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.
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.