reading time checks with rigorous and slow quality checks (likes, no flags, account / replies old enough). Maybe we could also throw in a check that the user has received mail notifications for at least 10 topics, to ensure the user at least subscribed enough the be counted as somewhat engaged.


A whole other level of vast complexity that I don’t want to deal with right now.

No, we (I assume!) want to incentivize constructive communication in a community. And if people do that by email or through the web site, we should do whatever is possible to encourage it.

I do understand it’s a Difficult Problem to solve, but I would say if we are all serious about encouraging civilized discourse, it’s important to at least recognize its value to regardless of input medium.

So let’s not completely rule this out from happening if someone has a breakthrough solution that isn’t painful.

:sunny: :discourse: