Patches, rewards, badges and social engineering
Love the site. I wanted to suggest that in the social engineering area of the site, a badge system similar to CNN iReport's might be more motivating then patches. The iReport site awards badges (see attached pic) automatically based on stats - a badge for your first post, 10th post, first vetted post, a certain number of comments, 100th post, first time featured on CNN TV, etc. The badges are coveted and they show very quickly who's good at what and what they've done. Perhaps you could do patches for your first instructable, your 10th, your first one with 10 comments, featured ones, etc. until if you get enough badges, you get a pro account?