What ranks are available?
There are three kinds of ranks: Enlisted, Commission Officers, and Flag Officers.
The difference is that Enlisted ranks just have basic training, while Commissioned Officers have gone through a four year officer training course at Starfleet Academy. Flag Officers are the admiralty, and that is above the pay grade of anyone on the Portland.
Most player characters will be Commissioned Officers, as they tend to be the ones who are the stars of the show and occupy important positions such as Department Heads. However, there may be some enlisted crewmen bouncing around and they may occupy prominent roles based on specialized knowledge that they hold despite not having completed officer training. For example, Chief O'Brien was an enlisted crewman, but he wound up being Chief Engineer on Deep Space 9 based on his technical skills and knowledge. Additionally, we may have civilians on board in various capacities.
A list of ranks is available here
There are some rules on ranks, available here
Do ranks mean anything out of character?
No. On the Portland, everyone is equal. Except for the command staff, who are more equal. Just because you hold a slightly higher rank than someone in-character doesn't mean you can boss them around out of character. Save the bossing people around for Tim & Alenis.
How is my rank determined?
Initially, your rank is determined by the command staff, based on your position and the service record in your character's bio. Most department heads will hold a rank somewhere between Lt. (JG) and Lt. Cmdr. Assistant department heads will generally hold a rank lower than that, between Ensign and Lt. (JG). If your character has more experience in your bio, then you are more likely to hold a higher rank. We also tend to give initial ranks a little on the lower side, so we have some room to promote you later on.
Note: The above applies to everyone but the Commanding Officer, whose rank is determined by our TGCO & TFCO based on these rules
When are promotions done?
Generally, they are done during breaks in the action, such as between missions or during shore leave. The command staff will generally consider whether to do promotions at the start or the end of a mission.
What are the criteria for promotions?
There are two main sets of criteria: in-character and out of character
In-character criteria: In-character criteria are things like your character's service record and their service on the Portland. Basically, to be eligible for a promotion, it has to make sense in-character that you might be up for one based on your character's experience and service.
Out of character criteria: Also, we like to reward players who are committed to the Portland, who post regularly, who produce high-quality posts, and who advance the story in cool and interesting ways. If you are an active and contributing member of the Portland, your chances of getting promoted go way up.
I've worked hard and posted lots, but my character is fresh out of the academy. It's not fair that I'm not getting a promotion!
Promotion in rank is only one way to reward players and characters, and unfortunately it doesn't always make sense in-character for someone to hold a higher rank than they currently hold. Also, it may not make sense at the moment to do a promotion, as we typically have to wait for a break in the action such as the end of one mission and the start of another. However, we do have other ways of recognizing your hard work, such as awards.
Besides, isn't the fun we've had roleplaying together it's own reward?