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Advice for Ranks?

  • 1 August 2018
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Userlevel 4
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I've read this article about ranks. Great! Since I started as interim community manager at Eneco I don't like the way they set up the ranks. It starts with '1 watt' and goes up to '500 terawatt', in total 19 different ranks.

I think this doesn't speak to anyone. I think people don't understand that 500 kilowatt is more than 250 megawatt (it's the other way round actually ;-))
I've added a screenshot of the ranks we are using at the moment.

As I look at other communities, I like that better.
Like Ziggo: Nieuwkomer, ontdekker, Super User, Liefhebber, Expert, etc
Or T-Mobile: Klant expert, top poster, legendarische super user, etc.

Two questions:
  • is 19 ranks too much (or too less)?
  • what ranks do you use (can you share a screenshot)?
Thanks! 🥇

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Best answer by Julian 6 August 2018, 13:31

Hey Stéphan,

Great to hear that you want to review your current rank structure!

To quickly answer your question: No, 19 ranks is not too much. 🙂 Other established communities can have more than 30 ranks, depending on their strategy. So don't be too worried about this.

Rank names:

I find it very hard to find good names for ranks, always used to struggle with it. Names for ranks ideally should follow a number of principles:

  • Users should be able to tell directly if a user owns a higher / lower rank
  • Names should be related to the company / context of your community
  • Names should be fun / playful
What others often do is adding several layers to a rank:

  1. Genius (Bronze) / Genius (Starter) / Genius (Level 1)
  2. Genius (Silver) / Genius (Intermediate) / Genius (Level 2)
  3. Genius (Bronze) / Genius (Advanced) / Genius (Level 3)
That maybe takes away the pressure to come up with more than 15 different names. ;)

When I was working on the TomTom Communities, I also found it difficult to find navigation-related rank names. Ditte (now rocking Sonos communities like a boss) came up with a set of names for the ranks which were good, however you might also find that they were not super clear for the users:

  • Seekers (Beginner rank)
  • Travelers
  • Explorers
  • Wayfarers
  • Trailblazers
  • Navigators
  • Pioneers
  • Vanguards
  • Voyagers (Expert rank)
Each of those had three sub-levels (with the same rank name, but different attributes like bold or underlined), so that we could spread them more.

About the rules:

I always try to imagine how a user would travel through the ranks. Try to think in use cases: Imagine you are a customer who has a question. How will the rank structure respond to his/her activity?

Doing so, I have found that the "megawatt" ranks are a bit problematic. Let's say a user has made three posts. He will receive the "100 kilowatt" rank. If a user likes one of these posts, he will automatically receive the "1 megawatt" rank. This might confuse users (as users do not know why they receive a new rank now).

To work against that, you might want to remove or replace at least the first two megawatt ranks, so that they do not have the same # of posts as the kilowatt ranks.

This is the biggest "issue" I have found with the ranking, having a quick look.

Some more general thoughts on ranking structures:

There is no single, correct setup for all communities. However, there are some general principles which most of us here probably will agree with:

  • In the lower ranks, users should rank faster compared to higher ranks
  • Users should rank up faster for actions that support the goals of your community (e.g. # solutions for a support community, or # topics for engagement communities)
  • Users should not be able to rank up too fast (e.g. three ranks within one day), you can achieve that by adding # of logins or age (seconds since registration)
Should you have more questions, or in case you want us to have a look at your reviewed structure, just let us know!

Cheers,

Julian
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Userlevel 7
Badge +1
Hey Stéphan,

Great to hear that you want to review your current rank structure!

To quickly answer your question: No, 19 ranks is not too much. 🙂 Other established communities can have more than 30 ranks, depending on their strategy. So don't be too worried about this.

Rank names:

I find it very hard to find good names for ranks, always used to struggle with it. Names for ranks ideally should follow a number of principles:

  • Users should be able to tell directly if a user owns a higher / lower rank
  • Names should be related to the company / context of your community
  • Names should be fun / playful
What others often do is adding several layers to a rank:

  1. Genius (Bronze) / Genius (Starter) / Genius (Level 1)
  2. Genius (Silver) / Genius (Intermediate) / Genius (Level 2)
  3. Genius (Bronze) / Genius (Advanced) / Genius (Level 3)
That maybe takes away the pressure to come up with more than 15 different names. ;)

When I was working on the TomTom Communities, I also found it difficult to find navigation-related rank names. Ditte (now rocking Sonos communities like a boss) came up with a set of names for the ranks which were good, however you might also find that they were not super clear for the users:

  • Seekers (Beginner rank)
  • Travelers
  • Explorers
  • Wayfarers
  • Trailblazers
  • Navigators
  • Pioneers
  • Vanguards
  • Voyagers (Expert rank)
Each of those had three sub-levels (with the same rank name, but different attributes like bold or underlined), so that we could spread them more.

About the rules:

I always try to imagine how a user would travel through the ranks. Try to think in use cases: Imagine you are a customer who has a question. How will the rank structure respond to his/her activity?

Doing so, I have found that the "megawatt" ranks are a bit problematic. Let's say a user has made three posts. He will receive the "100 kilowatt" rank. If a user likes one of these posts, he will automatically receive the "1 megawatt" rank. This might confuse users (as users do not know why they receive a new rank now).

To work against that, you might want to remove or replace at least the first two megawatt ranks, so that they do not have the same # of posts as the kilowatt ranks.

This is the biggest "issue" I have found with the ranking, having a quick look.

Some more general thoughts on ranking structures:

There is no single, correct setup for all communities. However, there are some general principles which most of us here probably will agree with:

  • In the lower ranks, users should rank faster compared to higher ranks
  • Users should rank up faster for actions that support the goals of your community (e.g. # solutions for a support community, or # topics for engagement communities)
  • Users should not be able to rank up too fast (e.g. three ranks within one day), you can achieve that by adding # of logins or age (seconds since registration)
Should you have more questions, or in case you want us to have a look at your reviewed structure, just let us know!

Cheers,

Julian

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