I think I have become mature in my view on karma over the two years I have played now. It has developed, as everything else. And now I think the karma-system is fine, it´s only the player´s use of it that isn´t. There is simply not enough karma going around, good OR bad. Let the karma flow I say.
Karma to me, is nothing more than a good or bad thought. Imagine you are looking for a place to park, and this person just manages to get the free spot you have been trying to get to. I bet you think a f-word then. I would. Related to CL, you would have given the person a BK. Or, you meet another persons eyes on the street, you both smile. Related to CL, you would have given that person GK. And, that is all there is to it.
Some think that you have to run trough GMV, grab 5 fallens while dodging rocks all the time, and avoiding getting hit by wendies, then get the fallens to town before you are worthy of a GK. Karma should be deserved they say, and then they think of the actions above. Hell no, as James would put it. A smile is enough to get you GK, a compliment on Baba´s clothing, a Thank you, whatever. A thought that I really like this character is enough. Or, I really loathe this one.
Reputation is a longterm thing, build over time, and whatever your characters karma, red - whatever, nothing else than actions over a long period of time will change that. Reputation can not be measured in numbers like that. What your characters karma shows, is what she/he has been doing lately. Karma is the short-term thing, the day to day thoughts others have of your character.
For example, when Baba´s karma goes down to 18gk, it shows that A) She has been solohunting much lately, or B) Studied a lot and then clanned a lot, or C) Hasn´t been visible to others at all for other reasons. Her long-term reputation is different from that.
I think players are too hung up in karma-numbers. Some get one BK and they are all over the sunstone asking what that was for, or post a long whiny post to the newsgroup. Come on. We are talking about something that disappears over time, one BK will be gone in two days. So, someone out there doesn´t like you or your character. So what? It´s a large world, not everybody can be friends with everybody. Clanlord would be terrible boring if all characters were friends.
And is your character really that sensitive that she/he would notice ONE bad thought?
Baba just went trough a long period of karma-trickle. I think she went red twice, that lasted for 2 milliseconds before those she was with reacted. She was up to 90 BK and 140 GK. It showed what she had been doing lately, as the karma was a reaction from someone she dragged to court and got jailed. And the GK the reaction from her friends. I feel comfortable playing her then, much more so than when she only has 1 BK, or even worse Zero. I always think I am doing something wrong then, and I have to think back and try to remember if I have played her too much sugar-sweet recently.
Personally, I like the karma-bomb as the witches used. Either good or bad, doesn´t matter, but Prue would sunstone "Fire!" and then all the witches sent a karma to an assigned character. Much more fun than the karma-trickle that most say are a karma-bomb. I would say that that is more like someone having nightmares about your character. Imagine if all DM got together and sent a real karma-bomb Baba´s way. Weeee! She would probably faint or stumble and fall, sensing all those bad thoughts her way at once. Or glow brightly if the karma was good.
Let the karma flow freely!
A small update.
One thing that never seizes to amaze me, is how players generally think that since I have this stance on karma, every bk coming their way must be from Baba. I don´t know if you remember, but Prue wrote a lengthy post on karma to the NG once, and after that - many players simply assumed that whenever they got karmatrickle, it was from the witches. Ignore all those other 999 , because they haven´t made their karma policy known and they would of course NEVER give bk.. I find it hilarious.
The most annoying part of the karma-system to me is as I have written, how players use it, and how they complain over bk. And, to me, also when Baba does something nasty and she does NOT get any bk. I find that equally annoying. I think the reason for this is that it´s the only thing in CL where we have numbers. Nothing else in CL gives you numbers, on anything. Personally, I think it is skewed. I don´t think the majority of CL players will ever "grow" up on karma as I have. For some, this karma-thing seems to be a popularity contest where the one with the most good karma "wins" something. It isn´t like that at all of course. Personally, I think an aura around the character might be a better alternative in the long run and would fit more into the CL world.