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What is Reputation?
Much like "karma points" and "mod points" used in other online communities, Reputation is one way to gauge at a glance how much credibility to give the author of a post. The Reputation system is an informal way for members of the forum to reward (or penalize) fellow members for informative, helpful, articulate, or even simply entertaining (or not) posts.

A user with a high Reputation is someone you're more likely to learn something from. A user with a low Reputation is someone you might simply want to ignore.

User reputations are shown on each post as green (or red) squares in the upper right corner. The more squares, the higher the reputation. The same squares can be found in each user's Public Profile. The squares are only general guides, however only the user knows his or her actual Reputation point level.

What do the colors represent?
By default, all users have a green dot displayed right beside the post count. This is because everyone is given 10 reputation point upon joining. When your reputation level falls to zero (people disagree with your posts), the green dot changes to a gray dot. However, when you fall below zero, the dot changes to red which increases in brightness if you fall further below the scale. If your peers agree with your posts, they might give you positive reputation points. If you have acquired a sufficient amount of positive reputation points, the number of green dots will also increase.

How do I give Reputation points?
Every post has a "scale" Reputation icon in the upper right hand corner. If a member has posted something you found particularly insightful, you can click the Reputation icon and indicate that you approve of the post. (If the post was unhelpful, you can click the Reputation icon and indicate that you disapprove.) You can also include a comment if you like.

On what basis should I give Reputation points?
Reputation scores should be given on a post by post basis, and should be based on your reading of the message, not your opinion of the messenger. Perhaps more importantly, Reputation scores should be based on the quality of the post, not on whether you agree with the point of view.

If you like chocolate and a member posts a defense of vanilla, you should not automatically give a negative Reputation score simply because you disagree with the opinion. And you should not automatically give positive reputation scores to members or messages that you like, agree with, or simply support your position.

Ask yourself, "Would this post be helpful to a newcomer trying to understand the topic?" Is the post well written, informative, and reasonable? Is it especially clever, funny, or representative of the kind of attitude the community values? If yes, give a positive score. If not, give a negative score.

How do I find out my Reputation score?
Simply open the User Control Panel (UserCP). Your overall Reputation score will appear in the upper right hand corner. You will also be able to see the last five Reputation scores you've received, listed along with the posts that were scored and any comments that were included (if any).

A green dot indicates a positive Reputation score. And a red dot indicates a negative Reputation score. A grey dot indicates that a user tried to give you a Reputation score, but it did not count (i.e. because the user was new or had a negative Reputation).

You can also check the Reputation score of specific posts you've made by clicking the post's Reputation icon. The system will tell you how the post has been rated by other members (along with your overall Reputation score).

How many Reputation points can I give?
When you first become a member, and after you've made ten posts, your Reputation actions are worth one point. However, your Reputation power increases over time.

Bonuses: For every 90 days you're a member, you get an additional point of power (so each click is then worth two points, for example). For every 100 posts you make, you get an additional point of power. And for ever 50 Reputation points you receive from other members, you get an additional point of power. So if you're an active and longtime member, you'll find the Reputation ranks you give to posts can carry quite a bit of weight.

Limits: As mentioned above, you need to have made at least ten posts on the forum before your Reputation actions have any effect. Also, you can assign Reputation points to only ten posts per day (so save them for truly the best or worst posts). And you have to assign Reputation points to at least ten different members before you can assign them to a member a second time (so spread the wealth!).

Finally, if your Reputation score falls below 10 points the number you get when you first join you lose the ability to participate in the Reputation system.

I don't agree with a Reputation score I received. What do I do?
The Reputation system is a broad, informal measure of how a community's members collectively value each other's input. It's hoped it can be used more in fun than in conflict. Re-read the post in question: perhaps there was a reasonable, objective reason why a fellow user felt the way he or she did about what you wrote.

However, we don't want the Reputation system to inhibit participation, and we know it can be abused by people with too much time on their hands. If you feel that you received a Reputation score unfairly, please send a link to the post in question to a forum administrator.

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