The Level system here is great for a few reasons. It edges up responsibility as real experience increases. In the best Tom Sawyer idiom it makes users feel like getting to paint the fence is more fun than work. And of course, if it feels fun, it is fun. Great technique for driving the content forward and keeping users long term. Really good site design.
I've noticed a curmudgeon or two complaining that the XP/Level system here isn't meaningful (to them); that there are Saints who got there only by using up daily votes.
A geeky, but maybe nice, feature to combat this would be user sponsored and voted awards, medals, orders, so on. They would be harder to get than levels by design. Say, only Bishops or higher could nominate, and only Friars or higher could vote on it, and it would have to be determined in a combination of number of vote (100++ votes/50% of active users?) and ratio of ++:-- (minimum ratio of 50:1). Or anything along those lines.
Awards would be a clear mandate from the senior community. Could come in many flavors to acknowledge differing levels of significance, obviously. Could also have individual "Relics" that transfer so one is a holder of "The Curly Braces of Map, Sort, Map" for a period.
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