Description of various user states in Discourse

(Sam Saffron) #1

Discourse has many built in user states, the following describes the meaning of each state and basic storage implementation:


Admin users are the superusers in the system, they can:

  • Impersonate non admins
  • Change site settings
  • Create groups
  • Amend site customizations
  • Perform all the actions moderators can perform
  • Read any personal message

Storage: The boolean field admin in the users table flags any admin accounts.


Special account used to install Discourse

  • View rack-mini-profiler showing timings on the page
  • Impersonate any account including admins
  • Automatically becomes admin and has all admin rights

Storage: controlled via the developer_emails global setting or the developers table, in Docker install use the env var DISCOURSE_DEVEOPER_EMAILS to specify an email list of users who are developers.


Power user capable of moderating the site:

  • Gets shield icon next to name on posts
  • Can perform all actions Staff can perform

Storage: the boolean field moderator in the users table


A user that is either an admin a moderator or both.

  • Immune to rate limits
  • Can process flags
  • Can delete topics and posts, split topics, merge topics, hide topics and so on.
  • Can view user info including email address

Storage: computed from the admin and moderator columns on the users table

Trust level 0 - 4

See: What do user trust levels do?

Storage: the numeric field trust_level in the users table

New user

Special restricted account for first day of usage or new accounts. new_users have special rate limits defined in site settings

  • Account created in the last 24 hours, or Trust level 0
  • Non staff account
  • Not Trust Level 2 or above


  • Can only create a topic once every 2 minutes (rate_limit_new_user_create_topic)
  • Can only create a post once every 30 seconds (rate_limit_new_user_create_post)

Storage: computed from created_at, moderator, admin, and trust_level columns on the users table

First day user

Special additional restrictions that apply to an account created in the last 24 hours

  • Account created in the last 24 hours
  • Non staff account
  • Not TL2 or above


  • May only create 10 replies (max_replies_in_first_day)
  • May only create 3 topics (max_topics_in_first_day)

Storage: computed from created_at, moderator, admin, and trust_level columns on the users table


Account flagged by spam system as a problem account, all posting is disabled.

  • Account may not reply to any topic
  • Account may not create any topics
  • Account still can like and flag (TBD if this is a good idea)
  • Account can still change user prefs and about me (TBD if this is a good idea)
  • Mailing list mode stops working

Storage: silenced boolean column in the users table


Account is active in Discourse instance

  • Account may login to Discourse, inactive accounts may not login

Storage: active boolean column in the users table


If the site setting must_approve_users is enabled a user must be approved prior to being allowed to log in.

Storage: approved boolean column in the users table


Account suspended from Discourse instance

  • A note is displayed on user page denoting suspension reason
  • Login is not allowed
  • Account can only be mentioned by staff
  • No emails are sent to user for any notifications (digest, message and so on)
  • As an exception any emails initiated by staff are still sent to user

Storage: suspended_till datetime column in users table


A special placeholder account which is created automatically by the system for email integration

  • No email digests are ever sent
  • Automatically watches all messages it participates in and receives notifications of replies
  • May reply via email to notifications
  • Username and Name are automatically picked
  • Account may still register with the same email and “take over” the staged account.
  • Forgot password will do nothing …when you attempt to send a password reset to a staged account

Storage: staged field in users table

Modifying Staff Roles to go beyond Administrator and Moderator?
List of full moderation tools?
Deactivating users permanently
Improving Blocked User State
How to get rid of the millisecond feature thing
Which setting(s) would prevent Discourse from emailing an old user?
Moderator Permission Set
Allow moderators to create groups
Recreating deleted original setup account makes them an administrator
A new trust level: The Helpful member?
View Forum as User X
How do I block a user?
Is a blocked user able to flag posts?
Unlisted option on creation of a new topic
Improving Blocked User State
Latest documentation
What Blocked Users can/can't do
How to get rid of the request times debug?
Improving Blocked User State
How to change Moderator's rights

Sorry Team for dumping this topic now, but I’m testing the “new dashboard” and I see a lot of “inactive users” on my forums and I can not understand what is an inactive user.

Maybe you can edit this 1st message with a “Inactive Users” with the explanation about this type of users? :pray:

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #3

“Inactive” is not a user state, so no, it doesn’t really make sense for it to be added to this topic. User states have certain effects, like permissions, access to features, restrictions, etc. Being “inactive” does not affect permissions, access, restrictions, etc. As the tooltip on the new dashboard states: “Number of users that haven’t logged on for the last 3 months” - it’s purely a measurement.


Ah, great… so if an inactive user log in to the forum, that “state” change to “active user” ? :blush:

Thanks for clarifying it :+1: