The ARCH Ranking System Explained

It was proposed that our users be ranked according to how much they have contributed to the upkeep and growth of the ARCH data. We could use pretty much any metaphor to name these ranks, but, for the purposes of this article I will go with the idea of an architect’s office. There would be four ranks which would be, in ascending order: Copy Tracer, Draftsman, Master Builder, Architect. The actions available to each rank increase with level and include powers over some lower ranks in terms of their progression. In this way the comunity would become self sustaining and self managing. In more detail the ranks would have the following functions:

Copy Tracer
This is the default rank given to a user when they are first signed up and verified. This sign-up and verification would be automatic and would involve filling in a simple web form, with the usual basic details plus maybe some indication of the users areas of interest. An email would then be sent to the registered address and include a link back to the site to a verification script (we used much this system for users of MyIntute and, while there were occassional glitches with the outgoing verification email, the number of spam signups was negligable).

Once verified the user would have access to a limited view of the back-end record editing system. They would be able to edit, say, the title, URL, and other metadata for existing records only. The description would remain read-only for this rank. The user would the work through these records chosen either for their subject area or based on the date the record was last reviewed. Each record checked, corrected and dealt with would earn the user points towards their eventual promotion up the ranks. It would be possible to weight the awarded points to do things like encourage work on records which haven’t been reviewed for a while; the older the last review date the more points available for tackling the record. Fixing broken links particularly could carry a premium. Some sort of automated link-checker could produce a list of such broken URLs for the user to work with.

Any work carried out by this level of user would be subject to approval by higher ranking users.

Can do all the above functions plus be able to flag Copy Tracer work as approved. This rank would also have the ability to add new records within a defined subject area (based on their work at this and lower rank). Their progression depends on the same points accumulation system as the Copy Tracer, but they would be able to earn additional points for their oversight of Copy Tracer work and for submitting new records.

Master Builder
All the above functions including adding new records. The Master Builder also receives batches of Draftsman approved records from the Copy Tracer level in all subjects and would be able to approve this work to the live sight. The Master Builder would also be able to add records directly to the live site; probably still within a limited subject area based on their previous work. The Master Builder would be able to directly add new records in any subject area and could perhaps put together small sub-collections to act as featured resources in particular subject areas. This latter idea borrows from the Flickr idea of user created galleries where users can choose a strictly limited number of items to include in a gallery or collection designed to illustrate or support a specific aspect of a subject; maybe based on the users own interests, or current affairs, or anything else suitable. Creation, and su

All the above plus the Architect can approve the progression from Draftsman to Master Builder (progression from Copy Tracer to Draftsman would be more or less automatic based on the number of accumulated points, with the number of edits actually making it through to the live site being factored in). The Architect could also have the ability to weight the points awarded for work in specific subject areas, thus giving them a measure of strategic responsibility in the development and curation of the collection. Elevation to the rank of Architect would again be based on the work done at lower ranks, but would also perhaps require some sort of final approval by project staff.

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