How They Work And Why. A History.
from Patrick Ford
Wincustomize Access 5/06/2001 2.54am
Just letting you know that the admins at WinCustomize have voted to raise
your access to Master (Congratulations). Just so you are aware you will
need to log off and log back on again in order for your access level to be
Patrick Ford (T-Man)
When Wincustomize.com was founded following the untimely demise of skinz.org at the hands of eFront in early 2001, Frogboy [and several others] had seen the need for a more stable foundation for the skinning Community, a group who had been constantly disrupted by closures/failures of the then 4 or 5 major public skinning sites.
The first skinning-specific site to come online was Customize.org....which went offline for almost a year to redefine/renew itself. Deskmod suffered what was described as a catastrophic database loss. Deviantart was new and promising, under the direction of Jark but the focus was more than skinning and ultimately skinning was quite 'secondary' to the more established Art forms/media. The alternate shell [Litestep] sites were lucky to be up from one week to the next, and finally skinz.org ....fell victim to a dot-com advertising on-seller whose ethics were publicly shown to be far less than ideal [though it was entertaining]. There were [and still are] smaller sites devoted to skinning, however their 'market reach/penetration' was, and still is quite small.
Thankfully [for us all] Stardock/Frogboy came to the rescue and Wincustomize.com was born. She has since proven over the following 8 years to have underlined a new standard in longevity and reliability. Skinning's Community now had a place it could call HOME.
Being a Community site, IE a site for both skinners and users alike, it was a bold move on Stardock's part to engage in what some detractors saw as 'elitism' but what we know now as the "Wincustomize Promotions".
A site such as Wincustomize is not going to be the same thing to/for everyone. Some will see it as the staging ground showroom for their craft [skins] whilst others will be involved only to access/download whatever others have offered for download.
Different degrees of involvement really meant that not everyone really was/is created equal, not in the microcosm that is skinning's Wincustomize, so User Levels were set up.
Citizen, Apprentice, Master Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master.
There are others, eg. Exiled, Visitor, Wizop, and Admin, however they are more to do with the 'running' of the site.
Currently there are around 3.8 Million people who have registered with Stardock/Wincustomize and [as was always intended/expected] the vast majority are 'Citizens'.
So. How does one get beyond that basic User Level?
Involvement. [yep, simple as that].
Many [most] people will see and use the site as a resource, downloading content to improve/alter the appearance of their systems.....
....but others will get the itch to maybe look under the hood and find out how to do it all themselves. They may hop onto the forum/s with a query....and just never leave.
In the end their nick becomes commonly noticed [hopefully in a good way] and the site Admins/Wizops will propose them for advancement. Once this process has repeated itself a few times a User can find himself promoted to 'Master'.
What is naturally expected from this process is that each subsequent level achieved is reflected by a similarly elevated attitude/devotion towards Wincustomize and its Community, so much so that fairly recently [in the site's history] it was considered only appropriate that the Dedication of the Masters towards the site be rewarded with an opportunity to benefit commercially via the Master Skin sales.
By and large this whole process has been shown to be quite successful. There is almost never a 'reversal' of promotion [such would be an indication of poor judgement on our part].
So, what does all this mean to the casual/new User?
When someone first comes to the site he/she may find "Journeyman Jones" to be a quaint/odd affectation.... but will soon be aware that these senior levels is where one is likely to get the 'best' guidance within the skinning [and Community] environment, as it's not about User ID Numbers [being low] but more about User Ranking [a truer reflection of Community/site
Yes, old/founding site members [UserIDs in the teens] may still be at Citizen level....and 'new' members with UserIDs in the three-millions may be Masters already, as it is all about what you do, not about how long you have done it.
So...."How do I get promoted? I want to sell my skins one day"
Well...asking won't help, as won't becoming an Admin/Wizop groupie....
All you need to do is show a committment to skinning, and a respect and appreciation for all your fellow skinners/enthusiasts/users....