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

Our site is 10+ years old and recently imported to Discourse. There are a lot of inactive account and many people who exclusively lurk which is why TL1 is so high

Non-default settings:

(Default 10)

(Default 12)

Maybe the extra duration is helpful. Personally I think if you’ve been active enough to reach TL3 you deserve to be there for a while

I’ve actually found TL4 to be useless in my case. Currently its just redundant with the moderators


default for TL3, slightly increased TL1 and TL2 requirements


Answering your question directly… I do think the TL3 requirements are fairly high, and I do think some instances may not have & not need them. For example, I can imagine that if you manage a forum, which supports some software or service, most people would come to ask just one question that bothers them. In contrast, if you manage a thematic community (s.t. a user is likely to be interested in what others discuss), then TL3 is pretty manageable while the community is relatively small. But again, as others have argued, the TL3 benefits are mostly “recognition” of active users, and if you’re in a former category chances are your users don’t seek that kind of recognition.

Also, now that you’ve brought this, I checked my requirements and I see that posts read is 1174 while posts read all-time is 500, which, at least for me, doesn’t make sense. Now I need to think if I want to lower the post read requirement…


Thanks all for the discussion and the sharing! This has been very helpful!

What I take from this is a confirmation that something’s off in the default TL3 requirements - at least for high-volume communities. It’s been very interesting to know that a lot of you who have TL3 users promoted at least some of them manually - even in lower-volume communities than we have.

Thanks @Falco for your suggestion that I work at adjusting the requirements based on our top users. In fact, that’s what I had been looking at, using the TL3 gap report I shared about a year ago. With that report, I’m able to add additional columns with different criteria to see whether/how much different values change the outcome. E.G.:

SELECT  pr.user_id, 
        greatest(50-coalesce(pr.visits,0),0) as "Days visited gap",

        greatest(10-coalesce(trt.replied_count,0), 0)  as "Topic reply gap",
        greatest(5-coalesce(trt.replied_count,0), 0)  as "Topic reply gap2",

        greatest(tclhd.all_topics-coalesce(tva.topic_id,0),0) AS "Topics Viewed last 100d gap",
        greatest(150-coalesce(tva.topic_id,0),0) AS "Topics Viewed last 100d gap2",

        greatest(200-coalesce(tvat.topic_id,0),0) as "Topic viewed (AT) gap",

        greatest(pclhd.all_posts - coalesce(pr.posts_read,0),0) as "Posts Read last 100d gap",
        greatest(250 - coalesce(pr.posts_read,0),0) as "Posts Read last 100d gap2",

Where I’m at so far is

  • 50 days visited lhd (last 100d) - most of the users I would expect to see at tl3 meet this already
  • 5 topic replies lhd

I’m still struggling with the criteria that are related to community volume. Right now I’m at

  • 150 topic views lhd
  • 250 post views lhd

That would get us to… 3 TL3 users. And while 3 users seems small to me, I would have to go far lower on topic views to increase that number. So this is probably where we’ll land.

@piffy I like the idea of expanding the tl3 duration and will probably do that too, so thanks for sharing it!

Regarding likes, some people here have questioned it, but after some thought, it makes a lot of sense to me to require that users get likes (as evidence that they’re actually positive contributors, rather than just prolific spewers). It also makes sense to me that we require high-level users to encourage others, which is kinda how I see giving likes. We’ve looked briefly just Friday at the Reactions plugin which may…? be a way to address cultural reluctance to stick a red heart on something…? @Ed_S do you think the option of a :+1: versus a :heart: would make a different for your users?

To answer your question @tobiaseigen, the reason this has come up in our community is what I shared originally:

Staff are all granted TL4, but we wondered what our colleagues’ “natural trust levels” were and started digging into that. That’s when we realized that Colin and I - whose full time job it is to work in the community - are the only people who would ever make TL3 with the default requirements. And it kinda seems wrong that it has to be your full-time job in order to meet the requirements for TL3.


Good question. I might ask some of our more regular members - but first I should check with my co-moderators what we think about the whole thing. I give out likes (hearts) very liberally so I think everyone will have received a like, and got the notification, and maybe even got a badge. I think no-one who’s at TL2 will be unaware that likes exist and can be used as reward, encouragement, or recognition.


All TL settings are default. My site is 10 years old and was migrated from phpBB to Discourse about 2.5 months ago. There are about 1/2 to 2/3 more or less inactive users and the one TL4 user was manually set.


Thanks for sharing @Roi!

BTW @Ed_S it turns out “reactions” aren’t counted as likes.


This was already here in the forum some weeks ago. Regardless of this discussion here reactions should be treated the same way as likes are treated. I think the reaction plugin it is a very common plugin and when I look into my forum reactions are used more often than likes are used. As reactions can express more than likes can.


For TL3 granting purposes, I agree, but as an admin option.

I run several instances of my own and they would greatly benefit from this, but I’m also a moderator on an instance where reactions counting for TL3 granting (or the same as likes in general) would be detrimental to the community. In fact part of the reason the reactions plug-in was enabled on that instance was to discourage people from abusing the like function trying to gain TL3 and the various *Love badges as quickly as possible.


An option which can be enabled or which stays disabled would be the perfect solution, yes! :slight_smile:


I agree that it would be nice to choose to have reactions counted as likes.


Just realized that the likes requirements are last-100-days. Now I’m re-thinking the volume there… :sadpanda:


Some days I realize just how much has fallen out of my brain. I knew this but it fell out.

For any public Discourse site just add /about to the base URL then scroll to the bottom to see site statistics, e.g.


Currently we at have 35 TL3 users, it’s been as high as ~50 but it fluctuates quite a bit.

2023-03-06 15_57_54-Admin - Blender Artists Community

TL3 users get a lot of perks on our site- notably, they get to vote on artwork to be “featured” and receive extended visibility on the top row of the site (this is partially an art-sharing forum). Voting seems to be highly motivating; most users that become TL3 stay TL3, even if they drop off for a period they almost always come back.


Thanks @Joseph_Hansen! It’s really helpful to hear from a bigger / higher-volume site than ours. Did you adjust your TL3 requirements, or are they still at the defaults?


They’re still at the defaults, but it’s a tight-knit community where quite a lot of people visit every day and lots of likes are given/received. We don’t use the reactions plugin, though, so liking is the only option, which may be a factor. I agree that reactions should probably count towards TL3 requirements


Did this lead to something? :grin: I would really love to see this.


Not as far as I know. Not yet…


I think if reactions are activated either the limits for the trust levels must be adjusted or the reactions must be counted into the likes as well.

With only two TL3 users it has to be some reasons. And when I check what is used, reactions are used a lot more often than likes. So this can be the main reason here why almost nobody reaches TL3.

Btw, can I somehow check the already reached requirements for the users and what is missing? Are there e.g. data explorer queries or something like that?

Another question and also to be 100% on this: Can trust levels again be revoked (not talking about manually revoking by admin)? I read something about last 100 days which count into an elevation into the next trust level. Or does the TL stay when reached once? I do not understand 100%.


If anyone reads this, please, if this is going to change to make reactions count, please either make it an optional value in the formula, or let admin to set some “score” for reactions used.

You can check the user’s trust level requirements levels by going to
/admin/users/{user_id}/{username} and scroll to trust level values.

Example of one of user's stats

As for the topic, this question came to mind several times during forum growth for the past couple of years. At first, I found TL3 basic requirements intimidating a bit. Now, going forward, I think default values are totally fine. This brings up a pack of people who we can trust into user to user interactions as we surely know they are truly appreciated by other members and they know their way around the forum (and more in our case), which makes them a nice group of valuable and loyal users.

If you aren’t satisfied with your TL distribution, why don’t you play with some settings? I would suggest understanding the “frequency” of your community. How frequent the messages are? If they are infrequent by your measures, reduce the time window of “tl3 time period”. Adjust the “tl3 requires days visited” accordingly.
May be the “tl3 requires topics replied to” of 10 is too much for your community?
I can continue The settings there are for you to adjust.

tl3 promotion min duration setting is what you’re looking for.


@Roi I published a TL3 gap report about a year ago and have updated it a few times since then: