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A few weeks back we rolled out some new features that we hope will improve the forums’ usefulness. One of the new features is the ability for those who post questions in the forums to rate the replies. In addition, any logged in user can also join in and vote on the various replies and conversations in order to help us identify the best information, helping you find good information more quickly. Another huge benefit to the new voting tools is that it helps us all identify, recognize, and reward those forums users who contribute the most helpful information.
Until June 2010, our old discussion forums (now archived) supported what we called the “Forums MVP Program”. Once every 6 months we would identify the Top 10 members of the community and make them eligible for MVP recognition and some valuable prizes.
When we moved to the new vBulletin-based forums engine, we lost the ability to support the MVP program because there were no tools for the community to identify the best information. In the earlier program, only the original poster was able to mark one of the replies as having the best answer. Depending on the forum, this would only happen 8-12% of the time. We (mis)understood from that data that the MVP program wasn’t a high priority for the community. What we found when the program went away, was that the MVP program was popular and valuable, it just needed to be improved.
Now that the forums have these new voting tools, the new MVP Program includes these improvements:
1. Any user in the forums community can vote on any post. This way we no longer rely on the original poster to come back and mark the thread. This way we get everyone into the game and find the best information collectively, rather than based on one person’s feedback.
2. When you vote on replies the number of points your vote adds is based on your experience in the community. When a logged in user votes a reply “up”, that gives one point to the person who wrote that reply, but if a Senior Member votes “up”, that gives two points. A vote “up” from an MVP gives three points. If the original poster clicks on the checkmark button, that gives four points.
3. It is possible for users to vote on their own posts, especially if they found their answer at some point after their original post; however users cannot get MVP points for voting their own posts or marking them as “the answer”.
As for the prizes, we’re going to start with the same model we used before. There are 6-month prizes and Annual prizes. Some of them include seats to Esri conferences, ArcGIS software and extensions, and Esri Virtual Campus training courses. See the MVP Program Rules for more information.
Going along with the launch of the new MVP program is the newest class of MVPs based on their helpful activity over the past 20 months. If you are on the list below, congratulations! We will contact you shortly with information about prizes for which you have qualified. We have also *badged* you as MVPs so that others in the community know that you are a great professional source of helpful information. And one of the neat things about this MVP program is once you’re an MVP, you’re always an MVP. No requalifications or renewals necessary.
Dan_Patterson (a continuing MVP)
Neil (a continuing MVP)
rscheitlin (a continuing MVP)
whuber (a continuing MVP)