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So far our cardinal focus has been:
(Comments given) / (Comments Received)
But which other factors would you include?
The only time people complained about it was when they made a statement about somthing controvertial... but thats just comon scence if you want your "karma" rating to be high.
A few other imperfect but possible criteria:
- average length of posts
- average number of posts in threads started by member
- moderator-awarded points (i.e., mod sees someone being helpful or insightful and gives bonus points; perhaps not visible to members)
Other things also contribute to rank... login regularity, age of account, use of certain functionality, etc. all feed into an internal point system.
Some experts argue hard against rank, calling it a distraction and making a "game" out of your forum. I happen to like it and think it builds community, personally. It also helps keep behavior under control, since if your account is deleted you lose your rank and start over if you try to sign up again. It's also a measure of trust, e.g. you might reward higher-rank members with additional functionality or greater ability to rate others, moderate, etc.
Unless you have an exceptionally well-mannered and mature membership, though, I can imagine "click rings" of a few members who click each others buttons to inflate ratings.
You'd probably need some kind of tracking system anyway (to prevent self-clicks and repeated clicks by the same member), so a few thoughts for limiting the fraud potential come to mind:
- limit on "thanks clicks" per time period, e.g., no more than two per day
- limit on "thanks clicks" one individual can bestow on another individual, e.g., up to three. (Thus, if I have 30 points, one can be assured that 29 of them didn't come from a single buddy.)
In the democracy of point assignment what are the statistics for those who actively participate, those who sometimes or rarely participate and those who never participate?
I would think that IF participation stats are skewed then it would be problematic to limit the awarding of points or voting without consideration of the statistical spread regarding participation.
IF 50% don't bother to vote or do so rarely and another 20% only vote occasionally, then should the considerations about "over voting" for the remaining 30% rule the decision making process OR, if 30% are actually taking the time to take the extra step to show approval - WELL, then what?
IF the ratio of active voters to non-active voters is 1 active to 5 inactive/rarely then maybe instead of saying "you can only vote 1 in 20 times for the same person" perhaps it should be 1 in 5 times.
Sometimes it's only fair that if 20% of the people are actively engaged in whatever process that they should then be granted or assigned 80% of the "whatever". Don't limit the 20% by virtue of skewed stats that include the indifference of the other 80T%.
Of course, depending on how you model the voting rights system, you may find 80% not voting because they feel the system is broken from the start, such as unlimited voting allowing certain members to skew the voting.
"Oh, the troubles and labors of building a working democracy!" (From: "Memoir of an Ex Small Town Mayor", by Webwork.)
Interesting discussion, though.