I suspect that this is a controversial idea, but I think it would be useful to allow responses to a question on the SO family of sites to be sorted by the reputation score of the responder.
Here is some of my reasoning in making the feature request.
- There is a loose correlation between someone's reputation score and the quality (or insight) of the answers they provide.
- Interesting answers to posts often don't get many upvotes because they are masked by the first response effect.
- Controversial questions often get a lot of responses, and it becomes difficult to sift through all of them to find the interesting comments.
- This seems like an easy feature to implement (at least on the surface).
- Empirically, I've found myself looking for responses from certain people because I know that they generally have good, insightful answers that may illuminate facets of the problem that others may not realize.
I realize that there are a lot of feature requests out there and many great ideas just don't have enough value to implement. But here's why I think this idea has merit:
- The purpose of these sites is to share knowledge within their particular domains.
- Valuable knowledge is "promoted" to the top of the list (based on votes) to help people sift through noise by relying on the expertise of other contributors.
- The reputation system is a powerful way of identifying contributors with a particular expertise or enthusiasm for a subject.
- Expertise/enthusiasm is an indicator of the potential quality of a response.
- Seeing the best responses to an answer is a valuable capability for a knowledge system.
Some of the potential downsides of this idea:
- This could overshadow voting as a way to score the relative value of an answer.
- People's reputation changes over time, just because someone has a high reputation at the present, doesn't mean that when they answered the question they did.
- It feels undemocratic and may convey a negative impression to some people.