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Design Inference Matters...

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The new Airtable community has many functional flaws, but this missive is about one that is purely a design choice that annoys me. Don't take it too seriously, but enjoy it and let me know your thoughts.
 
Members are classified by planet names; Pluto is reserved for only the most prolific contributors, like @Kuovonne. I was recently promoted to Neptune (from Uranus, another funny story too deep for this post). This member ranking metric is based on the distance from the sun.
 
Apparently the more you engage, the further you are from the Sun.
That makes no sense to me. It would seem that the more you engage, the more of a light source you become; hotter, more intense, and perhaps more central you are to the community. @Kuovonne should be Mercury if not the Sun itself.
 
When @Kuovonne doubles her engagement in a few years, what’s after Pluto? Dwarf planets? And are these even politically correct? Eris is a little bigger than Pluto, which has its own small moon. There is Haumea, Sedna, Orcus, Quaoar, Varuna, and Makemake. These are each dwarf planet names that no one will recognize. At less than five feet five inches and shrinking every year, I do not look forward to being promoted to a dwarf planet. What about the Kuiper Belt? That sounds so isolated and cold. Our Sun literally looks like a distant star out there. Makemake seems interesting; perhaps it’s how the product, formerly known as Integromat, got its name. Integromat should have used this full name; as distant as Makemake is, it can be found in Google. 😉
 
Khoros designers chose the exact opposite representation of what seems natural (to me, anyway). This design choice is much like the infamous opposite directional controls for Lexus power windows a few decades ago. There was a time when pulling up on the control lowered the windows; pushing down raised them. Wait. What? Yep. This has been changed, of course. But it was a hot mess.
 
I think Khoros is a cold mess - kinda like the chill on Makemake, which is 50 Kelvin (-223C or -370F).
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Thanks for this, Bill. I hadn't noticed this. I thought I'd been a bit more vocal here than that, but I just checked and apparently I'm stuck on the surface of the Sun. Loser! (If this were the Airtable subreddit I'd be much more competitive.) Anyway, I agree with you: It's dumb. Not just meaningless, but actually *misleading*. 

Reddit has a "karma" score. I don't understand the word "karma" but I do understand that, the more times you post, the higher your score — and you can also get a higher score if people thank you for your posts, etc. Much better system.

I think the new Community is a little more attractive than the old but I'm underwhelmed with it.

I think the number to the left of the solar system object is an indicator of engagement meaning. I have a 17; you have a 9. But one might argue that your posts are all twice as literate as mine. Perhaps twice as likely to help someone with real issues. This is the false promise of rankings; they can be misleading and certainly meaningless.

Without lots of observation and some data digging, I would have assumed that you (as a "Sun") were central to community engagement. Loser. 😉

Per this topic, "User ranks are awarded based on combinations of various types of user activity in the community." However, the exact algorithm is not published. 

  • The first three user ranks have rather generic names: Visitor, Explorer, Contributor. 
  • The next five ranks have Airtable-related names: Data Explorer, Automation Enthusiast, Interface Innovator, App Architect, Airtable Astronomer.
  • The last ten ranks come from the solar system: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

I think that user ranks have their place, but I agree that the current system could use some adjusting.

The whole structure is designed for little purpose other than creating a warm and fuzzy.  User ranks are of little importance to me.  Someone once posted the most succinct and, to be honest, most beautiful regex formula I have ever seen to do a particular task.  I don't think that contributor had made many comments so a ranking system would not be indicative of quality.  Even the Kudos system is +ve biased.  I much prefer recognising someone's input to my problem by assigning them a 'solved by' tag... but that doesn't reward folks like @Bill_French who has posted many 'big picture' articles that don't fit neatly into a tactical scenario.

I'm writing this response on an iPad and just looked at the posts above and the little rank icons assigned to you good folks.  I see a couple of blue smudges and a couple of yellow smudges.  I wonder if this is really what the Airtable and Khoros folks had in mind.