A clipping from my 'Beginner's Guide.' The complete article can be found on my profile.
"The Ranking System is intended as way to rank members based upon the knowledge they display on the site; the ranks being fluffy, beginner, novice, knowledgeable, & adept. These ranks are displayed as colored bars with the name of the ranking next to the members picture on their profile. If you do not see a ranking on someones profile then it either means they are ranked fluffy or have not attained a ranking at the present moment.
Members who are ranked as either knowledgeable or adept have the ability to decide upon the rankings of other members. To rank you, a member with this ability chooses one of the rankings above when viewing your profile. Say, you get a fluffy rating from one member, but get a novice ranking from another. The ranking system will average out these 2 ranks and it will be shown that you are ranked beginner. To attain a knowledgeable rank, a couple members must rank you knowledgeable as one member alone cant complete this.
If you desire to attain a rank, then it is encouraged that you show your knowledge by writing/answering forum posts, publishing articles/spells, engaging in intelligent conversation on the public chat, and communicating with members ranked knowledgeable or above. I would recommend that you are patient with your ranking, as it will not happen overnight, even if you are a very knowledgeable member. The shortest Ive heard for receiving a knowledgeable ranking was 3 months. Furthermore, it wouldnt be wise to ask members to rank you, as they will most likely rank you as a fluffy for asking. Be patient and persistent, and one day you might be surprised to find a rank on your profile."
It's easy to get a reputation, if you prove that you can be intelligent in the Forums, Articles, and Chat. Remember you can gain you reputation, but you can also be demoted or your reputation can be lowered, if a Adept or Knowledgeable thinks your forum posts are spammy and or not true, they will probably demoted you to what ever rank they see is fit.