It depends on your organization's culture, I suspect, but I can tell you that status levels were surprisingly effective for motivating people in our case. We have lots of competitive people!
We did not stick with the defaults. Here's what we are using for levels (I customized the icons, too).
Status Level Point Range None (if you've created nothing, you have no status) 0 Newbie 1-10 Grasshopper (from Kung Fu TV show) 11-24 Apprentice 25-50 Guru 51-100 Wizard 101-300 Sage 301-500 Maestro 501-1000 Jedi (from Star Wars movies) 1001-1500 Rock Star 1501-5000 Wiki Master 5000+
Note that the name of our Jive instance is "the wiki" so that's why the highest level is Wiki Master (and why I am known as the Wikiman).
I suggest reminding people that this is all just for fun, and encourage them to play fair and not try to game the system. We haven't had any issues, and it's given people something to talk about and compete with their peers about.
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For one of our non-Jive instances, we created NINJA levels...for us NINJA is acronym that stands "National Instruments Java Authors" It became a great theme to rally our developer user-base around...very big in the development community that is NINJA seen as a good thing. As for the levels...we chose the colors of the Karate Belts....White, Orange, Yellow (Tier 1), Green, Purple, Blue (Tier 2), Red, Brown, Black (Tier 3). If you notice my avatar, we also came up with avatar treatments for the each level (it's the Java duke logo re-done to look like a ninja with a mask and belt)...as well as fun names for the tiers. To solidify it off, we had silicon wristbands made that reflect each level...and the users got an offline piece of badging they could wear or display in their cube to reflect their level of contribution. In addition, as the facilitator of the community, clear understanding of why they are contributing. What is the goal/mission statement, and making sure that they all understand what they are contributing content towards. Finally...the barrier to content creation should be lowered as far as possible to get traction....leveraging features that enable content creation via email is a great value-add.
I included probably more than what you asked for; however, the concept that really worked for us to make a holistic theme/experience for your user community. In our case, the acronym was a 2-for...and played well with our marketing of the community. To reiterate Ted's point, it has to be fun and/or not feel like a task/more work. The more you can lean towards making it fun and bolster the "groundswell" support....you'll find getting to critical mass levels much easier.
In regards to points, I would recommend being quite liberal with the point awards. People like seeing progress.....you can usually space the levels out accordingly such that you keep liberal point assignments...and slow the progress into upper tiers. Our NINJA community has a top tier of 150,000 points...but there are endless ways to earn points in the community. It goes without saying to make sure and award the type of content you want the most with the most points....for us...the most common content-type were social bookmarks...while raw content creation was very low.....so we reduced the point values on the low-cost/low-effort bookmarks relative to the user-created content.
Hope this feedback helps =)
Thanks for the info. Is there a way to add new scenarios that you can award points for? For instance, I'd love to offer points as a way to encourage users to comment on our blog.
I could have sworn I typed up a decent response to this....but I dont see it up here. I dont see it in my mail sent folder...so must not have ever hit send. =\
Anyways, to summarize from memory....there appears to be a relatively easy way to do this with a CommentListener + the StatusLevelManager in the Core API. This would require some small plugin work; however, from a configuration perspective, there does not appear to be any thing you can do to affect this OOTB. Not sure if you have developer resources or not, but thought it was worth mention nonetheless. =)
hope this helps,
Ted and Ryan, these sound like fantastic reward program ideas. I'm curious if you used any plug-in's or customized the Core API to achieve the point flexibility that you're describing. For example, Jive does not support awarding points to bookmarking. How was that done?
PS: Do any of use the Social Leaders plug-in? Would you recommend it or another?