I’ve been telling people to “direct message me” to, e.g., volunteer to moderate sessions at the PCW, and was recently reminded that new accounts have “trust level 0” and cannot send direct messages (see the link below for a full description of trust levels).
Trust levels exist for security reasons. To “level up” from 0 to 1 is relatively easy: enter (view) at least 5 topics, read at least 30 posts (topics or replies), and spend a total of 10 minutes reading.
For now, doing the 10 minutes of reading is the recommended way to “level up” your account to “trust level 1” (which includes all the basic functions of the forum). In a pinch, a forum administrator (e.g., me) can upgrade your trust level. Happy to do so.
Rubin staff will be be considering changes to the trust levels in the future (as has been discussed in other Meta category topics).
This blog post contains all the details of trust levels and their functionality.