I've been asked about this many times, more so recently, both in public, chat, and in private. I figure it's best to have this discussion openly with our membership and to collectively decide how we, as a community, wish this to operate.
There are pro's and con's as there always are, but if we make the decision together not only will we all know how it works, but it will foster more connectedness when reputation is given - for better or worse. Coincidentally, it'll help all of us educate the incoming new members.
The current reputation system is in "Likes" only mode, wherein likes are treated as positive reputation. Every member group has a limited number of likes for every 24-hour period. These limitations were put into place so that giving someone positive reputation means a lot as they are in limited supply. Each rep you give has more value, and reputation, therefore, should be taken as such. It's akin to a digital currency. The following groups have the specified amount of positive rep available:
- Free Members - 15
- All VIP Members - 20
- Moderators - 40
- App Admins - 50
- Site Admins - 100
These numbers were chosen arbitrarily as simply limiting and evaluating. The issue is that people treat likes as they do on many other social media platforms, and not as a reputation or that they are limited in any way. This causes folks to be less careful and just like things to give the hat tip to the author. All this means they run out of likes until the following day.
There exists another mode that allows us to provide both positive and negative reputation. If something is good, rep it, if it's not good, don't rep it -- however, if it's truly a horrible post/article/blog, or lacks credibility, is spam, etc then down-vote it. While I did set the system up for this it's not something that we have chosen to turn on. The settings are as follows: (positive/negative)
- Free Members - 15/5
- All VIP Members - 20/10
- Moderators - 40/20
- App Admins - 50/25
- Site Admins - 100/100
Now for the thoughts behind setting the system up the way it is. The "Likes Only" setting was chosen because we, as a community, were a little rough around the edges. Then after Hippie3 passed we suffered through a mini-dark age with lots of rampant negativity. That is not a place from which I would choose to promote any further negativity with a "dis-like" system, even if limited.
In the last 16 or so years lots of growing has occurred. I feel like the vibe has really mellowed out in the last couple of years and we've had a lot of positive feedback for the changes that have been made, including how we are organized and how we keep the ship righted. As we approach a new golden age I have no doubts that this place will be a vibrant beacon in the dark. That Mycotopia will thrive like it never has before as it comes into its own time, it's prime era, when people need her the most.
For these reasons I'm open to discussion on which system we choose to implement. In the spirit of positivity, I'm ok with keeping it a "likes only" system, but if ya'll think we're mature enough as a community to responsibly handle - and properly define - the negative reputation, then I'm ok turning it on. We can also simply re-configure the number of reps you're allowed to give.
My vote either way is that we still choose to limit both positive and negative reputation in order to give it more meaning, and hopefully persuade more thought when giving it.
The last part of this involves an opinion on what "positive" and "negative" reputation means, and does, throughout the site. Currently there aren't many features turned on, as we are in positive rep only mode, but once we begin truly using this as reputation it can become a kind of social currency. High rep'd folks will become, by nature, more senior among the community. The opinions being valued slightly more than lower rep'd folks. It's not meant to create a hierarchy of social status, but a hierarchy of knowledge and communal rights of passage. To say that reputation means something to people, it should seem common sense, but it's not always so common.
The other distinction is that we're not rep'ing people for who they are, we're rep'ing content that person has produced. Your positive reputation speaks for your contributions of spirit to this community.
There are also options that you cannot give rep unless you've received it, and also a modification that just turns the reputation "number" into a "progress bar" like image denoting how much rep you have out of how much rep. I guess this makes it easier to spot and understand how much rep exists.
ALL GOOD POINTS! I'm anxious to here your thoughts on this system.