Regarding "Post of the Month," I'm considering having halls of both fame and shame.
Percy, if the object of the ratings system is to improve the average quality of posts, then I can give you a simple formula that would work.
All votes are positive. We can vote for a post that we think is good, and that would appear as a simple "1" beside the post. If more than one member votes for the post, then that shows as 2, 3,4 5, etc., meaning that a "5" would have much more meaning than it does at present, as it would have to come from 5 members.
Now, the important part. The most complex requirement would be a separate count of posts made which starts on the date the system comes into place. Appearing under a poster's name in place of the current average would be the number of points that poster has received, and the number of posts made since the system has come into place.
So, 40/400 means that the poster has received 40 points for 400 posts. Then, somewhere on the board would be the total number of points given for the total of posts made by the entire board. To keep it simple, for example 400/4000, which would tell us that the average is 1 point per 10 posts, and that the 40/400 member is right on the average.
Now, we have some members who rarely make casual posts, and put a lot of thought into their posting, and they might be achieving scores like 80/370 or even better. On the other end, a lot of casual contentless posts could leave us with embarrassing scores like 5/400.
So, what would happen? I think most posters would not like to be down near the bottom of the pile, and if we saw that was the case, we'd think "heh, about time I started making some effort to put some substance in my posts, 'cos I'm clearly dragging the board down."
The main criticism of this might be that it might work too well, and the board might end up with a much lower posting rate, and just 20 careful posts appearing every day! But I doubt it, as most of us wouldn't take it too seriously, and continue pretty much as now unless we were slipping down to a really embarrassing points per post ratio.
Some people have suggested that the ratings should be open to view who's rated what and whom. While that idea is understandable with the negative ratings that we have now, it would not be a good idea if we have this positive ratings only system. It could lead to members seeing that someone has rated them, and returning the compliment, or to the embarrassing situation of knowing that another member has rated you several times, and knowing that that member is well aware that you've never thought one of his/her posts worth a compliment. So anonymous would be best.
As for those with minority opinions, this would work well. There are less creationists to do the rating, but there are also less creationists posts to rate, so the results should be proportional, and it should be just as easy for a creationist to achieve a good ratio as anyone else.
If it's easy to put in a separate post count for the system, wouldn't that basic version be easier to put into place than the present one was, technically speaking?
I don't know, that would mean that "casual" topics in the coffee house, which would gather al lot of "casual" posts would be a thing of the past
No, they wouldn't. That's what I meant with the comment about the board being reduced to 20 serious posts a day, but it won't happen. Most of us would continue pretty much as now. And there's nothing to stop you rating posts on those "light" threads that you think are interesting, well written, or amusing etc.
Someone put a "five" on a two sentence comment I put in the humour thread a couple of weeks ago, for example. That made me laugh!
There's no reason why "quality" should mean "gravity". In effect, all it really means is pleasing/interesting/entertaining other people.
Personally, I don't mind any ratings system Percy cares to put in (or no ratings system). The reason I posted that message to him was because it occurred to me that if his objective was raising posting quality, then what I've suggested would work without creating much pain, and we could also avoid the sight of negative posts being piled on people, creationists particularly.
(I've never put a single "one" rating on a creationist. If I think someone's post is that bad, and I want to let them know, I tell them in a reply).