Karma Police – arrest this man!

I had some discussions with different users about the user levels & ranking.

The issue: Users want to be ranked up. Currently that requires recommendations or winning contests, both linked to building skills or other hands-on skills that not everyone might have. Just being nice to everyone might be a hard one to get you promoted, but you should get a reward for it. A promotion is a huge step and should not be given lightly, and also in fair manner. Judgement becomes difficult. I am increasing the amount of contests, but not everyone can participate in each contest etc.

The opportunity: We could have a system where people get rewarded in smaller increments for smaller things they do. People could also get punished for stupid things they do. It could become a democratic promotion and banning system. Be nice to enough people and they reward you, be annoying enough and they will eventually ban you.

The risk: We have to avoid that 5 friends are online and they promote each other despite the fact that others hardly know them. Or that 5 jerks group up and start banning random people just for fun. Or all people might start a “let’s karma each other” on a massive scale.

The initial idea: We create something like a karma system in reddit. People get a karma account that starts with zero points. Other people can give or substract karma from others with a command such as /karma user + and /karma user –. Everyone can give karma only once a day/week/month. Karma from a user expires after a month/2 months/3 months. Giving and taking karma could cost the user that gives/takes 100 Uncs.

The effect: People earn things according to their karma. This could be Uncs as an income, a ranking on the website, a chance to get promoted if the karma reaches a high level since I would be more aware who really does good on the server and who is really annoying. With the increasing amount of users this is more and more difficult anyhow.

The easy part: I would create a table that records karma given and taken, in-game functions and online stats. A bit of work but fairly easily done.

The hard part: When would karma expire? What does karma give you automatically? Anything at all? Does karma giving cost something? Does karma taking cost something? How often can you give karma to the same person?

Opinions wanted.

47 thoughts on “Karma Police – arrest this man!

  1. Yes! The Karma is a good idea! But it should be not buyable – as i understood the last paragraph.

    • You would not be able to “buy karma for yourself”. The question is rather if I have to pay money to GIVE you karma. Or also pay money to TAKE karma from you. So that people think before they use the system.

  2. You could simply give everyone a Karma allowance to give based on there user level or better yet even based on the time spent online. Then people will think before giving it since it is in limited supply. and rather than letting people take it away or give negative karma it would simply have a half life and diminish over time but not abruptly expire.

    • Karma allowance sounds good. Time online cannot be measured right now – I could only give (fractions of) karma to all online users at every full hour or so. 24 full hours online would give you 10 karma for example. Everyone had that karma to give to other users.

      With expiry I would think that if you received 1 karma today from me, that 1 karma would stay with you for a week for example.

      The taking of karma is more a chance to punish jerks who only are annoying to others but do not have karma. It would be a warning system for a ban. How this could work with the allowance is a different question.

      • An issue I see with the “karma to all online users at every full hour” is the ability to easily write a script to log in slightly before the time of distribution, get their karma, and log off. Obviously this wouldn’t help them do anything if karma degraded but how fast do you plan for it to degrade? That would be something to figure out, obviously.

          • I found a few interesting hits when I Googled “cron job random times”. Maybe one of those will help?

  3. I believe a weekly karma allowance would work the best. I.E. a user receives 10 karma points at the beginning of the week which can be spent either negatively or positively. Giving more spendable karma to people with higher ranks seems a good idea too as they have proven that they are dedicated to the server and have been around longer, therefore more likely to be a good natured person who respects the rules of the server and can dole out karma more effectively. I also agree that spending karma should come with an unc deduction to prove that you really want to convey the positive/negative feedback to that person’s score. I really don’t want this to be reduced to a facebook-like system where the more people you can win over through real life friends/ secret pacts/ and heaven forbid karma purchasing (I’ll give you 5 diamonds for 5 karma dude) type situations. People will always find a way to abuse the system (like the 1 cent donors) but I hope that this is kept to a minimum. Interesting idea though, and if someone does cheat the system they can be reported and all the karma in the world doesn’t matter if you’re hit by unc’s banhammer :)

  4. I know I’m new here but I have a couple ideas about this.

    First, I see it being easily manipulated if the “checks” were not in place before its implementation. Where you might think you can trust an elder or citizen with limited power, suddenly giving them the ability to ban based on whether they dislike someone, and how many people they can convince to band against that person, is dangerous. I could see it being abused very easily by new and old server patrons.

    Second, you reference Reddit as your source of inspiration for this idea but the thing about karma on Reddit is that what I might upvote (pun threads — lulz), others despise. So, say someone makes an annoying comment that makes half the people online laugh and have snarl, suddenly people are dishing out upvotes and downvotes like fiends based on their preference.

    Another scenario might be that, say, I make an off-humor comment (my humor is dry and very sarcastic). The person I make it toward thinks it’s funny but someone, with higher authority on the server, sees my comment out of context and decides to downvote me for it.

    Third, it could be used nefariously by new comers to move up to higher ranks by using bribes of “karma” for other services. It’s a highly exploitable model at present. Reddit works well with it because it (a) has checks in place to limit the upvotes/downvotes toward one user from a single user in a period of time, (b) limits the number of upvotes/downvotes based on IP address, and (c) probably does other things to limit the abuse of the karma system that myself and others might not be aware of.

    Of course, where there’s a desire to circumvent checks/rules, there are people who find ways to do it. Just look at the trouble uncovery.me has with cheaters. While it isn’t a huge percentage based on the traffic received, there are still those who decide to do it and some that even get away with it.

    In conclusion, I think the current system of promotion is good but perhaps a little long in terms to moving up. A user can log in, at the base minimum, 8-times in the entire 4-month period and still keep their lot AND move up in promotion. If there was a way to base promotion on a minimum days required (less than 120) and hours (for instance 30-days and at least 40-hours), that would improve promotion rate AND show dedication to the server.

    TL;DR – Manipulation is possible whenever you give those, with limited power, more power, karma is based on opinion and opinion varies vastly person-to-person, and people are going to find a way to game the system to move up quicker with bribes or something similar.


    P.S. Sorry for the book.

    • Elders can temp-ban now already. The ban-function in this one would be that I can DECIDE to ban someone that has -100 karma w/o actually having a nazi skin.

      To your second point, this can be an issue. That’s why I thought that people would be charged 100 Uncs to dole out rewards or punishment. So it would be not that quickly done. There is a risk still of course if you do stuff that people do not like. Special jokes are of course an issue. However 1 downvote should not matter that much. 100 downvotes give a different picture however. The goal is that the mass of votes should make a difference, not the individual ones.

      New users normally do not even know about it since most of them know about the shop only 2 weeks after they joined… With a karma allowance and costs to give karma (see above) people would be careful to give out karma anyhow. There could be even a max karma allowance so people cannot hoard it. New Users would have limited karma on top of it. I can imagine that karma is also a function of how many days you have been with the server on top of the online time.

      You can only rank up one single level (citizen) by being on the server for a long time. Then it’s finished.

      • I think that your point about the one point negative karma works just as well in the opposite direction. It should take a while to build up karma, and if someone, (or a group of someones), suddenly have their karma shoot up, it should be pretty obvious that something is up.

        As an addition to that, I think I have a fairly good idea as to what karma should act as. I’m sure that most of us on Uncovery are either in, or have graduated from high school. (I would hope so) Anyway, the grade system is pretty common i think, as in most schools use the same system.

        Say you are in a 1000 point class, (unlikely i know). You turn in three assignments worth 20 points, and you get a perfect score on all three. That’s a 60/60 in the class, an A. Now you skip the next assignment, also worth 20 points, ans as a result, your grade drops to a 50/80, a B-, C+. this goes on throughout the term, and you end up with a 666/1000, a D. This is a hard hole to get out of, because every new assignment adds to the total, even if you get a perfect score on every one.

        My point is that this should work in the way of karma as well. I don’t know what the max karma will be, but say its 1000. If you have 945+ karma, then a rouge jerk with an agenda wont be able to do much damage. You might drop to 940+. Oh no! Alternatively, if you have shown that you are a jerk/help vampire/annoying, then it will take some hard work and dedication to prove your worth. It would be very difficult to get out of that 945- hole.

        Also, even as a not-so-great builder, I don’t think that this should be tied to ascending ranks… The rank system is good the way it is.

        As a parting question, would your karma be displayed with your name, location, and rank in the text?

        • Thats a good point you make there. The question is if we let old karma expire as if people forget how good you were 2 years ago – which is reasonable since people might change, or if it accumulates forever like the reddit karma. I think accumulation w/o expiry might be the best idea.

          The Karma could show when you type, yes.

  5. Oh dear, this sounds like a can of beans.

    “Unc, Newuser123 drained my karma and I didn’t deserve it”
    “Nuh uh, Newuser456 stole my diamonds!”
    “Well, Newuser123 gave me access. I mined those diamonds myself!”
    “Well, you’re a big jerk, I can take Karma if I want”

    “Lavsold muted me, said I was being obnoixious, I got my friends to all downvote him”

    “If you help with my nation/big project, I’ll give you 3 karma!”

    “Sockso was using a water afk machine to accumulate karma”
    “No way, I was just going to the bathroom!”

    • 1. It does not have to be transparent who gave karma to you or who took it.
      2. People who are muted are normally new ones who have maybe 3-5 friends max but the people who are happy he muted him are normally the whole rest of the server. During the average time 10-20 others.
      3. That would be intended.
      4. That is a general issue also for XP grinders. The AFK kick is a reasonable measure against that.

  6. I think this is a great idea! I joined this server as it is a more helpful community. Not being a great builder but a good resource procurer; this ranking system would help someone, like myself advance. The details need to be hammered out, but I like the idea of karma costing Uncs. 100 Uncs per karma seems a little steep. 25 or 50 Uncs seems more reasonable.

    Thanks Uncovery for the idea.

  7. hmmm fascinating idea. There were plenty of times that people have done something really nice or smart but not really rec~ worthy. Here’s my thoughts.

    1: To prevent the mass amount of setters from abusing karma, possibly make it so only a person of a higher rank or equal rank can manipulate your karma. This might make it harder for archs or masters to get karma but it will eventually become easier as the ranks fill out. Besides most of them are great builders currently anyway (which is why we have more masters than archs). (it would also help people from rounding up a posse to take down those mean oll power abusing elders :P)
    2: To help out new people in that awkward initial time after joining the server, give new players a few days of karma immunity. So that first “Wheres my lot?” question don’t get them -20 karma if a lot of people are on.
    3: Definitely have upgrades or banns based on a review of who gave them karma and not just how much, aka not a automatic process but instead a quantifiable basis for status change. This should catch people who are mass karma’ing from a small group. And give a reasonable excuse to banning those misfits who didn’t break any rules but are just really annoying.
    4: Give different weights to karma during a review depending on who gave it. A karma from a master or elder is worth more than one given from a fellow setter perhaps. Adjusted karma XD
    5: Just a thought~ karma reset after a upgrade?

    I don’t know if I’m explaining the true spirit of karma since I’ve never really been in a karma based online group, but these are just my suggestions towards its application on uncovery.
    Ultimately this should help the community, encourage friend making, and maybe jusssst maybe cut down on silly fights and stupid questions a bit XD So im for it!

    • I agree with Pluto about this, but I ‘m not for settlers using this system. A suggestion, maybe only settler donator(+) are able to use it, it’s just an idea.

      And a suggestion about the citizen status, I don’t know if it’s possible to base this on online time, so settlers who are online alot will be able to get this status earlier then settlers who are (almost) never online. This seems a little unfair to me.

      • The Citizen status is a completely different issue. The problem is -again- that I do not have a way currently to measure online time. The Citizen status is an old system and the best I can do with the available means. In order to determine online time I would have to rely on other plugins to exist and to tell me how long a user is online. This is a dangerous dependency. I will have to wait for the next version of websend to be able to accurately count online time.

    • I get pretty much what you say and agree to what you said. I am not sure about the karma reset on upgrades. What should it achieve? why?

      • Its just a thought that u have to earn each level from scratch rather than ride your karma to the top if u got a lot early on. Afterall some people would be starting on this system as citizens and archs ~
        Ranks up from non karma things (Contests, Recs) would however keep their current karma.

        • Oh you mean when someone gets a new user level the karma gets reset. I read it that when the server gets upgraded the karma gets reset … :D

          Yeah that’s an option.

  8. I think what we’re all most concerned with is how exactly will this increase the amount of power that the elder wield? And what can we all do to make this increase as large as possible.

  9. Pluto really nailed it on the head:
    1. Karma Immunity for the first week after joining.
    2. Karma should rather be measured per how many different people gave you it than how much all together you have received.
    3. Karma could be weighted out of 1 point (or any number for that matter), and karma could be measured 1 from Elders, .8 from Masters, .6 from Architects, .4 from Citizens, and .2 from Settlers, or something along those lines. You get the idea.
    4. Couldn’t agree more. Karma should be reset after upgrading.

    Awhile I do believe the best way to make sure people aren’t distributing karma like crazy is to put a price on it (100 Uncs per karma?), you should also be limited to how much total you can give out over a certain period of time. Perhaps limit people to 5 karma votes per week, for example.

    Lastly, there should be no karma rankings. The only person who can see how much karma they have should be yourself and Uncovery. There’s no need for someone to see how much negative (or positive) karma someone has, as it could create harsh feelings or jealously or what have you.

    Just my thoughts! Or as Sockso says, my two cents. :D

    • I like the idea of how many people give it to you. We could make karma a formula like “amount * (givers + rank)” or so. WE just have to make sure it does not get too complex.

      Again, I am not sure why the reset. I would rather have a timed expiry. If you do something amazing before a upgrade, it is all wasted. It would lead to people becoming idiots before the upgrades if you ask me.

      To keep the karma confidential is an idea, but I think it would be much more interesting if everyone can see that you are a jerk or a really nice guy. It would lead to a certain amount of self-banning I guess :)

  10. I fully support this. Needs a little bit of tweaking here and there but this idea sounds great. Of course, this shouldn’t be an automatic system by the promotions/bans and such as they only should be accepted by you personally. I also support having Higher or equal ranks giving/taking Karma from other equal to them or lower in addition to the Karma reset after an upgrade.

  11. Also, elders should have lists of of some kind. We can call them The Elder Scrolls of karma.

    • Watch out ~ talk like that will get u sue’d unless u win 2/3 in quake :3

  12. Might be more of a complete system overhaul – but in the same line of thought, consider this:

    Perhaps all ranking would be done on some sort of a ‘points’ system (like the karma) but the ‘points’ could be earned in a variety of ways, and lost as well. For instance, right now it takes 4 months for a settler to get automatically promoted. In the new system, it would be the same, except let’s say that a user earns 1 point every day they log on, and at 120 points they are *recommended* for promotion to the next rank, essentially making it the same system > play for 4 months without being a dumbass and you’ll get promoted.

    *NOTE: I say recommended because I’d much rather have a failsafe built in, where once a certain user reaches the required points level, the elders/masters/unc/whoever gets a notice that they are eligible for promotion, and that gives the server leaders a chance to look over the individuals ‘record’ and see if there is any reason to not promote them.

    Now, obviously there would be different ways to earn promotion ‘points.’ Some obvious things: winning a contest gets you 100 points, second place gets 50, whatever; recommendations by those above you** could get you points, voting would net you points as well as uncs, and finally, you could buy points with uncs***

    **NOTE 2: I say users above you could give you points, because that might prevent the already present problem of a bunch of settlers circle-jerking each other into promotion, to put it lightly. Obviously, the higher level the member, the more points they could award per day, etc. That would make it easy for people to be rewarded when ranking members noticed them being helpful, etc. Even when there aren’t a lot of players on. Conversely, it could easily punish people for being dumbasses in the exact same manner.

    ***NOTE 3: Buying points with uncs. I went back and forth on this one. Initially, it sounds shady, being able to ‘buy’ a promotion, but consider how uncs are earned: Voting and Working on the server, both of which are things that ‘should’ indicate a users contribution to the server in general. It could be at a pretty heft exchange rate (100-1 for example), thus making it unwise for a person to simply ‘buy’ promotions. But again, there’s the failsafe of points merely recommending a person for promotion, not guaranteeing it. As a user ranks up, points get more expensive, because they obviously should have more uncs at that point.
    Just an idea for consideration.

    Either way, I like the idea of more opportunities for ranks being available, I just want to see a pretty strict guideline set on WHAT qualifies worthy of ranking up, so the server maintains an even ratio across the ranks.



    • I like the idea to give karma automatically for certain things like winning contests. If we do a karma allowance where the karma that you can give is limited, the question is where this karma comes from. I think that being online should give you that karma to spend since it should give you a voice what is happening on the server. I do not think people should be buying points at all. neither to spend or to receive.

      Some people are smart doing business, which gives them a lot of money, but that does not mean anything towards if they are nice, helpful, good builders or bring the server forward in ANY way. Rather good at gaming the system.

  13. I liked a lot of the ideas tossed around, although I don’t know that we necessarily need a system like this, perhaps just advice our higher ranks to promote for non-build community assistance they see, and weight it heavier than build rec’s (say 10 personality recs = 1 normal building rec).

    Another thought with the karma point system would be to allow people to only spend the points they have accrued themselves. Such that a user may have achieved a higher status from his friends, he could then recommend others who have shown them kindnesses (to a limit of say 1 karma to an individual each day from any single player). And to avoid all the karma points rotting on inactive players, set a cap of 10 karma to a person and introduce 1 new point per day or week per player that logs in. Both should keep the bottom up, and inflation down. And keeping the numbers fairly hidden (to Unc, Elders, and oneself) would keep the incidence of hoarding / bartering down.

    Just my thoughts… now… DISCUSS!

    • To have the allowance based on the karma you get sounds interesting too. I do not want a jerk to judge on a great builder. Maybe there can be a formula there or something like that. There should be a cap for the allowance so people do not deal out 2000 karma in one day on one person.

  14. this sounds interesting I like it but for some reason I always end up getting hated by people so I would probably get banned at some point but I think this is a good idea.

  15. Hello all. I know I am new to the server but I have a lot of leadership experience in different environments. I think this will lead to a huge pile of drama. It can be easily exploited, and if kept under a tight enough leash i.e. restriction of karma awards to certain ranks, then people will begin to call favoritism. I think this will lead to an environment that is not conducive to the goals of the server, and the chat environment is one of the main draws of the server in my opinion.

    Now on to my idea of a solution for people wanting to rank up quicker than current system. I think it should be based on donations. Money is what keeps the server running after all. We want to make sure we have a cool place to play. Now I dunno if this is the case or not but it seems that if enough donations started rolling in that the server could be upgraded and we would all benefit. Now this system would have to fleshed out also, but it was just my thoughts on the matter thanks for listening.

    • If you base “ranks” on money then the people with the most amount of money win; ergo the USA’s current political climate. Basing your “status” on money is an extremely unbalanced approach. If you’re like me, you play this game for fun and if “ranking” REQUIRED me to pay, I would probably not continue playing for long. Donations are, well, just that: donations. You can’t call them donations and require them in order to gain favor.

      • I’m not saying do away with the merit based system that we have. I’m also don’t think it should scale to large sums of money. I mean if you ++donate you get citizen. If where where to donate a cumulative $100 you get architect, but i would stop it there. I dunno if the servers can hold the land need to accommodate.

        Also, I really think its fine the way it is I was just given a suggestion and it would be motivation for people to donate. Not everyone see the benefit of helping to maintain the cool place you play.

    • I’m going to have to agree with agnostik on this one. This system seems far too easy to exploit. Some of its perks sound wonderful in all; however I don’t think this will lead to the desired outcome when put into practice. If the goal is to express another user’s good deeds, then I think an email to Uncovery would be the best way to do so. Simply typing in a command is far too easy, and quite vague no matter the amount of money you price it at. Personally I think the system should stay the same for the most part.

      As for Agnostik’s idea about promoting based on donations, I think it might be something to take into consideration, for settler-citizen. If the citizen rank is meant to express dedication to the server, a donation of twelve dollars or more is just as good a way as expressing your dedication as staying active for four months is, in my opinion. Though, I strongly believe that this should be restricted to citizen rank.

      Just my 2 cents. Interesting idea Uncovery, but it’s just not really my cup of tea. Do what you want though :)

      • I like this idea. I’m shipping for basic training in a month so I’m not gonna have a chance to stay active throughout 4 months (which is why I’ve been shy on donating in the first place, gonna lose my plot eventually no matter what). I’d donate like 20 bucks to be able to have a skylands plot (which is is really all I want lol).

      • I, too, see far too many ways this could be bad. Apart from the risks unc pointed out, people sometimes just don’t like each other for no particular reason. Then there is the problem with jealousy: “Uncoverys buildings look so much better then mine, let’s downvote him to hopefully get rid of him!” this is especially problematic, when such a persons friends get involved in this.

        It could lead to so much more bad blood and hate and more work for you Unc. Such a system would work well in an ideal world with ideal people. That, however, is sadly not the reality.

  16. I dislike the idea of an automatic promotion based on a certain level of karma. There are just to many ways to exploit it. Maybe you could make them as more of a reference for you. Make the whole system free anyone can upvote anyone (or downvote) whenever for whatever reason (although we should aim to be similar to reddit’s system of only upvoting relevant or good posts) and go on an honor system. You could make it keep track of who upvotes who and such so if you see a pattern of one person repeatedly upvoting one person or another no-no then you can take whatever action you deem fit. You could then take this data and use it to decide who gets promotions when without giving any definite “you have to get 1000 karma to make citizen.

    • It would never be automatic. Neither the ban nor the promotion. It would be an indicator. Not a level with fixed consequences.

  17. I’m personally against this, but not for the reason others seems too.

    Oh boy where to start. I’ll start with the core issue, “People want to Rank Up.”

    The system that’s been implemented ever since I’ve joined the server seems to be straight forward enough. Build something good whether in a contest or not, be mature, be helpful. In other words “Be a contribute to the server”. Even if a builder is good but silent in chat, with the aid of the 2D and 3D maps good builds can’t stay hidden forever. Even if these good builds are underground, with our random teleport creepers builds like these can’t be silent forever either. Good skill is rather easy to find.

    But in an instance where someone joined and wasn’t a good builder as a settler. They did a build and people thought it was meh. 4 months later they get citizen and a Skylands lot. Their building style has grown and developed since then and they build something awesome in SL. This is the reason I liked the timed system of the Citizen rank because if you joined not a builder that 4 months gives you time for the server to grow on you if you let it. Persistence and dedication are also factors here.

    Back to my main point. What is the main reward besides power for ranking up? Land!

    If a person with this karma system helped tons of people and you gave the thumbs up for a rank up. This person has displayed little to no building skill and we are for some reason rewarding him with more space to build upon. I apologize in advance for the crude wording, but we are giving away land to a person who hasn’t shown the skill to use it for the reason the server intended. We are a BUILD server at core with a great framework of community.

    I had many other points in my book of a response, but they have been covered in great detail here by other people.

    In conclusion, why are we taking away the power of promoting and banning from Unc? It is his server and he can ban and promote anyone if he damn well pleases. Reading through the comments, it sounds like this won’t be automatic system; that Unc can look this poke who has 1000 or whatnot points and say “Nah, he doesn’t deserve it”. If this will be the case why implement the system? It doesn’t look like it’s designed to save time or stress, the decision is ultimately up to Uncovery. If anything implementing this sounds like this will add stress. Coding, applying, tweaking, dealing with drama problems, dealing with coding problems. I’m also a bit worried on how new players will feel or even know about this. Most of them don’t even know Uncovery is the owner of the server.

    • Ohhh you have some good points there~ People who don’t build well/much don’t really need more land to not build on. One of the things I consider every time I give a builder recommendation is “Has this player fully utilized his lot and is in need of a second to build more?”

      Almost makes me think we would need separate ranks for karma up’s, like a rank where u get /tpa powers but not a second lot~ but that would almost be more trouble than its worth ~_~

      Ultimately I think unc wants the server to be more ‘self governed’. Or atleast be able to quantify public opinion on a user when considering rank-ups or bans.

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