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Reputation system Rails engine.


Merit adds reputation behavior to Rails apps in the form of Badges, Points, and Rankings.

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Table of Contents


  1. Add gem 'merit' to your Gemfile
  2. Run rails g merit:install
  3. Run rails g merit MODEL_NAME (e.g. user)
  4. Run rake db:migrate
  5. Define badges in config/initializers/merit.rb. You can also define ORM: :active_record (default) or :mongoid.
  6. Configure reputation rules for your application in app/models/merit/*


Creating Badges

Create badges in config/initializers/merit.rb

Merit::Badge.create! takes a hash describing the badge:

  • :id integer (reqired)
  • :name this is how you reference the badge (required)
  • :level (optional)
  • :description (optional)
  • :custom_fields hash of anything else you want associated with the badge (optional)


  id: 1,
  name: "Yearling",
  description: "Active member for a year",
  custom_fields: { difficulty: :silver }

Defining Rules

Badges can be automatically given to any resource in your application based on rules and conditions you create. Badges can also have levels, and be permanent or temporary (A temporary badge is revoked when the conditions of the badge are no longer met).

Badge rules / conditions are defined in app/models/merit/badge_rules.rb initialize block by calling grant_on with the following parameters:

  • 'controller#action' a string similar to Rails routes
  • :badge corresponds to the :name of the badge
  • :level corresponds to the :level of the badge
  • :to the object's field to give the badge to. It needs a variable named @model in the associated controller action, like @post for posts_controller.rb or @comment for comments_controller.rb.
    • Can be a method name, which called over the target object should retrieve the object to badge. If it's :user for example, merit will internally call @model.user to find who to badge.
    • Can be :itself, in which case it badges the target object itself (@model).
    • Is :action_user by default, which means current_user.
  • :model_name define the controller's name if it's different from the model's (e.g. RegistrationsController for the User model).
  • :multiple whether or not the badge may be granted multiple times. false by default.
  • :temporary whether or not the badge should be revoked if the condition no longer holds. false -badges are kept for ever- by default.
  • &block can be one of the following:
    • empty / not included: always grant the badge
    • a block which evaluates to boolean. It recieves the target object as parameter (e.g. @post if you're working with a PostsController action).
    • a block with a hash composed of methods to run on the target object and expected method return values


# app/models/merit/badge_rules.rb
grant_on 'comments#vote', badge: 'relevant-commenter', to: :user do |comment|
  comment.votes.count == 5

grant_on ['users#create', 'users#update'], badge: 'autobiographer', temporary: true do |user| &&

Other Actions

# Check granted badges
current_user.badges # Returns an array of badges

# Grant or remove manually
# Get related entries of a given badge

Displaying Badges

Meritable models have a badges method which returns an array of associated badges:

<% current_user.badges.each do |badge| %>
  <li><%= %></li>
<% end %>


Defining Rules

Points are given to "meritable" resources on actions-triggered, either to the action user or to the method(s) defined in the :to option. Define rules on app/models/merit/point_rules.rb:

score accepts:

  • score
    • Integer
    • Proc, or any object that accepts call which takes one argument, where the target_object is passed in and the return value is used as the score.
  • :on action as string or array of strings (similar to Rails routes)
  • :to method(s) to send to the target_object (who should be scored?)
  • :model_name (optional) to specify the model name if it cannot be guessed from the controller. (e.g. model_name: 'User' for RegistrationsController, or model_name: 'Comment' for Api::CommentsController)
  • :category (optional) to categorize earned points. default is used by default.
  • &block
    • empty (always scores)
    • a block which evaluates to boolean (recieves target object as parameter)


# app/models/merit/point_rules.rb
score 10, to: :post_creator, on: 'comments#create', category: 'comment_activity' do |comment|

score 20, on: [

score 15, on: 'reviews#create', to: [:reviewer, :reviewed]

proc = lambda { |photo| PhotoPointsCalculator.calculate_score_for(photo) }
score proc, on: 'photos#create'

Other Actions

# Score manually
current_user.add_points(20, category: 'Optional category')
current_user.subtract_points(10, category: 'Optional category')
# Query awarded points since a given date
score_points = current_user.score_points(category: 'Optional category')
score_points.where("created_at > '#{1.month.ago}'").sum(:num_points)

Displaying Points

Meritable models have a points method which returns an integer:

<%= current_user.points(category: 'Optional category') %>

If category left empty, it will return the sum of points for every category.

<%= current_user.points %>


A common ranking use case is 5 stars. They are not given at specified actions like badges, a cron job should be defined to test if ranks are to be granted.

Defining Rules

Define rules on app/models/merit/rank_rules.rb:

set_rank accepts:

  • :level ranking level (greater is better, Lexicographical order)
  • :to model or scope to check if new rankings apply
  • :level_name attribute name (default is empty and results in 'level' attribute, if set it's appended like 'level_#{level_name}')

Check for rules on a rake task executed in background like:

task cron: :environment do


set_rank level: 2, to: do |committer|
  committer.branches > 1 && committer.followers >= 10

set_rank level: 3, to: do |committer|
  committer.branches > 2 && committer.followers >= 20

Displaying Rankings

<%= current_user.level %>

Getting Notifications

You can get observers notified any time merit changes reputation in your application.

To do so, add your observer (to app/models or app/observers, for example):

# reputation_change_observer.rb
class ReputationChangeObserver
  def update(changed_data)
    # description will be something like:
    #   granted 5 points
    #   granted just-registered badge
    #   removed autobiographer badge
    description = changed_data[:description]

    # If user is your meritable model, you can grab it like:
    if changed_data[:merit_object]
      sash_id = changed_data[:merit_object].sash_id
      user = User.where(sash_id: sash_id).first

    # To know where and when it happened:
    merit_action = Merit::Action.find changed_data[:merit_action_id]
    controller = merit_action.target_model
    action = merit_action.action_method
    when = merit_action.created_at

    # From here on, you can create a new Notification assuming that's an
    # ActiveRecord Model in your app, send an email, etc. For example:
      user: user,
      what: description,
      where: "#{controller}##{action}",
      when: when)
# In `config/initializers/merit.rb`
config.add_observer 'ReputationChangeObserver'

TODO: Improve API sending in changed_data concrete data instead of merit objects.

Uninstalling Merit

  1. Run rails d merit:install
  2. Run rails d merit MODEL_NAME (e.g. user)
  3. Run rails g merit:remove MODEL_NAME (e.g. user)
  4. Run rake db:migrate
  5. Remove merit from your Gemfile
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