Love it! That’s a fantastic idea. I can totally get that sorted.
You’ve hit on the dilemma of every Community Manager the world over. We all have opinions one way or the other. Mine is complicated. I believe that gamification works for some people and not others. Used in isolation it is generally more detrimental than not, but it can be carefully managed so that the positive benefits are realised without people taking advantage of it. If you have a clear set of post quality guidelines (which we have here) then you can moderate according to those and people can’t bolster post count.
The way that this vBulletin reputation system works is pretty good. You gain reputation points when your peers Like your posts. In order for that to happen, they have to be good posts (= value). You can’t down-vote, which I think is great. That introduces negativity into a community. I would rather that people flagged posts that they have issues with and a moderator can make an unbiased decision on the outcome. Post count has no impact on an individual’s reputation, but it does affect their reputation POWER, which is the weight that one of their likes gives to another post.
So I guess the bottom line here is that this reputation system can’t be gamed by an individual.
So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll stop nagging and get these descriptions done inhouse. I’ll also get Matt to sketch up some badges when he gets a chance and we can use those in place of the reputation bar for a more UX flavour. Sound sensible?