How many TL3 users do you have? Do the TL3 requirements really make sense?

TL;DR Does anyone have TL3 users in their community? If so, have you tuned the TL3 requirements? And to what? Or did those users achieve the status with the default requirements? And if so, can you characterize your community’s volume in terms of topics and posts, please?

First, yes I know I can tune the Trust Level 3 (TL3) requirements. But I’d like to start from the assumption of sane defaults. Therefore it must just be coincidence / a sign of the rightful rigor applied in the defaults that at going on 5y in, we have never had any TL3 users. Right…?

But then we realized this week that even our colleagues - whose job includes interacting in our community - will never make TL3 because of the ‘last 100 days’ requirements. And in fact, only the Community Management team, whose full time job it is to ride herd on the Community, will ever meet those requirements.

That led me to take a good look at the requirements and brought me here to ask: does this really make sense:

TL3 requirement (subset) All time last 100d
days visited 50
topic reply count 10
topics read 200 lesser of 25%|500
posts read 500 lesser of 25%|20k

Looking at our most involved users, the first two may be slightly high, but IMO they’re within the bounds of reasonableness.

But looking at the topics and posts numbers… To get to TL3 I need to have read 500 posts since I signed up but in the last 100d up to 20k? In reality, 25% actually equated to 3002 posts on the day I pulled the numbers. But I find the imbalance between all-time and last-100 odd for both topics and posts. Did these numbers get flipped accidentally? Should it have been 20k posts all-time and 500 in the last 100 days?

Am I missing something or fundamentally misunderstanding something?


Many years ago when I managed my old job Discourse instance, people could only access it from Monday to Friday (and from 9-5), so we had to adjust the requirements accordingly because it would be almost impossible otherwise.

Finding the optimal threshold is quite tricky as soon as you leave the default, and every community have an ideal % of TL3 they will want, so this is great area for community managers to tinker.

On that note, I wonder if we could develop a better UI where you would tweak all those requirements in a single screen and see in realtime how many new TL3 you would have (or lose) :thinking:


Thanks @Canapin!

We’re at:

0: 15,959
1: 10,825
2: 190
3: 0

We have a community-of-product. Is that what you have?

Would you mind sharing your post volume? In the spirit of “I’ll show you mine”…

And did you tweak the requirements, or are you running with the defaults?

@Falco a dashboard would be amazing, but there are other features I’d like to see first (1) (2) (3) (4) (…) :sweat_smile:
For now I can make do with the queries I’ve cobbled together.

Edit: Canapin’s reply disappeared while I was still crafting my response. :sadpanda:


Regular badge on Dark Gaming has 12 users with the Regular badge and promoted automatically. I am one of the TL3 users on that forum. The rest were promoted manually by the staff, or TL4/moderator. (this forum is owned by @popstarfreas ) I am pretty sure that the TL3 requirements have not been tuned by the owner or administator.


Yes, the data wasn’t reliable since it’s an imported forum and many TL1 aren’t active anymore.

edit: anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

Number Trust Level
13600 1
201 2
19 3

It’s a niche forum:


Oh wow, that badge curve is similar to the one on the forum that I mentioned.



Wow that is the exact pattern I had at my previous job. 5 days of activity and two dead days, aka the weekend.

If your forum main audience is active only when working you will have to tweak the defaults much like I had.


@Falco do you have any memory of what your tweaks were?

P.S. @Canapin thanks for sharing your volume.

I’m starting to wonder if this is a volume thing. In a lower volume community, users can check off the 25% requirements. In a higher-volume community… it’s just too hard? @twofoursixeight do you have access to any volume data?

BTW, here’s the whole set of graphs:


Not a moderator / admin in this forum, cannot access the data.

1 Like

It’s been a decade almost :sweat_smile:

What I did was going into my best TL2 users profiles and check the TL3 requirements progression. It will like this:

Visit 5 to 10 of those. Then you will clearly see what is the bottleneck for progression.

Maybe it’s the 50% visits? Since your users can only visit 5 out of 7 days a week, 50% for then is in reality 35%. Start there.

Maybe it’s posts read? If the community volume is too staggering, try lowering that by a bit.

And so on.


This question came up at a community I was running a while back. Some members got competitive and tried to get to TL3, and were frustrated by how hard it was to get there - and how hard it was for members to tell where they stood, while admins could see. In the end we just hid trust levels and used custom groups and badges to reward folks for being loyal, contributing members of our community.

Taking a step back, a question I would ask is why has this come up in your community? Why are you interested?


Whoa, allow me to be amazed by this - on the forum I’m a part of, even though our admins have tuned the TL3 requirements to about 10 times the default, there’s still about 3% of users can reach TL3. Maybe the difficulty of tl3 is too high for big forums and too low for small forums :wink:


TL3 can be even harder on small forums — there isn’t enough likes :wink: And quite soon everyone likes everything

I really dislike system that values quantity over quality. But sure — coding uses quantity because it is an easy metric. And because of that likes can and will be something else than likes.

Only real difference between TL2 and TL3 is light moderation rights. Let’s be straight — most of users don’t need that pencil icon on topic title.

So I lifted demands so high that no one can reach TL3. I give it manually when an user starts to show up more often that average johns and janes. I can do that because I’m driving so small forum and I doubt if bigger ones can use same politic.

But again… TL3 is kind of unnecessary trust level.


I checked my forum, and as it turns out I have zero TL3 people. I have four or five at TL4, which is of course manually set. I think TL3 might be useful on a large busy forum where a bit of help with light moderation is useful, but that’s not my case. And the fact that a person can also be automatically demoted from TL3 is a little bit odd - if I welcome them to TL3, should I also let them know when they fell off? That feels odd.

So, I was briefly thinking, as a result of this thread, that I might adjust the sliders so some of my regulars qualified for TL3, but I think on reflection there’s not much motivation. Unless granting them the badge and the status (and making it sticky) would somehow make them feel good and encourage them to contribute more.

I do find that most members simply don’t give any likes. It’s not a thing they do. And I think that’s cultural, not grumpiness.


Does anyone have TL3 users in their community? Yes (SWI-Prolog)
If so, have you tuned the TL3 requirements? No
And to what? N/A
Did those users achieve the status with the default requirements? About 5 users may have, I did.
Can you characterize your community’s volume in terms of topics and posts, please? I won’t give specific numbers but will say that if you search for Prolog or SWI-Prolog you are likely to find the documentation site, the GitHub repository and/or the Discourse site. Our numbers are much lower than every graph posted so far in this topic.

Here is our breakdown of users
admins 4 (I am one of the 4)
moderators 1 - Not active on the site any more but still visits once or twice a year
staff 4 - same as admins
trust level 0 - 990
trust level 1 - 561
trust level 2 - 168
trust level 3 - 156
trust level 4 - 3 The list only shows one person but sometimes Discourse employees are on the site as the site is hosted by them.

Just about everyone with trust level 3 is at that level because I modified their profile to lock them into that level.

Our site is for the programming language SWI-Prolog which is an AI language, not to be confused with artificial neural networks, so most who join are at the college/university level or beyond, it is not uncommon to see PhDs on the site. Before locking a user into trust level three there are a few things I check and if they past muster then with some prestidigitation they are locked into trust level 3. One of the main reasons is that it is not uncommon for our users to vanish for months then return for a few post. If they were not locked into trust level 3 then they have to deal with the bot, lose privileges, etc. Make sense.


Yes but why? For what they need TL3 rights?


On a forum I frequent, a lot of people like being Regular but only a few make use of the extra functions. I think people just like to feel like they’re regulars in the same way as some frequent visitors do for pubs. :person_shrugging:

On that forum, the TL3 thresholds have been tweaked a little to make it easier to attain. If I remember rightly it used to be around 40-45 Regulars on average, and since the change it’s more like 100 (actual community members, not including ‘staff as TL4’). I think there are about 1400 TL2, and a silly amount of TL1 due to being a long-running forum and having a lot of users imported across when they flipped to Discourse. Roughly 2000 active users in the past 30 days, according to the About stats. It’s a site attached to a business, but it is more an advice site with a healthy social element so that may have some bearing on how people feel toward the title.


So, if TL2 would get title regular even they would be happy then :wink: So, it is more matter of title than TL and what rights such user has?

I’m sure here is few regulars that will use those lightway moderator rights, but the most never do I reckon.

Well, this isn’t that big question because every admin can and should adjust those limits and thresholds. And this is kind of culturel question too — my users don’t know what is theirs title/TL. They just give shomething about badges and TLs — and that is propably the strongest reason why I have a little bit difficult to understand why we are in this topic at all :grin:


Ha. I don’t think that would cut it. :slight_smile: Though the ‘perks’ aren’t that much fun [1], so aren’t the main driver of why people want the bump. I think it’s the recognition that they’re a part of the furniture and are recognisable personalities within the community that’s the main ‘feel good’ element to it. Not everyone who attains it is as fussed, but quite often when someone new gets it they celebrate a little. :slight_smile:

I didn’t mention the post/topic counts. I don’t have the graphs for these, but the About stats are saying:

24hrs 7 days 30 days
Topics 7 40 200
Posts 300 2.1k 9.5k

  1. Edit topic titles and categories, make wikis, squash TL0 spam posts. There’s no Lounge ↩︎


When I started giving them TL3 it was for Have all their links followed (we remove automatic nofollow) but since that time it seems that perk is now given to all by default. Also as I noted it keeps their perks locked in, every time they come back what they can do does not change. Another change I did was to always allow a TL3 user to edit their post forever, there is no time limit before a post is locked.