I made some significant changes tonight that I've been working on for about a week.
- Added a Permalink to every forum post in a topic, so people can link directly to a post. The permalink can be obtained by clicking the small icon to the left of the post date/time. (Definition of Permalink.)
- Added completely new member rankings system, based upon consistency of posting to the forums. (Blog post describing the new ratings system.) Long-time participation combined with consistent daily pariticpation yields the highest rankings.
- Rankings are re-evaluated by the Lottery Post system automatically every night, and every member who was promoted during the night will receive a PM to let them know.
- Removed 1-5 star display that used to show the member level, and replaced with graphic badges showing the member level.
I designed the new membership badges myself. I'm not really an artist-type, so they went through several iterations and different ideas before I came up with that design. The "glossyness" of the badges was an idea I came up with after seeing some of the new Windows Vista UI. Every time I need to come up with new graphics, I'll probably add them with Vista's new look & feel in mind.
I used Adobe Photoshop to create the images, for those who care about that kind of stuff.
I hope everyone enjoys the new changes, and gets value out of rankings that are a huge improvement over raw post count. It won't be perfect, but I really like it.