The little + by your name is part of a "Reputation" feature we have on the forums. You get two points for every thread you start, and one point for each response.
Members can also click someone else's + to give them points, but when you do, it comes out of your balance.
I believe this is a semi-common feature on other forums. It was requested to be added to http://pipesmagazine.com/, but then more people complained about it thinking it was stupid, so I took it off over there.
Kevin Godbee, CMT, Certified Master Tobacconist #1858