Note Feb 2020: trust levels were renamed from New Member, Member to Member, Regular. The first post has been edited to reflect these changes, but the replies have not.
Earlier this year, we announced the automation of some Developer Forum roles, namely Visitor to Member. This method of automated entry replaced the Developer Forum application-based entry system and has proven to be quite successful in allowing developers sufficiently quick entry to the forum.
In that announcement, we also mentioned that we were looking into criteria for promoting Members to the Regular role. After much planning, discussion, and testing, we believe we have found the ideal criteria for determining automatic promotions to Regular. We are pleased with the results and ready to launch this new automation.
Automation is necessary to scale with the continually rapid growth of our developer community. This new system for Member to Regular promotions will replace a slow, inconsistent process and ensure that there is a reasonable path to progression for any member of our community.
We expect an increased quality of discussions with the increase in Regulars; naturally, promoting outstanding Members who are consistently posting quality content should lead to more discussions and higher quality discussions with more contributions.
Here are some questions that we anticipate being asked regarding this topic along with their answers:
Q: How do I get promoted to Regular?
A: Active developers who consistently and appropriately use the Developer Forum will be eligible for automatic promotion. These promotions are not awarded easily, and one must be in good moderation standing within the Developer Forum to be promoted. We have carefully chosen the automation criteria with fairness and reason in mind.
In addition, forum leadership will periodically review every Member who is close to meeting the criteria but has a forum moderation history preventing their promotion. If it is determined that they have been consistently active and their moderation is reasonably outdated, that user will be promoted. This means you can still get promoted even if you have a moderation history.
Q: Will Regulars who do not meet the automatic promotion criteria be demoted to Member?
A: No, nobody will lose their membership status as a result of this change.
Q: What is the specific criteria for automated promotion to Regular?
A: We will not be stating the exact numbers or criteria needed to receive the Regular role automatically as we don’t want to encourage any attempts at gaming the system.
Q: What was wrong with the previous procedure? Isn’t hand-picking Regulars better?
A: Manual processes tend to have many unfortunate side effects as communities grow. With ours growing so rapidly, we can no longer dedicate time to deliberating on the promotion of every individual developer.
We are going to continue removing manual processes from the Developer Forum. The next areas we’re looking into addressing are the ways we recognize and reward developers who make great contributions, namely the Top Contributor program.
Q: How many people were immediately promoted based on this criteria?
A: Less than 50. That’s less than 1% of our current Members. There are several developers who are close to the promotion criteria as well, so the numbers are definitely obtainable. Our tip for reaching these numbers would just be to post consistently, be helpful and make quality contributions to discussions and support threads, and stay within the rules.
This automated promotion system is live now. We will be carefully watching to ensure that it operates with maximum efficiency. We are confident that this automation will work as intended without incident, but we will undo any erroneous promotions should the need arise - we will be able to easily tell if an automatic promotion should not have been given.