There have been a couple of threads about this topic, but I can't find them right now. Where's Hien when you need him?
Basically, your status is calculated by number of posts in travel related forums, featured photographs, logged travels and some other secret criteria. The only people who know are Peter and Sander and they are not telling the secret.
The numbers are limited for Respected Member and Travel Gurus, I think but you never lose your Full Member Status.
And before you ask, the only advantages for Travel Guru is more space to upload pictures as far as I know.
"some secret criteria"
Put well, Pardus; in fact, no-one except maybe Peter knows what factors influence member ranking, and to what extent. I thought for a while that one of the admins or mods needed to have a special liking for you, but now look at my own rank
The photo space for regular members now is such that the advantage of being a guru has largely become theoretical; only unemployed, picture-obsessed members should ever meet their upload limits. But of course there's the general public's recognition, and the capability to spam-mark other members' posts
Here are three threads, all asking for the same information and with the answers. Phil is correct - once you attain Full Member status, it's permanent. Respected Member and Travel Guru are not and can change (up or down) depending on the fulfillment of the requirements.
budding member vs. full member
Levels of Members
(See, you didn't need Hien to find the links, Phil. Besides, he's probably glued to his TV, eating or taking a shower.)
I think the secret criteria relates more to a complicated formula stuff that potentially could harm people. I think Pete and Sander are secretely dissecting Aliens in their basement.
Thanks for all the "compliments." To answer the inquiring minds, I was eating and glued to the TV. I think I will attempt, in the future, to shower as well while eating and glued to the TV.
Ok, back to business. What Pardus said is right. Member status is calculated using a top secret and super complex formulae which Peter claimed that even he himself did not know how it really works. (Yeah, right! )
There are limited seats for Travel Gurus and Respected Members. So it is possible for Travel Gurus or Respected Members to be demoted if others caught up to them. Rankings below them will not be demoted. However, any member who continued to go against the forum rules repeatedly even after warnings from the moderators or admins will be banned and be given the "Inactive" status.