Karma, the most mysterious feature built-in to Pligg, is finally getting some much needed attention from the Pligg developers. For years we have been talking about how we could improve karma, but it wasn’t until this week that we finally did something about it. Coming soon, to a Pligg version near you, is the Pligg Karma module. This module will allow you to finally keep your user Karma scores up to date without you having to set up a cron job. “What’s all this Karma jibber jabber?” some of you may be asking yourselves. Well read on and find out!
Karma is a score assigned to each user account on a Pligg site. The score is supposed to be a representation of how active the user is on your Pligg website. A user who is frequently participating on your site would have a high Karma score, while a user who is either new to the site or inactive will have a low score.
Previously the Karma feature required users to manually set up a cron job, which many users either didn’t have access to or they just weren’t informed that they needed to set one up. Another disadvantage to the old method is that the Karma scores would only be updated when that cron job was executed rather than in real time. Now that we have designed a new “Karma module”, there is no need for users to deal with setting up a cron job. When using the Karma module, Karma scores will be updated instantaneously as users vote, comment, or submit stories.
The Karma module has a settings page where you can configure how many points users earn (or lose) for a variety of actions. At the bottom of the page you are even able to artificially manipulate a user’s Karma score. This allows you to give some users an instant boost to their Karma. You can even punish bad users by giving them negative points in this field.
A new feature that we will introduce in the next version of Pligg will be a “User Rank” system. While Karma gives you a number that tallies user activity, User Rankings will show you what place a user has on the website. The most active user, who has the highest total Karma score, will be ranked in first place (#1). The second most active would be ranked as #2, and so on. The easiest way to see how rankings work is to look at the current Top Users page on the Pligg Demo.
User Ranks can appear on the top users, profile, and story pages. On story pages, you can display a user rank for the story author and also for every comment author. The “Wistie” template now displays User Ranks next to each of these areas as well as in the User Profile page.
In the past we had considered using these Karma scores to give users with high scores more weight to their votes. This would mean that very active users would have more influence over which stories would be moves from the upcoming section to the ‘published’ homepage. Digg.com uses a more complicated algorithm to give the top users incentive for submitting and voting on articles. At the time of writing this article we are still thinking about whether this type of feature is worth developing. If you would like to see this type of feature added to Pligg we would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below.