On July 14, 2011 forums will be moving to a new recognition system. A helpful resource on the recognition system is the Profile and Recognition FAQ and contains a good high level overview of the system and how it works. This blog post is intended to explain to forums users the new recognition system, reasons why we are doing this and how this change impacts forums users. There are a lot of reasons for moving to the new recognition system. A few of these:
Aside from the new model there are a few new features in the implementation.
Users can see more information about any user by mousing over the user display name in any forum's thread. This gives more information about the user including the number of achievements they have earned with links to the user's profile page and a quick link to get to a list of threads the user has contributed to.
Users can visit their profile or the profile for any user to see what that user has been up to. This not only contains what the user has done in the Forums application but also their Profile and Galleries. Soon user participation will also reflect participation on other properties such as Blogs and Wikis.
The new recognition system rewards users with points and achievements. Points are gained by contributing content the community finds valuable. Achievements are gained by users for volume based activity, like posting or answering a lot. Some activities, such as contributing an answer, would give a user points and go towards earning achievements.
Users can gain points by contributing valuable content. The community determines the value by marking posts as answers or voting on posts. There are two key differences in the point rules from the old system to the new one:
Other than self-marking and reply points, the new system point algorithm is similar to the old one. There are a few new areas where a user can gain "bonus" points for contributing an answer quickly or if their contributions get viewed a lot. At a high level the new points algorithm rewards users that provide value to the community as timely and helpful content. Below are some activities which give users points:
Note: Users will gain a more points for providing answers more quickly and when the actual question asker confirms the question.
On July 14th user points will be updated for all users. Users will see new point totals and achievements for the history of their participation in the forums for the past six years. Some users will gain points but most points will be adjusted to a lower value based on the new points algorithm. Two main differences in the new algorithm:
Users that understand these differences but still have points disputes will be able to discuss them at the profile/recognition forum.
Achievements are intended to reward users for effort, based on the quantity of activity and contribution. Achievements are grouped into bronze, silver and gold. Bronze achievements are easiest to get, silver are more difficult and gold achievements are rare and even more difficult to attain.
Bronze - These are mostly entry level achievements welcoming new users into the community. Achievements are gained for first reply, the first time a user confirms an answer to their question and so on.
Silver - These are level based achievements users can gain the more they participate.
Gold - Gold achievements are the more rare achievements the elite users gain.
Users can now visit the test environment, or "CTP", to see how the new recognition model behaves and how the new points and achievements model will look when the changes go live on July 14th. Users should realize this CTP environment is separate from the live production forums. Any participation in CTP will not be factored in to the production launch of recognition. The data used to process users is from June 20th so it is likely some recent activity and points will not be reflected in the CTP environments.
Below are known issues in the CTP environment we intend to address as soon as we can in time for the July 14th release:
Users can post questions about the new recognition system to the Profile and Recognition forum or the Forums Issues forum. The forums team will be reviewing and participating in these forums. Questions asked a lot will be identified and updated in this blog post.