It varies. Much more is required of one who wants to become a master here. Helpfulness in the forums helps, as well as attitude and community involvement. Sharing for free first is a must as well.
Here is a quote from a locked thread that explains it more. There are other threads as well.
On WinCustomize.com we have a ranking system. Each member has a level that they begin with, and, throughout their membership, is promoted to higher rankings which can mean added benefits and privileges. Some examples of these privileges are uploading without moderation and the ability to actually sell skins on WinCustomize. Promotions are given to members who display superior skinning techniques first, after all this is a community skinning site and that is obviously the criteria we first look. Of course community participation is also factored in, but ultimately skinning is what is important here.
Summary of Levels on WinCustomize:
- Exile and Visitors: These are the two bottom levels of WC. Exile is reserved for spammers, pirates, and people who don’t obey the rules of the site. Visitors are limited users that can’t post on the forums, and can only download a very limited amount of skins.
- Citizen: This is where many are, and generally a user of the site would be at this level as someone who has registered with the site, and has a moderate download cap on their accounts. They can also participate the on the forums and submit skins to WinCustomize. Note: Customer levels are different, so you can be a Citizen and a Subscriber at the same time.
- Apprentice/Master Apprentice: If you are a regular contributor of skins and themes to WinCustomize, then Apprentice would be the first rank you achieve on the site. Master Apprentice is the next level for those who continue to contribute to the site.
- Journeyman: This is respected ranking on WinCustomize as you have been determined and voted upon based on your skinning ability and quality contributions. These are users who we trust to upload without moderation, which means their skins go directly into the gallery without the approval of a moderator.
- Master: This is the highest ranking that can be achieved by members, and will be achieved by skinners who show outstanding skinning ability and contribution to WinCustomize. Being a Master Skinner gives you the ability to sell your skins on WinCustomize.
As you might know, WinCustomize is a moderated skinning site, which means we evaluate skins that are submitted and decide whether or not they make it into the general galleries. This basically comes down to quality control to ensure that we have quality works in our galleries. Over the past several weeks we have been taking a hard look at the state of the current galleries and reading members concerns in the forums and via e-mail.
We have found that some submissions have been of lower quality, and that quantity has become a prerequisite over quality. Going forward we will be increasing moderation in order to maintain our quality levels. Members that have ranks which allow un-moderated uploads will also be held to these standards. If it is decided that quality is not to our standards, members can and will go back to moderated status until improvements are seen. This step will enforce the legitimacy of rankings, and will also allow us to make sure that all artists are able to submit quality work and not get buried in the library. A demotion will not be seen as a punishment toward a member (unless it is for spamming) yet a natural flow of promotions and demotions to keep everyone at their deserved ranking. Any person that is demoted will be eligible for promotion once their quality increases.
The staff at WinCustomize does want to thank our members for their contributions – you make the site what it is today. We just want to ensure that WinCustomize remains the site that people go to for quality skins, and we want to make sure that every artist has a chance to have their quality work be seen.