Rename trust levels

Hi there,
Is it possible for the owner or admin to rename the category title of the levels? For example, edit or change “Discourse offers five user trust levels” to “Discourse offers five user activity levels or active engagement levels”

Discourse content’s thematic intention is to track and count engaged participation. All the indicators recorded are evidence of tasks. I believe people are trustworthy, and using the term trust system is simply a misnomer. There are better terms.
Thanks and Cheers in Solidarity,
Tony Budak


You can Customize any text in Discourse


You can indeed. :+1: Though I think Trust Levels are referenced in a lot of places, so it may be a big job to go through each field and change them manually.

By default, I’d say the Trust Levels are about a certain element of trust in that the extra abilities they confer wouldn’t be granted to just anyone. It takes about 10 minutes or so with a little light reading to get to TL1, which filters out a lot of spammers and bots, etc - and about two weeks to get to TL2, which is a good time to absorb the different culture and rules of the forum you’ve joined. Having them based on how much you’ve read and engaged with the site is generally a good indicator of how well you know it, and how much you can be trusted to use those extra perks to benefit the community you’re now a part of.


The term trust to record and indicate active task engagement evidence is misleading and prevents community convenors from becoming Discourse doers. I do want to use Discourse but my network members respond as follows:

Too much!
Each time bank vets and fully trusts members as they please, then takes action if there is an unlikely problem.
Note: Discourse has a trust level Zero, then obfuscates it by pushing everyone into TL-1 “to promote community growth.” Laughable.
It’s a maze I have no interest in running.

Indeed, this platform is at odds with the core economy values of time banking which is that people ARE trustworthy! I am happy to report that this assertion has by and large proven to be true and that in decades of work in community development in various forms it has proven to be mostly true.

I do not believe you can build trust from behind a computer keyboard. Human beings need to meet face to face and communities grow at the sped of trust. Love.

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Well, there is different kind of trusts, as you know. I can trust on you so much I let you publish what you want. But I still don’t give you access to admin side. Or lend money to you.

There is alway options

  • change term trust
  • lock everyone on what ever trust level

Name of limitations is quite unrelevant, but those limits are there. Everywhere and all the time.

But nice if you don’t have had any issues with bots and spammers.

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Please reread the above subject field.
The issue is the content and naming language written in the user interface. I’m referring to the instructions and description language written to explain what Discourse is about.

The actual fact is that the Discourse system is tracking Key Performance Indicators. It is not recording Trust. The Discourse application collects evidence of work tasks. The problem is calling those stages Trust Levels when they are not. Each level is a journal entry of the number of participation events or completed tasks.

This language issue just prevented three experienced community organizers from exploring adding Discourse to three different network clusters and as well my own network node. That’s four lost user bases. I feel there are many more. Please take this miscommunication problem to someone in charge for serious evaluation?

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While it’s obviously disappointing that the Trust Level nomenclature has dissuaded you from exploring Discourse further, there are plenty of existing sites that are more enthusiastic about the terminology and are using it in practice to great effect.

If it’s the name rather than the mechanic that’s putting you off it is certainly possible (with a little effort) to change it for your site using the /admin/customize/texts option, and if it is the mechanic itself then there are also admin settings you can adjust to tailor it for your site too.

Hopefully Discourse’s customizability can win you over if you give it a try. :slightly_smiling_face:


Would it be possible to create a rails script that would search & replace trust level among all translatable strings?


It’s possible to build trust from behind a computer keyboard, but I agree with you that Discourse trust levels are tracking levels of engagement with a forum, they aren’t an indication of trust in the normal human sense. As an example, due to time constraints, I’m unlikely to achieve trust level 3 on this forum in the near future, but I’m fairly sure there are members of this community who trust me, based on our previous interactions.

Probably the best way to do that is by posting about the issue here. What you’re asking for isn’t a trivial change though.

I’ve come across situations in the past where the use of the term ‘trust level’ has been an issue. For example, when a forum is setup for trusted (in the normal human sense) clients of a business. As others have noted, the best way to deal with this for now is to customize your site’s text from its Admin / Customize / Text page. If you run into any issues making that change, I trust that someone on this forum will be happy to give you a hand.


It seems that many of the issues that arise from using the word “trust” come from already established communities (existing forums, organizations, businesses, etc) where members feel slighted that they’re initially placed in a lower trust level… does that seem accurate?

The trust level system was largely built with new members of a community in mind; someone who has perhaps just stumbled across a forum from a web search. From an admin’s perspective these are people who can’t be trusted to understand how to interact with a community without having engaged with it for at least some small amount of time.

Without some slight engagement first, a new member may miss many of the spoken and unspoken rules when it comes to participating. To parallel a community that meets in-person, this might be the equivalent of attending public meetings and listening before submitting an item for the agenda that occupies a significant portion of everyone else’s time.

Additionally in the context of the web, without the cost of time there’s very little friction between a spammer or troll and their ability to harm a community — there are a number of Discourse admins that have discovered this the hard way by altering their settings in a way that assumes higher trust of all new members.

Discourse has been using “trust” in this way for nearly a decade, and I suspect there’s little appetite to change the default terminology. I agree there’s still room for improvement though… in the case of a semantic impasse I imagine we could make it easier to globally change the phrase “trust level” so it’s a one-step process instead of a manual find-and-replace exercise. In the case of established communities that are new to Discourse… perhaps there’s a way to make it easier to start off with higher trust levels for existing members? there are already some settings/processes that can help with this but for a new admin they may be too hard to discover.


We could probably achieve something with more up-front education on the concept of trust in the context of Discourse. The original blog post does a pretty good job of positioning it, maybe something similar needs to appear during on-boarding?

It’s unfortunate that user(s) decided their interpretation of the term was so inflexible that they wouldn’t engage on the topic, but that doesn’t automatically mean that the implementation is incorrect. The concept of software trusting users isn’t a new one, and can be seen in all kinds of places including spell checkers and CAPTCHA.

There’s a good opportunity for education here on both sides, if people are willing to engage.


PLEASE respond to the Subject which is Rename category title and edit user interface

Is it possible for the owner or admin to rename the category title of the levels? For example, edit or change “Discourse offers five user trust levels” to “Discourse offers five user activity levels or active engagement levels”

Those a Key Performance Indicators are the number of work TASKS not anything as subjective as trust.

Discourse content’s thematic intention is to track and count engaged participation. All the indicators recorded are evidence of tasks. I believe people are trustworthy, and using the term trust system is simply a misnomer. There are better terms.

As I said

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Please note that I’ve renamed this topic, as you appear to be confusing categories with trust levels, these are fundamentally different things. Categories are the default means by which discussion topics are held and presented. They have nothing to do with the levels of trust given to users based on their activity.

You’ve already had several responses on this - I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to copy and paste your original post. Either way, it’s not for you to police the discussion.

Maybe you aren’t open to the interpretation that’s intended here, but it doesn’t make it wrong, trust levels are a long-established convention that have proven to be highly effective.

Again, to reiterate: trust levels in the context of Discourse refer to the expansion of user capabilities over time, to prevent (un)intentional misuse. Trust is measured and earned between user and software for the good of the community.

If you operate a private community and have no such need for trust levels there are ways to disable the system entirely. You can also employ groups which automatically award minimum trust levels and use other groups, titles, and flair to attach other status to your users. These approaches aren’t mutually exclusive.


It sounds like the issue is that you have already vetted your users and should start them at TL1 or TL2. It sounds like the problem isnt’ what they are called, but that you are defaulting to TL0

You can try to change the words if you want, but I think the issue is not just the words.

A bunch of effort has gone into making these trust levels thwart spammers without annoying actual users. It mostly works. If your community is different, then you will need to tweak the settings that control the trust levels.

As discussed, you can rename them, but it will be really difficult, as those words are used in a bunch of places, and then your community will be the only one in the world that uses those words, which will make it difficult for anyone to come here and get help.