N4G's Oldest Problem:The Bubble System and How to Fix it.
The Bubble system is a great system at first. Under this system, the people who make good comments with actual thought and advanced grammar are rewarded with extra bubbles to make even more good posts with and people who troll and use indecent language are reduced to one bubble and cannot post more than once.
This works pretty good in theory. It's a merit system that rewards those who actually contribute something to the article instead of starting flame wars. Everyone starts out with the now default three bubbles and you are left to either build them up or take them away on your own. In theory, the best posters will have the most bubbles.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. The flaw of the bubble system comes in with 2 factors; the majority opinion and anonymity. If you make a post that goes against what most gamers agree with, you are sure to lose your bubbles. If someone makes a post saying that they do not like gears of war or uncharted does that mean they deserve to lose bubbles? The person was not trolling or using bad grammar but the majority of gamers here will take away his bubbles simply because they dont agree. Many members of n4g have chosen to interpret the bubble down button as a disagree button, which is not how it was intended to be used.
The second factor is what really destroys the Bubble system. Anonymity means that you can take a bubble from someone and get away with it because he doesn't not know that you did it. There is no way to report people who take away bubbles for unjust reasons so the majority of the website can freely control who gets more bubbles and who doesn't based on opinion alone.
This can call be fixed by removing the anonymity. If someone takes a bubble from you, you will receive a notification for it much like you do when someone replies to a message. If someone has bubbled you down for an unjust reason, you can report it to a mod. Then the mod will review it and decide whether to remove that vote on you or not. Under this system, no one should lose bubbles for no reason.
That is the easiest solution I can find for this system. The bubble system is not a bad system, its just a broken one that can be fixed. If you disagree with my solution to the problem that is ok but one thing you cant disagree with is that the current system has been exploited by the members of this site and must be fixed.