Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.
These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.
Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.
The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.
One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Spend time browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.
You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:
- Ad hominem attacks
- Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
- Knee-jerk contradiction
Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.
The conversations we have here set the tone for every new arrival. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.
BestBlackForum provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.
Let’s leave our community better than we found it.
Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.
When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.
In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.
Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:
- Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
- Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
- Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.
- Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.
These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times.
This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.
Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:
- Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
- Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
- Don’t post no-content replies.
- Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
- Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.
Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic.
By default, all new users start out at trust level 0, meaning trust has yet to be earned. These are visitors who just created an account, and are still learning the community norms and the way your community works. New users’ abilities are restricted for safety – both theirs and yours.
(We also want to hide any “advanced” functionality from new users to make the UI less confusing for them as they gain more experience.)
Users at trust level 0 cannot …
- Send personal messages to other users
- “Reply as new topic” via Link button (UI removed)
- Flag posts
- Post more than 1 image
- 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 more than 3 topics
- Post more than 10 replies
Admins can change these limitations by searching for
first_day in site settings.
At BestBlackForum, we believe reading is the most fundamental and healthy action in any community. If a new user is willing to spend a little time reading, they will quickly be promoted to the first trust level.
Get to trust level 1 by…
- Entering at least 5 topics
- Reading at least 30 posts
- Spend a total of 10 minutes reading posts
Users at trust level 1 can…
- Use all core BestBlackForum functions; all new user restrictions are removed
- Send PMs
- Upload images and attachments if enabled
- Edit wiki posts
- Flag posts
Admins can change these thresholds by searching for
tl1 in site settings.
Members keep coming back to your community over a series of weeks; they have not only read, but actively participated long and consistently enough to be trusted with full citizenship.
Get to trust level 2 by…
- Visiting at least 15 days, not sequentially
- Casting 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
- Spend a total of 60 minutes reading posts
Users at trust level 2 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
- Daily like limit increased by 1.5×
Admins can change these thresholds by searching for
tl2 in site settings.
Regulars are the backbone of your community, the most active readers and reliable contributors over a period of months, even years. Because they’re always around, they can be further trusted to help tidy up and organize the community.
To get to trust level 3, in the last 100 days…
- Must have visited at least 50% of days
- Must have replied to at least 10 different topics
- Of topics created in the last 100 days, must have viewed 25% (capped at 500)
- Of posts created in the last 100 days, must have read 25% (capped at 20k)
- Must have received 20 likes, and given 30 likes.*
- Must not have received more than 5 spam or offensive flags (with unique posts and unique users for each, confirmed by a moderator)
- Must not have been suspended or silenced
* These likes must be across a minimum number of different users (1/5 the number), across a minimum number of different days (1/4 the number). Likes cannot be from PMs.
All of the above criteria must be true to achieve trust level 3. Furthermore, unlike other trust levels, you can lose trust level 3 status . If you dip below these requirements in the last 100 days, you will be demoted back to Member. However, in order to avoid constant promotion/demotion situations, there is a 2-week grace period immediately after gaining Trust Level 3 during which you will not be demoted.
Users at trust level 3 can…
- Recategorize and rename topics
- Access a secure category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher
- Have all their links followed (we remove automatic nofollow)
- TL3 spam flags cast on TL0 user posts immediately hide the post
- TL3 flags cast on TL0 user posts in sufficient diversity will auto-silence the user and hide all their posts
- Make their own posts wiki (that is, editable by any TL1+ users)
- Daily like limit increased by 2×
Admins can change these thresholds by searching for TL3 in site settings.
Leaders are regulars who have been around forever and seen everything. They set a positive example for the community through their actions and their posts. If you need advice, these are the folks you turn to first, and they’ve earned the highest level of community trust, such that they are almost moderators within the community already.
Get to trust level 4 by…
- Manual promotion by staff only
- (Possibly via a to-be-developed election system in the future)
Users at trust level 4 can…
- Edit all posts
- Pin/unpin topic
- Close topics
- Archive topics
- Make topics unlisted
- Split and merge topics
- Reset topic bump date
- Daily like limit increased by 3×
- Any TL4 flag cast on any post immediately takes effect and hides the target post
We believe this trust system has been a success so far, as it leads to stronger, more sustainable communities by carefully empowering members, regulars, and leaders to curate and lead their own communities. But like everything else in BestBlackForum, the trust system is evolving over time as we gain more experience with more communities. We’ll continue to update this post with any changes.
This site is operated by your friendly local staff and you, the community. If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss! If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a meta topic or flag, contact us via the staff page.
Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.
Any questions left unanswered?
ask them freely