Identifying Labels

Best Practice · Last modified July 15, 2009

Define a family of reputation labels that are not sequential in nature. Craft each one to identify and reward particular behaviors or qualities within a community. These labels are helpful for consumers in identifying more-experienced contributors who possess these qualities.


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What Problem Does This Solve?

Community members need to identify other, "special" members of the community - those who've distinguished themselves in some way: perhaps they've excelled at one particular skill that the community values; perhaps they are official representatives for the community or an affiliated organization; perhaps they have volunteered to be a helpful resource for others in the community.

When to Use This Pattern

  • You have identified some desirable behaviors for your community that you'd like to promote.
  • You want to allow users to volunteer for a 'role' or responsibility within the community.
  • You need a reputation to reflect that a user has been vetted or validated, either by your organization or a trusted 3d-party.
  • The community's culture appears at any point along the Competitive Spectrum.

What's the Solution?

Define a family (one or more) of reputations that are not sequential in nature. Each reputation is crafted to identify and reward particular behaviors or qualities within a community. Identifying labels are helpful for consumers in identifying more-experienced contributors who possess these qualities (e.g., 'Helpful' guides, or 'Elite' reviewers).

Identifying Labels are not particularly useful for comparing one reputation-holder to another.

Recommendations

  • Reputation holders may accrue more than one Identifying Label at a time.
  • Identifying Labels may also require a user to apply for or accept the reputation before it is publicly displayed.

Examples

37Signals awards badges to commenters on its Signal vs. Noise blog: "Comments posted on SvN that are off-topic, blatantly inflammatory, or otherwise inappropriate or vapid may either be removed or be slapped with the Troll cap while the Royalty Crown is used to "show off 'royal' comments within a thread." Yelp describes its Elite Squad as "our way of recognizing some of our most active and influential members, both on and off the site." Note that Elite status is also temporal in nature - earned on a yearly basis. Yahoo Answers awards a Top Contributor badge to "someone in the Answers community who, through their participation on Answers, has shown that they are knowledgeable in a particular category."