< Edit: It's turned off now! See this thread for more details and discussion. JK >
One of the new features that I mentioned a while back is the User Reputation system. The idea of this is to establish "credibility" scores for each user, based on what other members think of their contributions.
If it all works out, then once it has been running for a while and scores have become established you will be able to see at a glance how useful someone's advice is likely to be. This will be particularly useful for new members who haven't been around the forums long enough to form their own considered opinions.
How it works
On each post you will see this button on the left hand side under the member's details:
When you click on it a small window will pop up (make sure you don't have pop-up blocking software that will stop it) and give you the option to add to that user's reputation or subtract from it.
The amount that gets added or taken away will depend on your own credibility rating and the length of time that you have been registered.
Each member's credibility level is shown as a graphical representation (that's green dots to you!). Everyone starts as an "unknown quantity" with a grey blob.
A few notes
To avoid any individual having a disproportionate effect on the scores, you are limited to making three awards per 24 hours and they can't all be to the same person.
If your score falls below zero then reputation hits that you give out will not count.
Use your votes carefully! This is not designed to be used as a weapon, so try to base the scores that you give out on the content of the message, rather then whether or nor you particularly like the person who posted it
The more people that use the system, the better it will work. If you think a post is particularly useful or particularly unhelpful then please vote!