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I think that it would be cool to be able to see your historical ranking within stackoverflow. The question is, would it be motivating to see the line go up? And would it motivate you, if you saw the line going down, to do better?

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I think it is an interesting metric. –  tim Jan 21 '10 at 22:52
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+1 for narcissistic navel-gazing! –  Ether Jan 22 '10 at 5:50

3 Answers 3

If, after a certain amount of time, your ranking in the system hasn't become a minor concern in your rationale for participating, I think that there's something fundamentally wrong. I'll grant you that getting on the front page of users and getting ranked higher was for a few months a big part of why I kept coming back, but I've resigned myself to never getting a higher ranking on SO and, likely, losing my position. This is actually a healthly thing as I was (and probably still am) spending way too much time on this venture. I'm not interesting in doing any more to encourage people to seek ranking glory.

Mostly now I'm mainly here to learn and to communicate what I've learned which, I've found, is actually the best way to actually learn yourself. You certainly find out how much you don't know when start answering questions on stuff you thought you knew, but didn't.

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I was very focused on getting up higher and higher. I think my best was in the 10th page. Then after I got 10k hitpoints (and the fullest, non-admin functionality) I stopped caring. –  tim Jan 21 '10 at 22:51
    
On reflection, I find this a very interesting argument as to why you wouldn't want the graph... but then surely the same argument can be made about the reputation graph as well? –  Paul Wagland Jan 21 '10 at 22:53
    
I don't really look at that anymore, but I think there is a subtle difference in that it only shows you that user's history and doesn't compare the user with others. I have used the graph on occasion as an indication of another user's interaction with the system, though that has sort of dimished as well as fraud detection has gotten better. –  tvanfosson Jan 21 '10 at 23:01

I think you've got a good point about it motivating people to do more / better. The question that remains to be answered, though, would be if it also made overall quality go down. I know personally it would make me want to do better (I admittedly kinda watch it as it is), but I'd sure not want people to bang in more crap just for the sake of having more in the pot to garnish rep from.

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I think that anyone who really cares about their position, probably already cares about their position, and "keeps an eye on it". This would just be a mechanism to make that easier. Would the positives outweigh the negatives? That is a good question to ask. –  Paul Wagland Jan 21 '10 at 21:45

It would mostly be going up, because of the influx of new people with a one rating.

Maybe you could do it for all with rep over a certain amount, but I think the newbies coming in would still skew it.

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The new user list is constantly pruned, so while it is growing, it's not growing at a terribly fast rate. –  Adam Davis Jan 21 '10 at 21:37
    
Mostly going up? really? Percentage-wise, but not absolute position-wise –  tim Jan 21 '10 at 22:51
    
@tim, also position-wise, since if you're at say 4k it'll take quite a while for all those new users to catch up, and a high percentage of them never will. so on a graph of all users, your position will look like it's increasing (on an absolute position basis), because the low end keeps growing. Though I agree with Pollyanna, that if it's pruned, then that may not be so significant. –  Lance Roberts Jan 21 '10 at 23:25
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Amazingly, you would only need 13 reputation to be at the exact median right now: stackoverflow.com/users?page=1782 –  Ether Jan 22 '10 at 7:22
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@Lance The people behind you don't matter for position. It is relative to those ahead of you, not behind. Am I missing something? –  tim Jan 22 '10 at 14:58
    
@tim, I was looking at position out of everyone, but I see what you mean now, I'd also only be concerned with my position relative to the top. –  Lance Roberts Jan 22 '10 at 16:05

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