Welcome Myrddin7. Ranks are used on this message board only to allow others to know information about the users in connection with the message board, such as technical administrators, site administrators, moderators and yes, even which part of the course someone is currently studying. Other message boards will use them for other reasons, including rank and file. However, we do not utilize them in that way.
The OBOD ranks are there for use by those that choose to use them. It allows individuals to see who is perhaps studying the same part of the course as they are for private conversation etc. No one is given the "rank" of OBOD Bard, Ovate or Druid unless they ask for it.
Let me assure you, the only time you will see someone "pulling rank" is when a Moderator or Administrator has to step-in to moderate a forum, which is very rare. In those cases, you will see the response on the thread either in green or orange so that it is known we are speaking as an administrator or moderator and not just as a member of this Board.
I hope that helps a little concerning the use of ranks on this board.
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain