My two cents: Titles are okay, ranks are stupid. If you are going to have requirements to reach a certain title, then it’s not a title, it’s a rank.
What this can lead to is a lot of useless posts that would not have been made otherwise simply to push one’s post count. Those might not even be spam per se, i.e. nothing that would be deleted, but do not contribute to the discussion at hand.
If you have ranked titles for “modders” then I would like to ask you what defines the level of a modder. What makes somebody worthier than somebody else for a mod? Time? Investment? Complexity? Size?
In addition, there’s the sociological aspect of this. If everybody is equal - in this case, without a title - then we have equality. A bit boring, but that would be the common thing in online communities. Of course a few people stand out, such as Steoffers and the Radiant guys and gals, but that’s about it. The users are equal.
If some have titles but others have not, then the titles should be justified in some way or another. For said user, it is a recognition: You did well in something. It’s an achievement of some sort. This is something other users can recognize too and even although titles are small in Discourse, they’re visible. So these users stand out in some way or another - what that means is up to each individual. Usually, I would say, persons with titles - persons that stand out - are likely seen as more important (and therefore their posts are valued slightly higher) or they’re… er, I’ll go with “despised”, either out of jealousy or because we have the good old proletariat against the upper classes thinking: That guy must be some sort of tycoon who employs children in his factory. Somewhere.
If all users have titles, then titles are meaningless again - almost. It depends on how the titles are made. For individual set titles, it can make sense - everybody is individual in some sense and therefore it’s just some sort of second avatar. However, being able to set them themselves is a bad idea per definition and asking the mods to set them for everyone is going to be a huge undertaking, especially when the community grows close to the release.
If we have ranks (titles that are unlocked by something automatically) and individual titles, the meaning of titles is… mixed. We still have the everybody-is-equal mixed with some-are-more-equal-than-others I would say. An individual title carries less weight, but at the same time it is hard to categorise a user based on its title (and humans, I would say, love to categorise things). Is a Mega Super User (achieved at 14’581 posts) more important than a Creator Of The Flower And Brick Mod? Who am I supposed to support in a discussion?
Too long, didn’t read: Titles are a powerful tool if used properly with consequences that might not be obvious at the beginning. I am against automatically assigned titles as it can water down the discussion to achieve a “better” rank.
Titles are not making people special, people are special because they’re people and because of their contributions. The only way titles can help in that way is to remind (new) users about what (extraordinarily) thing somebody contributed to the community. It can also help to put posts into context.
Therefore, I believe that titles should be given out carefully to people that can use it in the right way. Posting a lot should not warrant a title, neither should being a long time member. Those are neither achievements nor are they necessarily more than a status symbol, something the user can brag about.
It should be possible that somebody can feel welcome and appreciated in a community without having a little grey text box under his name.