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?