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This is what I'd like to see on a profile page - beneath the big reputation figure, I'd like to see two smaller numbers. The first would be the reputation the user has gained from answering questions, and the second the reputation gained from merely asking them. Personally I feel a bit cheated when I see someone with thousands of rep and discover it's almost entirely from asking questions - I'd like some quick way of seeing the split.

Then, possibly, on a question page, you could display the relevant figure next to their overall reputation depending on whether their post was an answer or a question. If I see someone who mostly just answers other people's questions, I find myself more curious about the questions they themselves ask. If I see someone answering a question who mostly just asks them, I take their answer with an extra pinch of salt.

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@Brad Glibert none of them are really related. –  alex Oct 20 '09 at 9:37

4 Answers 4

You can't really do it because you can earn a whole bunch of upvotes after you hit the daily rep cap. So any split like this could be really misleading.

If you see someone with "thousands of rep" from just asking questions, let it go. What does it matter? It's really hard to earn rep from questions (compared to writing answers). If someone has written enough questions that others have voted up thinking them good/interesting, what's the problem?

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Let's not villainize people that ask a lot of questions. Both Jeff and Joel repeatedly said on the podcast that questions are really important. You can turn almost any question into something useful with a bit of editing, even the really bad ones.

If no one would ask any questions we'd have nothing to answer. Just because a question might seem trivial or even stupid that does not mean you can't learn anything from it. Sometimes simple questions have incredibly good answers from which you can learn. A lot of the top users on all the trilogy sites have few asked questions. They do all the heavy lifting by actually answering, but if there'd be no questions they'd have nothing to answer.

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Perhaps somebody could create a greasemonkey script that would put hats on gravatar icons:

  • "Dunce" cap for people who mostly ask questions and answer few (maybe with a taller dunce cap for lower quality questions)
  • "Wizard" cap for people who provide good answers to questions
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How do you work out which ones are lower quality? Votes alone doesn't really help since many would vote up easy questions that are broad and slim pickens for answering. While more detailed/harder questions aren't likely to see any upvotes. –  random Oct 20 '09 at 0:38
    
I was just thinking by vote, since there isn't much else to measure by. It's all for fun, anyway. :) –  Greg Hewgill Oct 20 '09 at 1:24
    
Why insult a user with a dunce cap for asking questions on a site that was created for the very purpose of asking questions? –  JohnFx Oct 20 '09 at 4:07
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A greasemonkey script runs in your own browser, it doesn't have the magical power to change anybody else's view. I'm suggesting that if somebody wants the capability to annotate particular users by whatever criteria they deem suitable, there exist methods to do so which don't change the experience for anybody else. And they can develop such solutions in the privacy of their own home without involving Jeff et al. –  Greg Hewgill Oct 20 '09 at 6:01

This is something I'd like to see in some expanded statistics on the user page. You can figure out a lot about a user's knowledge base by looking at the mean, median and total score of their questions and answers, as well as the percentage of their answers that are accepted.

I didn't do the full calculation off my SO account as it's a little painful clicking through to each question where I've answered twice to get the value of each answer (also it's hard to take into account the occasional downvote hidden in there), but...

  • questions: mean 7, median 7, total 28 upvotes over 4 questions
  • answers: mean ~5, median 2, total ~200 upvotes over 89 answers
  • accepted: 17/89 = 19%
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