Updating the BiggerPockets Influence System

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Hey All -
One of our upcoming projects is to update our influence system to one that better reflects a user's influence on the site.

We will be transforming the system from the current limitless influence scale to a 0 to 100 scale, where all new users start at 50, and can work down or up from there. Active users who have influence points currently will be placed in the new system based on their current influence.

That said, one of the important factors of our new system will be a time decay of influence, so those people who may have been active in the past, but who are no longer active, will slowly lose points over time.

Ultimately, we're interested in hearing from you, what makes you trust OR NOT trust someone on the site?

We want to take as many factors into account as possible so this system has some meaning and shows at any given time who the influencers are, and I'm looking to you for your feedback.

One of the things I'm most interested in hearing about is user feedback on negatives and the drivers of a user losing "points" on our scale.

Thanks and I look forward to a lively and respectful debate.

<------- is also going to sit with a bag of his own.

That said, while I have posted this to get ideas, the ultimate decision will be ours. I know that some people are going to be upset about the changes, but they are happening, and hopefully this will be a civil discourse about how to improve it.

Thanks!

As has been discussed before, there is no perfect system, but the system changes described sound fair to me.

The number one factor for me is quality of posts. Over time, I have come to trust certain individuals based on what they have said in the forums and in the blogs. The posters I have the most trust in are knowledgeable, willing to share, truthful (even when the truth hurts) and considerate. I really enjoy reading what some people have to say because you can tell they put thought into what they say and draw from personal experience (no matter how vast) to help others.

Obviously how active one is should play a role as well, as this community would not be worth much with a lot of knowledgeable members that do not contribute. Those members that post consistently gain trust over time, similar to any other relationship, business or otherwise (you have a larger sample by which to pull from).

I look forward to seeing the upcoming changes!

I've been pretty vocal on how the current system can be scammed, so any change away from that option is great , imo. I'll let others give their thoughts on changes. As Nick said, this may be fun.

Jon Holdman is the ideal responder imo. Rich.

p.s I scammed the system to be the first to 14,000 , just to see if it could be done, and many of us easily see who is doing it now, imo. Changes are needed.

What's the point in changing it if those that benefited from the older (ten thousand to one or whatever it was) formula are still going to be at the top, whereas those that joined later only got ten to one?

For those that say the current system needs to change because it isn't working well and can be scammed. I say, those that scammed it before still come out better than those that scammed it later...and both scammers come out better than those that didn't try to manipulate it.

So who wins? The scammers and the guys who get to spout it was changed because it wasn't working.

If you're going to start over, start over. 50 points for all.

I challenge you to reset the posts to zero while you're at it.

Here are my thoughts Josh in no particular order:
1. Time member has been a member
2. Number of forum posts
3. Number of blog posts (this post count should be weighted less than forum posts)
4. Activety level (how many times user has longed in the past week/month/year and weigh accordingly.
5. Number of times member's forum posts have been voted up.
6. Current influence levels would transfer over with the previous 5 rules applied to them, thus "leveling" out the system and the previous scammers for influlence points would thus be corrected somewhat.

I do not see a need for negative votes on posts (will likely only cause problems for Josh and BP Nation, but do agree that when posters brake forum rules, they get docked points (as is the current standard) and as users do not actively use the site, their points start dropping off (at whatever rate you figure it to be).

I guess you also have the option to continue to display the "old influence" points on a users profile if you so choose to.

Is there somewhere on the site where the current Influence system is explained? I read the Forum Rules and it doesn't appear to be there. Did I get a message about how it works when I signed up that I accidentally deleted? (Wouldn't be the first time.) I've only made a few comments and I have Influence points and I have no idea what they are for or what they mean.

So far Influence isn't influencing me much. I'm looking for posts that address what I'm interested in and new ideas. I'm an experienced investor and there's a lot of good stuff on this board to read. So far, Influence points haven't indicated anything more than "Like" to me.

Is the goal of the Influence system to serve the forum community by validating the posts and creating trust? If so, how does subtracting points from someone who reduces their participation do that? If someone generated valid Influence points, why would you reduce them? Aren't the points given by the community? (Again, I may be off base because I don't yet understand the details of the system). Sounds more like site traffic and commodification issues to me. If someone with lots of Influence points reduces their participation, because they have other commitments or, you know, because they died.......wouldn't the Influence points naturally fall below those that are more active, without you reducing them?

Nick: Please pass the popcorn.

If you are worried about people who has not posted in a while, make the influence based on results over the last 6 months.

Also, if I were king for a day... I would have negitive points available, so if someone was posting bad information or negitive comments, or just advertising. It would reflect in their influence rating.

Originally posted by K Marie:
Is there somewhere on the site where the current Influence system is explained? ...

Read the "related discussions" at the bottom of the page; one of those is the link you seek.

I agree with others who suggested negative points. I don't look at the points much, but sometimes when someone posts something that seems odd to me I look and if it is negative I figure they are just posting to gain exposure or advertise something, having negative points helps to distinguish these individuals.

I think whatever the system is that gets implemented, there should be some explanation of it that is very easily discovered so everyone knows what the points are measuring.

Maybe instead of the vote system that is currently in place a question of was this post helpful to you and use the number of yes and no responses to factor into the score.

Originally posted by Kyle Meyers:
...
I think whatever the system is that gets implemented, there should be some explanation of it that is very easily discovered so everyone knows what the points are measuring.

...

This could be accomplished by making a hyperlink to the explanation page from the word "Influence" next to the number alongside every post.

If your using the 0 to 100 idea it should be harder to go up as you progress. For example you should have to do more to earn a jump from 60 to 70 then you did to go from 50 to 60.

As Rich said Jon Holdman is the ideal poster and the system should be designed to increase the influence of that kind of poster.

Will's list is pretty solid though post counts always scare me... I'd rather see something like a word count... essentially go based on content versus number of posts.

I'm far more influenced by poster's like Jon who #1 explain things in great detail to back up their thoughts/opinions/statements... and #2 just as importantly, are charitable enough with their time to type all of that information.

I'm far more interested in the guy who comes and posts 10 thesises then the guy who comes in and types "Go Vikings!" in a bunch of off topic NFL threads.

Would also be interesting if you could bias posts in certain forums for each individual. As someone who's doing the buy and hold landlord thing, I'd be more interested in people who's expertise is in that particular area versus a J Scott or someone else who does a lot of flipping. Would be nice to see his score lower when I look versus when a flipper looks... or even just when he posts in the landlord forums versus the flipping forums (btw, I like J Scott, the fact I remember his name off the top of my head means I read and respect his stuff, just using him as an example of specific knowledge base).

@Joshua Dorkin , have you looked into what LinkedIn did with their forums (not sure if they still exist)... Once they had a feature where the OP could come back and close the thread. When they did that they got to award a "Best Post" award and also a secondary award to posts they felt best assisted them on the topic. Those "awards" were shown below a persons avatar as sort of a ranking system. The awards were separated by forum so you could see for example that someone had 10 Best Post awards in Flipping but none in landlording... it would give you an idea of his area of expertise.

Several forums allow that, Nathan. We're considering everything. I'm going to likely remain relatively mum on this topic unless I really need to chime in. I'm very interested in the feedback and have seen some fantastic suggestions so far.

I'm nowhere near smart enough to figure out how to "game the system" when it comes to influence points, nor do I have any idea how I've accrued the ones I have. I did read the beginning of the thread on the current system and it seems complicated.

What I'd find useful is some way to delineate attributes and specialties of members. Yeah, the awards are cool, but also a bit arbitrary. I would say the most descriptive award I've received is "Newbie Blogger" which doesn't say much for my blogging skills, but also doesn't necessarily give anyone a very good idea of what I actually do. I can only list one aspect that appears on my posts and profile, and I do have my license, so I picked Residential Real Estate Agent. Is that accurate, exactly? No, not exactly. I'm actually more of a "Fix and Flipper" than I am a traditional agent, but the best way to describe me would be a "Courthouse Steps Buyer". That also tends to be the forum in which I'm able to give the most detailed and thorough advice, although I'll happily offer knowledge where I'm able in other arenas. However... you'd have to read a lot of my posts to know that.

I guess what I'm getting at is that this system, if it is going to consist purely of integers from 0-100, should expand on the ability to have descriptive attributes, and these should be ones that you are able to self-assign, and others should be able to assign them to you. Kind of like how you would describe Coors Field as a Hitters Park or Tim Tebow as a "dual threat QB". If I think Jon Holdman gives great advice particularly with regard to SDIRAs for example (and btw, I do), I would like to be able to indicate that somewhere. Yes, voting up his post does that, but not as directly as I'd like.

Not sure if this is the direction you wanted to go Josh, but its been something that's been on my mind for a while. Maybe at least one other person out there agrees. If not... well it wouldn't be the first time.

Originally posted by Jake Kucheck:

I guess what I'm getting at is that this system, if it is going to consist purely of integers from 0-100, should expand on the ability to have descriptive attributes, and these should be ones that you are able to self-assign, and others should be able to assign them to you. Kind of like how you would describe Coors Field as a Hitters Park or Tim Tebow as a "dual threat QB". If I think Jon Holdman gives great advice particularly with regard to SDIRAs for example (and btw, I do), I would like to be able to indicate that somewhere. Yes, voting up his post does that, but not as directly as I'd like.

Hmmm... Tebow tackles??

To elaborate on Jake's post... Perhaps, as indicated by the number of votes somebody gets in a particular category, they get a badge on their forum posts showing they are knowledgeable on a topic? Sort of a cross between our current voting system and the badges used by Yahoo Answers.

The badges idea is catching on at several of the sites I am a member at. Just remember any system can be scammed if enough people participate. The current system does not necessarily reflect someone true influence. Perhaps a better voting system for quality posts and/or assistance provided would be better.

After reading all the comments thus far, I am leaning towards this:

Screw it, delete the influence system all together, who cares. You know who you like and respect after reading their posts so just go with that. If you are new, it will become abundantly clear who the main contributors are, who is wise in what areas and who is not.

My question is what purpose is the influence system supposed to serve and does it do so successfully?

I am having a hard time telling what the real purpose is...

- Is it to quickly identify the most active members? Doesn't post count do this basically?

- Is it to show the most knowledgeable posters? If so, you have to create a voting system which opens up another issue of manipulation. Do people with higher points have more influence when they like a post?

- Is it to punish posters who violate the rules? Anyone who violates the rules will likely not last long on BP with or without an influence system.

It seems to me that anyone who spends very much time on BiggerPockets will develop their own opinions of posters. Personally, I never paid much attention to the influence points and would not have a problem with keeping the current system, modifying the system or getting rid of it all together.

The important part is that BP continues to be the best community for real estate investors...if the influence system adds to that I am all for it. If not, focus on the next improvement to take BP to the next level.

I'm with @Will Barnard

screw it, delete the headache. There are too many of us who are active and very knowledgeable who wouldn't even let someone come here and spew any shizz.........

We've eaten people alive before(they clearly deserved it) and we'd do it again.

As a newbie, I have only been on BP for maybe one month, I wanted to chime in here. I actually like the influence system you use, although I have to admit I don't fully understand how it works, LOL. I do get the general idea though. Maybe it could be simplified?

It tells me who has been around here a long time and gives a level of credibility. I am not saying a new person is not credible, I am just saying it is nice to see that someone has been part of BP for a long time and been a contributor.

Many of you guys have been in here for a long time now and you know each other, and you know who has been around here, and who has not. But a new person does not. I am generally cautious in business by nature, and if someone who was brand new asked me something in a PM or forum, I may be more reluctant to share something that I may be more comfortable sharing with someone that I see makes a major contribution and has been around the BP community....not sure if my point makes sense to you guys, but I like knowing when someone sends me a PM or asks me something, that I have a comfort level that they are not just in here for some other possible motive.

Anyway, just two cents worth from a newbie. Thanks for listening!

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