WinCustomize makes use of a tiered user level system, with each level of user having slightly more site access than the one below it. The idea is that as people become more involved in the community, contribute more to the site in terms of skins, or help via the forums, they are rewarded with a higher level. Now, while we have this information hidden away in various spots on the site, we've been getting a lot of questions in the last few months on what the levels are, what they mean, and most importantly how they're awarded.
This is your guide to WC User Levels.
Explanation of Access Levels
Note: Users at higher levels have all the benefits and privileges of the levels below them.
This is a user who has been blocked from using the site. They can not post on the forums, leave comments on skins, vote in polls or download any content from the site. They are essentially banned. Users are exiled for violation of site Terms of Service, for spamming, or for causing significant damage to the community.
Visitors are usually anonymous users. These are people who have not logged in. They can download skins, but have a very low download quota (25mb). They can not comment on skins or post to the forums. A user can be placed at visitor level as an administrative action to block abusive comments or spamming. This punishment renders them unable to participate in discussions, but they can still use the site.
This is the default level for all registered users. A citizen can submit skins, download skins (500mb limit), post comments in the forums and on skins etc. They can also create a personal site and modify their own site/account settings.
A citizen who has submitted skins can be nominated to be promoted to an Apprentice. These are members of the community who have contributed to the skinning community and who make the site better with their presence. Apprentice level and higher can rate skins.
Master Apprentice (3)
Essentially one more step up. They've continued, as an apprentice, to make a meaningful contribution to WinCustomize through their skins, articles or forum posts. This is the last step before Journeyman.
Essentially, journeyman users are super-citizens who have been with WinCustomize and skinning for quite a while. They're both very talented skinners and a very positive element in the community. To become a journeyman you have to be among the top contributors to the site and be in good standing. Because journeymen are such elite skinners, their skins are automatically accepted onto the site without passing through moderation.
Masters are the true elders of the community. People who have been around for ages. To be a Master, not only must the user be a significant contributor to the community, but be a key figure in the ongoing health and growth of the community. A Master must think of WinCustomize as their primary home in the skinning world. Masters, in addition to being able to bypass moderation, can also sell their skins directly to users through WinCustomize.
Volunteers who help run WinCustomize on a day-to-day basis. They assist with skin and forum moderation. They also help users who have questions and in general act as custodians of the site. Wizops ensure the smooth operation of WinCustomize.
Super Wizop (7)
A core group of moderators who have been around the site for a very long time. They have wide-spread administrative powers to help keep everything running smoothly, and to intervene in problems before they get out of hand.
Site overlords. Users at 8 or 9 are almost exclusively Stardock/WinCustomize employees who have oversight responsibilities.
How Users are Promoted
Every month, the site moderators get together and nominate users who they feel should be promoted. Nominated users are then voted on, those who receive a 2/3 majority are promoted, users who do not can be nominated again the following month. Each moderator can vote as they wish, though they are usually asked to provide a reason if they vote "no". The records of these votes/nominations are not available to the public.
Generally, we ask moderators to consider the following things for each access level:
- General: Is the user in good standing? Are they active? Are they a positive presence?
- Apprentice: Have they been with the site for a few months at least? Do they have a good selection of skins?
- Master Apprentice: Have they been with the site for more than just a few months? Is their library significantly larger than when they were promoted to Apprentice? Has the quality of their work improved over time?
- Journeyman: Are they a long-standing member of the community? Have they made a significant contribution to the site in skins and/or forum posts etc. Is their work of a sufficient quality that they can be allowed to post without moderation? (this is a very important thing to consider)
- Master: Are they an "elder" of the community? Is their work of an exceptional level? Do we feel their work is good enough that we are willing to sell it on the front page?
Promotion to moderator is a different matter and usually handled on a case-by-case basis.
It's a lot to take in, but hopefully this clarifies the access levels a bit more, and how people are promoted. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.