Comment Rating and User Reputation System Answered
I use the website Paleohacks.com pretty much every day, and they have a pretty cool rating system that I think would work well here on Instructables. On Paleohacks.com, every new topic and new comment has an up an down arrow next to it. If you think its a good/cool/helpful topic you click the up arrow. I don't know how useful this option would be in relation to the instructable itself other than to provide a user based ranking system in addition to editor selected featured Instructables, but it would be extremely useful for comments.
Instructables should consider adding this option to comments. The more "up votes" the comment has, the more useful, on point or humurous (typically). Original comment threads are organized on the page by their number of upvotes. (of course, responses to those comments logically, go beneath them) This would be helpful if someone WAY at the bottom posts a comment that is extremely helpful and might otherwise get lost. On Paleohacks, in order to up-vote you just click the up arrow next to the person's comment.
To down-vote, on the other hand, you MUST comment on why you down-voted, and your name appears with your comment, so everyone knows you down-voted. The only reason people get down-voted is if they post mean or rude comments so its a great way to keep things friendly. No one wants to get down-voted.
The number of up votes you receive appears next to your name. For every up-vote on a topic or comment you post, you get 10 reputation points. There are people on Paleohacks who are super active and very knowledgeable whose reputation points are in the thousands.
I think this would take care of the problem user eNGame spoke of here: https://www.instructables.com/community/Pro-Instructables-Accounts/
when he/she said:
"Is a PRO account available without the PRO badge being attached to the subscribers avatar?
I feel in my case that having a PRO badge would be something akin to buying a $5 Phd in brain surgery from a backstreet vendor in Bangkok.
The reputation points serve us better because people who are really helpful or knowledgeable have really high reputation numbers. PRO just means you paid for a membership and that you support and value Instructables.
Go look at paleohacks.com and check out their rating system. I think it would do well here. Sometimes I find myself reading a comment here and going to click to upvote it and then remembering instructables doesn't have that feature.