I was wondering if anyone has a ranking structure where many members have topped out of the ranks and if you have added ranks. I was wondering what you did and how it worked?
In particular, I am very interested in rank looping (not sure if this is the proper label) where members loop through the same ranks again. I am really interested in how the UI, reception, and general best practices.
Teresa at HP
At my previous (support) community I added a new "Ultimate" ranking above the previous highest ranking to seperate our highest level superusers. The community was very mature (seven years) so it did seem nececessary and was well received. We also added some ranks in the middle as I thought there was too much of a gap but were careful to ensure that no-one went backwards because of the changes.
I certainly wouldn't recommend looping as in having to start again through the ranks but imagine there are many communities that have something like this (with better names!):
The notion of "prestige" is an interesting one and probably most commonly found in video games. Users loop through the structure (commonly military rankings in games like Call of Duty) and are given a level to go along with their rank. So you and I could both be the rank of Commander, but you're level 10 and I'm level 6, etc.
I think that this may work well in gaming communities where users are accustomed to these kinds of systems. Outside of that, I fear it would lead to a lot of confusion and frustration. One way to approach it may be to think about the visual identity for each level so that it is very clear who is who on the totem pole.
This discussion is a good reminder to anyone building a rank structure to make sure you give yourself enough headroom to expand as necessary in both criteria and nomenclature. Choosing a naming convention for your ranks with many possibilities makes it easier later on down the line to add more to the top as needed.
@fifiproffitt I like that looping idea, had never considered that before.
On the first Lithium community I ran, we ran out of ranks and just added a bunch of new ones above with even cooler names. That can be a challenge though, as you won't always be able to think of better things to add in above.
On the one I'm running now, I deliberately made the ranking structure really long to begin with (we have about 60 standard ranks members can reach), and calculated that based on heavy participation, it'd take maybe 3-5 years to reach the top. The key is to keep monitoring where everybody is though, and move the goalposts if people are getting too close too quickly!
A personal favourite of mine is treating each rank title like a tier, which is something else which comes from games. So rather than a rank called Contributor, then the one after being called Regular, I have Contributor 1, Contributor 2, 3, 4, 5, then onto Regular 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It means people's titles don't change so often, but I think that the feeling of moving up a level matters more to people than the actual name of that level.
Thanks so much for your input. I do like the concept of Tier 1/ Tier 2 for the loops which is some of what I got out of this. I know it's similar to Prestiging, but potentially a more elegant way to retain status and not confuse others. I have to play with this a bit, but do let me know what you think.
I inherited our rank system and actually am quite fond of it as so much of our community has rooted for members to reach our top level rank (Provost). I don't want to lose that rich history and connection. I get the need to really build out a huge structure. The challenge we have is that we have been around 7 years and so the top out was bound to happen based on where we started.
If you think of anything else, let me know!