All users can work hard to achieve certain criteria in many areas of the website. So for example, there may be five achievements relating to posts, one when you reach 50 posts, another at 100, 250, 500, and 1000 posts. As you achieve those goals you will gain an Achievement ‘badge’ (usually displayed along with your posts, but more details on where they are displayed in full later on). Most badges have a picture associated with them that help visualize that achievement. Any user who meets the criteria for an achievement will receive it.
Criteria for Achievements (and indeed many other aspects of vBAA) can include posts, threads, visitor messages, blogs, blog replies, registration length, referrals, friends, shouts (when vBShout is installed), mentions received and mentions given (when User Tagging is installed), thread ratings, reputation, polls, poll voting, etc. The list is extensive, and it would be best to investigate personally what is available on the site, perhaps asking one of the moderators or administrators. In essence, most things you can do on the site can be logged, and if setup by the administrators, can count towards achievements.
The highest scorer in each tracked criteria gains a ‘trophy’ as being the best (or worse depending on the context, such as with infractions) and holds that trophy while ever they are the leader. This trophy often shows up next to the username of the person who holds it, for example next to their posts.
Trophies allow for a friendly competition to excel in one or more areas of the site, encouraging the user of quieter areas of a forum, such as blogging and social groups. This in turn establishes the activity of the site further.
It is also possible for users to be handed an ‘award’ that may or may not be directly related to vBAA on the site. Awards can be given to those who win or who are runner-up in Activity Contests (more on these below) or can be Requested or Nominated by users. Requesting an award can be done by you, or you can nominate someone else for a reward you feel they should have. It may not be always possible to request or nominate awards, depending on the setup on your forum.
Awards might be something like ‘User of the Month’ or ‘Legendary Moderator’. The awards that are available on your forum will depend on your forum’s setup by your admin. You may want to suggest creating awards if they aren’t available currently.
Activity Points are collected by users for various things they do on the forum, some are obvious such as starting threads, posting replies, blog entries, etc. Others will also include tagging threads, using polls, creating polls, and many more. What point values these have will depend on the setup of your forum.
Some Activities will create a negative value, so be careful not to end up receiving them. It may also be that the site has a period of time where some actions give you more points than at other times. The Administrators and Moderators will no doubt give you heads up information on this before that is put into place.
As the Activity Points grow for a user, their ‘level’ of Activity increases. The Levels are automatically created by the software dependent on the average Activity across the forum. This is a quick way of gauging and focusing on what your Level of Activity is across the site.
To encourage intensified use of the forum for a time, it may be that an Activity Contest is setup (perhaps not always known in advance by the users, as vBAA does not publish active or future contests, so contests will be known only if publicised) to help with this.
An Activity Contest measures the amount of activity within a given time frame, and users who achieve the minimum Activity Points set will be ranked in order, the first to reach the level of points required receiving the top prize (usually an Award) and a number of Runners-Up will also receive prizes.
Depending on the setup of your forum, it may be possible to be promoted (or even demoted) to another usergroup by certain types of Activity on the site. Check with your Administrators for more information on whether this is available and what Activity qualifies for it.
Now we have examined some key features, let us example what is available on the main vBA home screen.