Long-running online communities have a challenge when it comes to highlighting newer members. Old members – many of which may not even be active any longer – tend to be the members with the most total posts, most reputation or some other accumulated number.

One of the reasons people participate in communities is for recognition, and one of the ways that happens is through these metrics. If the path to recognition seems impossible, that makes some people less likely to participate.

Community software (or, perhaps, add-ons for our chosen software) can help us here, by displaying metrics that are more timely, in addition to the overall ones.

For example, what if you were shown a member’s reputation total for the last 30 days? In addition to a total? Maybe this month, this year, all-time. Same for post count. Same for any number your community views as a means of conveying authority. It’s a simple switch, but it is a switch that could motivate people to join in – and to continue to join in, in order to maintain their 30 day number.

In addition to stats show next to a member’s post and full, extended profiles, use your memberlist to provide people with not just the overall rank, but the rank this year, this month, even this week. “I may not have the most total reputation, but I am the best this week,” they might say.

As much as I try to discourage people from focusing too much on these numbers, there is no getting around it. Post counts may have been the original element of gamification within an online community, and reputation (and whatever else) is no different. People like them, and they are motivated by them. Your goal then should be to limit abuse of them and properly showcase them.