I have been thinking about the rewards from folding in foldit. I think they are too short-term. I also think there should be a few more things being rewarded.
Currently there are a few things that foldit rewards:
While a puzzle is running, your soloist and group rank give you feedback on how you are doing against everyone else. You have the envy of those below you, and the gloating of those above you.
You have your soloist score overall, for the month, and for the week.
You have your evolver score overall, for the month, and for the week.
The overall score is somewhat misleading because they are not for all time. After four months, all previous progress on puzzles scrolls off. If you take a four month break from folding, you have exactly the same score as someone who just found the game. You even get to play the beginner puzzles again and kick the actual beginners around.
Since the rewards of folding are short term, I think there should be several things added:
* I think for any puzzle you should be able to get a bitmap that says something like: tlaloc ranked #3 on foldit puzzle 342: CASP 9 puzzle 34. This bitmap should be hosted on the foldit servers. HTML should be provided that shows the bitmap and hyperlinks back to the foldit web site. This would allow people to post this to their profile on other web sites. This would lead more new people to the foldit web site as well as providing a permanent badge for the person who did well.
There are rewards for folding, but few rewards for scripting.
* On your profile page it doesn't list the scripts you have created. It doesn't list the rank of those scripts, or anything else. The profile page should show the scripts that someone has authored with their ranking.
There should be a competition to create and publicly publish good scripts
* Just like scoring for soloist and evolvers, there should be a ranking of scripts and script writers. For this to work, the scripts need to be objectively scored from the improvement they give to the score. A stopped script cannot count since it may not leave the score in an acceptable place, so only scripts that run to completion should be counted.