Your 'status' under your name is solely referencing your post count. There may or may not be a historic thread somewhere outlining the mechanics, with levels (for example) at 100, 200, 500, 1000 etc, with military-esque ranks associated with each.
Awards (ribbons) are mostly awarded for participation in a game tournemant on here. Mostly Combat Mission ones (with a tennis style elimination system), campaigns, and various other systems. Though there have been others (ARMA campaigns, Fields of Glory tournaments). Hover your mouse over anyone's awards to see what they got them for. Note though that we used to have a CM ladder system, wth yearly awards for particpating, but that has now been retired.