What does your site do to recognize the top contributor or the one posting the most on the discussion boards? Do you do something for them weekly or monthly? Thanks for your input!
By the way, what is used in measuring the "Most Active Member? Posts?
Nice questions Scott,
Not sure about measuring most active member posts. I would think leaderboards accomplish that to some degree?
I used to recommend doing a showcase of a member on your main page. It could be weekly or monthly depending on your goals and workload preferences. I don't personally do that anymore though.
I have criteria for being a featured member, and one of them is to be proactive on my site to include the discussion forum. It doesn't matter to me if they post or reply, but rather I want to incentivize the engagement experience for the whole community. With my criteria, I've addded value to the very basic member featuring tool, so it's more meaningful when someone gets featured, there aren't as many featured so they stand out more, and I actually point people to the featured members page before they go through to the All Members directory.
Posters are rewarded for quantity by way of latest activity display of my forum. Simply put, if they want to get the kind of exposure they might in being featured for their contributions, it's in their interest to be current and in view. I feature discussions based on quality, so frequency is not something I want to arbitrarily promote. However, I also include how "hot" the content is in my featuring criteria, i.e. how active the conversation is, and i also ask that contributors will actively host their discussions returning the courtesy of comments with intelligent responses.
I do some other things to specifically draw attention to member discussion pages, but that is not so much an incentive on behavior except for the fact to get the full value out of the application, you are better served by populating it.
What do you do Scott?
My pleasure Scott.
I hear your grumbling about Ning features, but making the best use of what you have to work with is half the battle. Leaderboards are probably more effective when you have more members and more regular contributions. Otherwise, if you have hardly any of either, I can see how it might not work, or even dysfunction. Not that your average Ning user should have to worry about these little intricacies- whenever I hear someone complain I recognize it as an opportunity to improve.
I haven't looked at your site, but I would wonder if you reward to incentivize behavior. In other words, do you do member spotlight on a top contributor in order to make it more worth their while and to hopefully encourage others to follow the example. Take for example where members might not respond to this for building out their profile as you ask. It's a simple thing to ask, but the reasons people might not do it might not actually be about the platform limitations or refusal to cooperate. It could be they are just busy, have a different reason for joining the community than participating, or that the incentive does not support whatever their goals are.
This might be especially true for a professional association network. In that case, having a systematic reward program with the hopes of influencing a systematic effect might not be productive. I look at it this way for my site, for example- I cater to casual explorers that don't want to join, people that join just to check it out and see what happens, people that want to follow but remain relatively anonymous, those that want to be associated by getting their name and face in there, those that want to network privately, those that want to network publically, and finally those who want to contribute content/ media. My expectation is the last category will be the rarest, and putting forward a more intentional motive for everyone to contribute would just create a lot of awkwardness.
Along that line of thinking, what you might do is do a recognition type program on an event-sensitive rather than time-sensitive basis. So when someone does do a great job with their profile, then you might take the opportunity to present them as a featured member or something to that effect- pointing people to their profile. If someone contributes a great article/ discussion, then feature that event in the same way pointing to the thread. Or if they have a lot of good contributions as you were talking about, then to feature that fact and point to their My Discussions page.
How I would do that is with some custom panels in text boxes on my main page. Simply done, a little graphics editting with a photo of the member and some text description into an image, build a link into the image, and you're set. Then, perhaps based on how much of your main page you want to dedicate to that kind of thing, just keep those up until the event you've got a newer/ better one to replace it with. You might be surprised that gets the ball rolling, and then it's a matter of deciding how often you'll take the time, and who gets the benefit when.
I took the liberty of throwing together a little mock up example for you. If for some reason you have issue with it, I can delete and repost this reply without it. Just let me know. Otherwise, you might find the image useful for your own purposes. -Anthony