Over the course of the past few days, it's been apparent that we've been having a few problems with the Reputation system. While these problems need to be fixed, that isn't my subject content right now.
My desire to create this thread stemmed primarily from two sources. First, the thread is bedwetting all that bad.., created by jter42.
The second source is the blog entry Damn you all, created by Point Blanch.
Both of these threads indicate that people are unhappy with the use of the Reputation system, as well as the level of awareness that the average ADISC member has regarding the Reputation system.
Furthermore, this thread is in the Mature Topics because I want to keep a mature conversation in here. A true discussion of what the Reputation system is. I would also like members to enter this thread will a previously established "mature" mindset towards the subject.
So, what is Reputation? What is the Reputation System?
How should the Reputation System be used? How is it currently being abused?
What does Reputation mean to a person? Is it important, or just code on a desktop?
Perhaps a few people want to say, "Hey, some of these questions are already up and posted by moderators. Why not just read those?"
My reply is that while some of these answers are in those types of threads, they clearly are not being read, or they're being forgotten, so this will be useful.
This is also a medium of discussion. The official thread only discusses Reputation as "What one should do" and "What one shouldn't do". Not what people think of it or what it means to them. This sort of thing should be discussed, and it's surprising that it hasn't already been discussed in the last year. No one finds it a bit strange that a community could go an entire lifespan (albeit only a year in length) without discussing a system that they all use, and that many posts revolve around? (This may be a hyperbole, as I've not done a thorough search of the forums to see if my claim is true. But I have searched a bit, and haven't found any other threads like this as of yet.)
My point is, the Reputation system is something that we all use, some of us don't care about it as much as others, but it's still there.
What do you think it means?
Here's my belief.
Reputation is an indicator of a person's ability to carefully put together a helpful, encouraging, spirit-lifting, or otherwise enjoyable post. If a person receives positive reputation, he or she has posted something that was viewed as helpful, or interesting, or funny, or some other positive quality. If a person receives negative reputation, he or she has posted something thoughtless, or hurtful, or spiteful, or some other negative quality. Negative reputation does not mean that the person posting is a bad person. It means that they are having difficulty understanding the rules, or controlling themselves, or assimilating themselves into the community, or making themselves understood.
The Reputation system is a network of positive and negative reputation sharing which reflects the credibility of a person's posts among a forum or forums. It allows a member to give a particular post of another member positive, neutral (A form of reputation that I feel many members are unaware of), or negative reputation, along with a comment as to why such reputation was given. The system can either be accurate, or flawed, and is moderated because of that. Whether or not the moderation is successful is a matter of opinion.
The Reputation system should be used as an attempt to correct undesirable behavior, or commend desirable behavior displayed within a post. To clarify, positive reputation should be used to commend, and neutral reputation should be used to correct behavior. Negative reputation, when used at all, should only be used to reprimand the blatant disregard of previous attempts to correct or make one aware of undesirable behavior.
The Reputation is currently being abused due to the reasoning behind the giving of reputation. Negative reputation is being given when neutral reputation should be used. The judgment of others is overly critical and such high standards are being reflected in Reputation system. Negative reputation is being given for things that should have been given more thought. More effort in understanding the relevancy of the post before the negative reputation was given. Negative reputation is being given for first-time offenses, where neutral reputation with a comment on what should be fixed would be more than suitable. Lastly, the Reputation system is being used as a means of revenge. It is being treated as a game. Negative reputation is being used to punish a person for things that do not reflect his or her behavior in a post. Negative reputation is being assigned to posts that do not deserve it, simply because it is believed that the person deserved the negative reputation out of spite, or a means of bullying in order to make one feel better about oneself.
To me, Reputation is very important. It reflects what others in the community think of my input, and it gives me a good feeling when I see such comments regarding my posts. I enjoy the feeling that I get knowing that other members appreciate my addition to threads, and to the community as a whole. Where I to receive a negative reputation, I would need a very detailed reason as to why, and I would want to do my best to understand what I'd done to deserve such a reprimand, in the eyes of whichever member(s), and to learn from it. If I was given a negative reputation out of spite, I would be disappointed in the member abusing the Reputation system, and would be upset the the Reputation system could be used for such a spiteful reason.
All in all, the Reputation system is one that can make a person feel very good, or very bad. It can be used to commend people for positive input, or reprimand people for negative input. What it should be used for is primarily to commend for positive input, and then to make one aware of his or her own negative qualities without reprimanding said person.
What does Reputation, and the Reputation system mean to you? What are your responses to the questions above? Why do you feel that way, and by all means, state any other relevant opinion or fact that you have.