Reputation and Community Mike | April 29th, 2013

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about building relationships with your customers that are based on trust, loyalty, transparency, integrity, and honesty. While writing the post, I had in mind a project we have been working on at crowdSPRING for well over a year now.

The team is really excited that in the next couple of weeks crowdSPRING will be introducing a new site-wide reputation system and a reputation ‘score’ for every user on the site. You will see this score on each user’s profile as well as in the hover-over window which opens above each username in a project gallery or on out Creative Browse page. We believe that having reputation scores for every user will allow Buyers to quickly identify the very best members of our community and will allow Creatives to better choose which Buyers they wish to work with – in other words, one of the goals of our reputation system is to allow users to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

A reputation system is, by its nature, simply a way to rank a website’s users; it provides instant and reliable feedback to community members and lets them know how they stack up against others in the community. The crowdSPRING system is not intended to spur competition, but rather is designed to encourage the very best work and the best behavior. We are implementing it to help our Creatives improve as working professionals, but also to influence Buyers to write better briefs and give higher quality feedback in their projects in order to attract the very best participants.

The cS reputation system is built on the reams of raw data that a site like ours generates. It takes into account hundreds of data points on every user on the site, with the primary objective of promoting and rewarding high quality creative work, but also to incentivize participation, encourage positive behavior, build loyalty, and nurture community within a diverse group of artists, designers, and writers from around the world.  The system is built on a complex formula that looks at everything from how long a user has been on the site, to the number of projects they participate in, to the scores they receive from Buyers on their entries to projects. 

Any user can improve their score over time by focusing on the broad reputation “categories” we use to assign scores; while we can’t share the secret sauce that is the our new reputation algorithm, here are some of the key elements that underly the system and which will directly impact your own reputation score:

  • Quality: the system takes into account data about your entries to projects. What scores did they receive from Buyers? How many projects have they won? How many Tips have they received? Have they been invited to 1-to-1 projects? These are the elements of quality and the Creatives who consistently submit the very best work will be rewarded with high scores in this category. 
  • Participation: this is pretty simple really; the more projects that you participate in or, for Buyers, the more projects you post, the more points you will receive in this category. Users who have participated in lots of projects in the past will receive a higher score in this category, and users who currently are participating in many projects will have that reflected in their score, too.
  •  Loyalty: your reputation score also reflects your dedication to the community – at least as measured by how long you have been registered on cS, how active you are over time, and how often you come to visit the site. This category includes Portfolio data as we also believe that sharing your work with other community members exhibits loyalty to them.
  • Community: speaking of community, the system also takes into account your participation in certain projects and activities as well as how active you are in reporting problems and making suggestions. For instance, active participation in Give Back projects, monthly cS Award projects, and our user Forums will help your reputation score over time. You can also help your acore in this category by reporting problem briefs and helping us keep an eye out for violations of IP policies or other bad behavior.
  • Behavior: can be positive or negative and your score will be impacted by how you conduct yourself on the site. For instance, being found guilty of concept-copying or other IP violations will lead to a meaningful loss of reputation points as will frivolously accusing other users of IP violations. But being a kind person, helping out the cS customer service folks, or simply sharing your own expertise with the community will gain you reputation points as well.

Every new user on the site will automatically be given a score of 70 reputation points on our scale of 0-100.  70 is a nice, slightly-better-than-average score and new users will see that score rise or fall based on their own work habits, their level of participation, their citizenship, and the quality of their work as they become valuable contributing members of the community.

Algorithm animation: LynX, via Wikimedia Commons

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