How do you know who is really helpful and knowledgeable around the ranch? Check out the cows. Moderators and Ranchers can grant cows to other members. How do you earn a cow? Just post and be helpful. Then wait for someone to notice.
As soon as you earn cows, they will start getting displayed below your display name in all your posts like ...
The post(s) which resulted in you earning a cow, also show up as ...
Cows grant you some special privileges here at the Ranch:
1) If you have at least 5 cows, you can post in the Rattlesnake Pit - our forum for controversial non-tech topics (see note 1). We've assumed if you have 5 cows, you know how to be civil. If not - well - we can always ban you from that forum. In other words, we will prevent the troublemakers from using that forum so come hang out with us there.
2) Once you become a ranchhand, you can vote in topics with cow polls. And if you have any cows, you can have additional votes. The ranch believes that opinions matter, and that includes the opinions of your cows.
3) If you have at least 1 cow, you can use the "flag" feature. The flags might look like blue ! to you. (that's because they are.) For each cow you have, you are allowed to place one flag on a thread that you didn't start. These are displayed to all visitors so they can see what topics could use some extra love. You'll get your flags back when the post is marked as resolved or if you take them back manually.
4) If you have at least 6 cows, you will obtain the ability to have more bumper stickers. Bumper stickers are cool. Earning cows is cool, so one should lead to the other right?
5) If you have at least 5 cows, you will be trusted to maintain the integrity of topic conversations. By default, a post is restricted from editing, once it has been responded to. With 5 cows, the restriction is relaxed a bit.
Note: This perk is currently in flux, as the ability to edit a conversation is currently being worked on. Regardless, the final form of the editing feature should contain a relaxed restriction.
6) As you earn cows, you can also earn some slices of PIE. This will enable even more special privileges that you can enjoy -- including the ability to disable advertisements, or the moose...
7) Respect. You did earn those cows from the coolest moderators around, right? Additionally, the top cow earners are listed on the cow leaderboard for all on the ranch to see, so, let's make it a game of earning cows...
8) And finally, a note from our Trail Boss:
paul wheaton wrote:Every once in a while, staff get the idea of selecting new bartenders. They tend to look to the ranchers with the most cows.
Every once in a while, staff get the idea of selecting new ranchers. They tend to look to the ranch hands with the most cows.
I kinda think that the cow system does a really good job of reflecting quality.
How do you know who has *not* been nice on the ranch? Or has violated the trust of the ranch? Well, you can also lose cows...
The post(s) which resulted in losing a cow, show up as ...
Also, be careful with the special privileges. The ability to post in the Rattlesnake Pit or to be given extra flexibility in editing posts, does not mean that it can be abused. The cows are a sign of trust that you will behave, and not a license to misbehave -- so don't let your cows get bitten by any rattlesnakes.
What if you're one of those cool members who can grant cows? Pretty sweet huh! Well let's not get carried away, there are some limits to the number of cows you can grant per day. The rules are:
Rancher: can grant maximum of 1 cow per day
Bartender: can grant maximum of 3 cows per day
Saloon Keeper: can grant maximum of 10 per day
Sheriff: can grant maximum of 30 per day
Marshal, Marshal Commander and Trailboss: can grant unlimited cows per day
Comparing the Cow feature ...
with Thumbs Up:
Thumbs up may be given by any ranch user, and for any purpose. Cows are only given by users who are trusted to give out cows, and generally, for a purpose that is stronger than giving a Thumbs up.
A single Thumbs up may be given for any specific post. For Cows, any number may be given to any post. Additionally, Cows may be given directly to a user (without requiring a specific post).
Thumbs up can be an indicator of quality posts. Cows are stronger indicators of quality posts. Additionally, cows enable many privileges that have been mentioned in this topic.
Pies may be given by any ranch user that have pies to give away, and they will lose the pies that they give away. Cows are given by users who are trusted to give out cows, and they are limited by their daily limit. Users do not lose cows when they give away cows.
Pies may be purchased. Hence, they may be an indicator of users who (may) have supported the ranch monetarily.
Pies (along with their privileges) also expire. With Cows, they (along with their privileges) can be lost if they are taken away for a specific reason. Discussed in this topic.
Pie and Cow privileges are not exactly the same. However, users with Pies, generally also own some Cows, so it is generally not a concern. Regardless, see the privileges list of Cows and Pies to compare.
1) As the ranch is moving towards more types of forums, it is expected to have more forums with different cow based posting restrictions. So, please don't stop earning at five cows, as there may be forums with higher cow requirements in the future.
2) The requirements specified in this topic, such as "if you have at least 5 cows", are subjected to change. We will try to keep this Wiki page up to date, but sometimes, due to many feature / policy changes, we may get this wrong. Please report any discrepancies that you may encounter -- and possibly earn some cows...
3) Many of the descriptions and features discussed in this topic, do not apply to the mobile view... sorry ...