This forum lets us create, er, ranks.
You know – if you post 10, 25, 100 or 500 times (or whatever), you get a special label next to your name. Like 'Swashbuckling Copywriter'. Or 'Fluffykittenypoos'.
Do you think it would be fun to use them? Or a complete faux pas?
And if you do think it would be fun, what should we call the ranks? (The word 'guru' is banned, by the way).
Thoughts please. Ruthless and funny ones particularly appreciated…
To answer your question, Ben, I wouldn't be clamouring to have ranks, though wouldn't particularly object to them either.
I run another (non-business) forum and frequent a number of others. Ranks tend to be a bit irrelevant to things and whilst they can seem an incentive to post, I'm not sure they actually are and the downside is they can make new members feel a bit small and less significant.
So the funnier ones are the way to go if you adopt them, but the danger there is they can seem bemusing to anyone unfamiliar with the forum.
So I suggest a specific forum title for me: 'Wet Blanket'.
…There was going to be a winking smiley at this point but they don't seem to be working.
Yup. Wet Blanket.
I also run a forum (not business related) and had member ranks for a long time. After my forum was hacked, I had to remove the ranks when i tried to migrate to better forum software. To this day the members are still bemoaning the absence of their ranks.
I think if you try to make it a bit of a fun rather than a judgement on someone's experience or ability it can work. If it's more a reflection of how active someone is in this community, then it might even be good.
Ranks do serve a purpose.
The company I work for gets a lot of abuse from the sort of people who run a "business" from their mum's attic (it prompted me to write this: http://www.unmemorabletitle.co…..s-success/)
All these people post on a single business forum. Which is useful, because the higher the rank, the less chance there is of them actually finding the time to spout their crap anywhere else, or of them actually finding a client to badmouth us to.
Without wishing to plagiarise other sites, Stack Overflow have a good system which allows users to get extra points for good or useful posts. I also like getting Foursquare badges which reward specific types of behaviour such as drinking in lots of coffee shops. Perhaps this could be adapted to forum users? For example, if I go through every topic and add a response I could win a 'know-it-all' badge or maybe a 'forum addict' badge?
Not sure how easy these ideas might be to implement but I think it could potentially be useful and fun.
Sorry to be the dissenting voice here but I can't stand forum ranks.
Just because someone posts a lot doesn't mean they have anything useful to say, or that they deserve my unqualified respect. But bestowing an (arguably) arbitrary award on someone implies that they do.
The whole point of forums is that everyone's opinion is equally valuable, whether one agrees with it or not. They're not supposed to be competitions or ego factories. The tacit 'I'm the boss around here' implication gets my goat every time, and I've seen enough forum bores waving their badges of honour in everyone's faces to put me right off posting comments for life.
After all, 'I'm a big forum ranker' is just a typo away from something far more telling…
My suggestion would be a 'usefulness' rank. Users get to vote on how, well, useful individual posts/comments are. Crucially, you're ranking the comment not the user and most popular comments can be displayed weekly/daily/whatever for everyone's consumption.
This encourages solid thinking and effective collaboration, and makes it easy for everyone to have a positive impact regardless of their level of general forum activity.
Just a thought.
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