Hello, everyone! I'm making this thread today to explain who these people with titles next to their names that you might have seen around the forums are.
Recently we've been getting a lot of questions asking us about who each of us are, why we have the titles, how you get these titles, etc. We've also got several requests to do certain things that are simply not within our power, so hopefully this thread clears things up for everyone.
Most everything here is also explained via this link, but most people don't know about it, so this post will explain everything more in the context of how we do things here on Hummingbird, and not Discourse in general.
First off, we have things called "Trust Levels" here on the forums, and each and everyone of us (save the staff) fall into one of these levels. These levels start at 0 and end at 4 and will be explained below:
Trust Level 0 aka "New"
This is the level you start out in. Because you are new, you aren't quite given every feature of the forums just yet, and are only given the essential features required to browse and post in the forums.
Users at this level cannot...
- Send private messages to other users
- Reply as new topic in the right gutter (UI removed)
- Flag posts
- Post any images
- Post any attachments
- Post more than 2 hyperlinks in a post
- Have actual links in the 'about me' field of their profile (will be silently and temporarily converted to plain text)
- Mention more than 2 users in a post
- Post in the same topic more than 3 times.
Trust Level 1 aka "Basic"
To achieve trust level one, users must do the following:
- Enter at least 5 topics
- Read at least 30 posts
- Spend a total of 10 minutes reading posts
At Trust Level 1 you get all of the restrictions of Level 0 removed, and you are now free to use all of the core functions of Discourse (aka everything you need to make a post or a topic).
Trust Level 2 aka "Regular"
Between this level and Trust Level 1 are where the mass majority of forum users are found. You will reach this Trust Level by doing the following:
- Visiting at least 15 days (do not have to be consecutively)
- Giving at least 1 like
- Receiving at least 1 like
- Replying to at least 3 different topics
- Entering at least 20 topics
- Reading at least 100 posts
- Spending a total of 60 minutes reading posts.
It sounds like a lot, but it's basically saying, "Hey, just be a part of the forums and the community!"
Users at this level can:
- Use the "Invite others to this topic" button for one-click onboarding of new users to participate in topics
- Invite outside users to PMs making a group PM
These features are rarely ever used, so don't worry too much if you don't know what they are.
Trust Level 3 aka "Senpai"
This was formerly known as "Leader" and "Veteran" here on HB, but it has since been changed to "Senpai." You only reach this title by manual promotion by the staff. Being an active user and posting a lot in the forums does not necessarily mean you are trustworthy enough to bear the title "Senpai." If that were the case, then you could earn the badge by being a complete jerk to everyone on the forums. That's definitely NOT what we're looking for when we decide that we're in need of a few new Trust Level 3 users. In fact, some of our Senpai rarely post, but help out from the shadows.
I can't tell you exactly what it takes to reach this level, but it's basically saying we trust you as a user to help out around the forums and make wise decisions when doing so.
Currently those at this level are the following users:
@Alty (May have the "Contributor" title next to his name)
@wopian (May have the "Great Contributor" title next to his name)
Users at this level can:
- Edit topic titles
- Move topics to another category
- Have access to the Lounge and Attention! categories (Users of Trust Levels 0-2 cannot see topics made in or moved to one of these categories.)
The Lounge Category is really only used to discuss important things amongst the higher Trust Levels.
Topics that are moved to the Attention! category almost always fall into one of these two situations:
- The thread requires deletion
- The thread has become problematic and no one with the ability to lock or edit content within said thread is online (this almost never happens).
Users at this Level who become inactive or can no longer help around the forums for any reason can be demoted back to Trust Level 2.
SENPAI CANNOT LOCK THREADS
They will, however, make use of removing threads from the public eye via the Attention! board
Trust Level 4 aka "Elder"
This is the last trust level and can only be reached through promotion from Veteran by staff which, again, I can't positively tell you exactly what it takes to achieve this level.
Currently there are four Elders on the forums:
Users at this level can:
Lock topics (A thread can no longer be posted in)
Archive topics (A thread cannot be changed in anyway)
Make topics invisible (A thread will no longer appear in the forums page and can only be accessed via direct link)
Pin topics (A thread will always appear at the top of its respective category until it is unpinned or manually unpinned by the user)
Pin topics globally (A thread will appear at the top of the main forum page until it is unpinned or manually unpinned by the user)
Move posts (Posts are moved from one thread to another)
Auto close a topic (A timer is set to lock a thread automatically after a specified amount of time.)
ELDERS CANNOT DELETE THREADS, DELETE POSTS, OR BAN USERS
We will, however, move entire threads or individual comments to the Attention! board to be looked at by ryn if we see it fit to do so.
How Senpai and Elders Are Chosen
There has to be a need for more. If there is not a need, no new Senpai or Elders will be appointed. Too many users with the abilities granted with the higher trust level badges isn't necessarily a good thing.
You have to prove you are capable of being trusted with the responsibility that comes with these titles not only to the admins, but to those already appointed with the Senpai and Elder titles. Ryn doesn't just pick someone he thinks is worthy of the title. He does consult the already trusted users on who they believe should or should not be given the title. This does not mean you try to flatter us or (constantly) back-seat moderate. Instead, try being a productive and helpful member when you can. Don't be overly rude to others, do no try to get a thread locked on purpose, etc. Simply be a good, productive member of the community.
If the Elders have moderator powers, then the staff have administrator powers. These are the people in charge, and they have all of the abilities listed above and then some. I can't say for sure exactly everything the Staff can do, but I can tell you this: They are the ones that do the banning and deleting, NOT the Elders or Senpai. They also have power on the main site as well.
You can view who the staff are here under Question #10. You won't be seeing all of them post in the forums as some of them are inactive or focus working specifically on the main site instead of the forums.
The main forum moderator would be Ryn, and if you ever need moderator powers, you can @ mention him or one of the Elders in your post (just be sure it can't be solved peacefully in another manner).
There you have it! I hope this clears up most of the questions that have recently been lingering around the forums regarding this topic. Have a nice day!