To Whom It May Concern:
As you are probably aware, there have been some complaints with how the rating system is run on this site. For the most part, I have very little to add, and I never said much in the past, but with the sharp decline in my reputation recently for my lack of participation, I feel I should express my concern. I realize there are factors to how the rating system works, but I think participation is a particular dangerous one. The reason is that, like other users, I can't be on this website regularly and, when I have nothing to add to the message boards, it seems harsh to drop my rating so low. Sometimes, I can be busy and unable to visit the site for weeks at a time, and when I come back, I realize my reputation has dropped 5 points and I lost my Superstar status.
So what do I do when I don't have time or anything to write on these boards? If I do nothing, my reputation continues to drop. I can't be the only one who doesn't have the time to consistently contribute to this site. There needs to be a way to accomodate long hiatuses.
My suggestion is to have some kind of option that allows users to essentially take a break from the site without consequences. Just make an option that allows the user to visit the site without the need to actually meet a participation expectation. This option will shut down any priveledges but it won't hurt the reputation. When the user is ready to return, he or she can turn it off and all the rules are back in effect.
Actually, I am curious to know if logging out would prevent any damage to the reputation, because if that isn't the case, it would be a good way of doing. Again, I am simply referring to the role of participation and how hiatuses can hurt it. If logging out or clicking some button allows a user to roam this site without the necessity of posting on the boards, the frustration of losing points can be reduced.
Besides, if it becomes too much of a burden, I certainly have reason to just close the account and leave. I don't want to do this, but I don't want to be obligated to write every day when I simply don't have time.