One of the things I love about being a best practices manager for a SaaS company is how we are constantly learning and refining what we know. Even though we've been building and managing successful communities for over 10 years, we are always finding out new things from our customers or finding new ways to look at old topics.
A case in point: Reputation. We used to think that every community was unique on how they should set up their ranks, the more creative the better. And for some communities, particularly gaming communities, this strategy works very well. But early on we noticed an interesting trend: the higher the member traveled up the rank structure, the more serious they became about the rank they were given. In some cases we saw members putting these achievements on their resumes! So while creativity is still good, the upper ranks had to be meaningful for these members.
Stemming from our original ideas about creativity, our product defaults at first began with just 7 ranks to cover the different areas of progression, the idea being that you start with a framework and then fill it in with your own creative names and progressions. But while some of our customers went to town with their rank structure, others were content to rename the existing ranks and leave the structure more or less intact. What we saw was a pretty dramatic difference between these two approaches over time:
To be clear, we haven't shown a clear causal relationship between these two factors but it was very interesting to see that happen across so many communities. And using this information we have been able to redesign our default recommendations for our customer's initial rank structure and assist them in implementing the improvements.
Are your ranks effective? How does your community compare with the above?
Photo by gruntzooki
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