Bottom line: you need badges. Badges are essential to both contributors and channel moderators alike. They generally represent your level of success in a channel and often give you special permissions.
At first glance, badges might not seem like that big of deal. Well... they are. On the technical side of things, badges now play a critical role in our authorization flow and fundamentally change the way contributors interact with channels such as Lucky Magazine or Fashion Click.
If you're a contributor, you'll need at least one badge to start submitting content. Some channels award this badge immediately upon sign up, others do not. Badges are unique to each channel so you'll have to check and see what the requirements are for each community you want to be a part of. Remember that different badges have different levels of permissions, so a 'contributor' badge, for example, might grant you the right to submit posts to a channel but doesn't necessarily guarantee that your posts will be published.Some badges do allow you to automatically publish posts without moderation, but again, its up to the community moderators.
As a community moderator, you'll need at least one badge to start rewarding your members. It's a right of passage, if you will, and will allow them to start submitting content to your channel. You can award this badge to users automatically upon signup or rigorously select users with an eagle eye. Create one badge or a hundred badges. It's entirely up to you. Each badge can have its own set of special permissions.
To get a better idea of how this works, lets take a look at how some of our current channels make use of badges. Lucky Magazine employs a number of badges to help moderate and reward their community. It's a win win situation for both sides: contributors get rewarded for performance thus getting more exposure on Lucky, and Lucky gets to build a structured community with less moderation overhead.
The most popular badge at Lucky is the basic "Lucky Contributor" which lets you start submitting content. If you perform well as a contributor there are several other goodies you can acquire. For example, the second most popular badge (with less than 5% of the community) is the 'Lucky Style Collective'. If you're one of the few to pick up this bad boy, you'll be living large and publishing posts to Lucky without moderation. Other badges are more metric based, such as '10,000+ page views' or '100+ votes'. These won't give any special privileges but they certainly look cool on your profile and give you something to brag about.
Avon Romance makes great use of badges by distinguishing members, addicts, authors, and editors. This groups the entire community into roles and provides a nice organized structure.
Have you acquired a Lucky Contributor badge? Flaunt it! Let the rest of the world know you're a proud contributor to Lucky Magazine. You're free to display those badges anywhere you want on the web. In fact, we encourage it! Let your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know you just got that 'Editors Favorite' badge you've been dying for, or perhaps you just got accepted to Fashion Click. Either way, your friends deserve to know!
We're really excited about badges here at Tidal. Our platform helps create passionate communities; badges are the next step towards empowering our members and community leaders.
Now go earn some badges already.