V2 of the community rolled out recently, in theory to help with the disincentives of the current points system. While points were reduced a bit, it did nothing about the underlying issue - the greatest incentive is a really nice prize that goes to the top 1-3 points accumulators most months. With very small prizes for the next 7-9 places.
To be in the running for that prize, you have to maximize points - which means certain activities at a specific time and on a consistent basis. That results in thread spam and less interesting / helpful comments at less appropriate times.
As an example, this is what you have to do currently to stay at the top of the leaderboard:
On the last day of the month, compose 5 responses to different threads that you did not start. Save them as drafts.
Create one new thread. Save it as a draft.
At 7pm EST (or 8 EDT) on the last day of the month, when the new leaderboard posts shows as empty, post your thread and share it on twitter / facebook. Resume and post each of your draft responses. This can get your maximum 25 points for the day in about a minute.
Repeat the next day, except doing everything at least 1 minute later. Continue every day all month. Doing it much later than normal means going later the next day, and so on, until eventually you have lose a whole day and are 25 points behind.
That is the baseline to stay near the top of the leaderboard. On top of that, the margin to actually win:
Participate in all weekly picture contests, etc for a chance at extra points. The admins rarely choose the same person twice in a month, so this tends to average out among the most active people.
Submit a review or multiple reviews at one of the sites that is still allowed for review submissions.
Those activities encourage low quality threads and comments. Responding “good share” gets the same number of points as a detailed and helpful troubleshooting answer, or a friendly discussion. Starting a thread with no interaction is just as valuable as one that gets lots of discussion. A 6th response less than 24 hours after your last response gets no points - so you might save it as a draft for points later.
Suggested improvement -
Make the monthly referral leaderboard giveaways into a lottery among those who have been reasonably active for the month.
Say anyone over 250 points? Or a certain number of likes / days active? - 750 is currently close to the max possible. Still a lot of incentive to be active, without the pressure to max out. And the winner gets the feeling of delight at winning a prize, rather than earning it. I would hope to see a broader pool of eligible people (certainly more than 10), with fewer maximizing points.
This month 6 people had a maximum score halfway through the month, and 2 others were within a few points. Anyone who wasn’t doing this had no shot. When the rewards were posted with only one top prize was available, several immediately dropped out, and the number of daily threads decreased substantially. I have been part of optimizing my activity for the current system myself, not blaming or pointing fingers, just asking for a better system.
I would be happy to hear more suggestions. But whatever they are, one thing to keep in mind - any system that consistently leaves out regular and helpful members like @Chiquinho should probably be reconsidered. Social media shares and daily deal threads aren’t as valuable to maintaining the community and keeping it active and healthy as fun conversations, great pictures, and helpful answers.