A “friends list” on Stack Overflow would be nice
Already, in my brief few months on Stack Overflow, I have noticed some distinct personalities and have come to expect certain kinds of responses from certain people. I moderate how I say things to those people so that they can best hear what I'm saying (sometimes choosing to wisely stay silent), and I learn how to read what they're saying more effectively so I can better understand them. I should be able to tag notable personalities I've encountered to facilitate this process.
Individual people have a history of behavior. It would be very helpful for me to record my opinion of that history in a way that allowed me to act on it quickly and efficiently in the future. Being able to simply tag someone with a particular tag I choose so I have a shorthand reference to their history of behavior as perceived by me is a good way to do this.
I would like these tags to appear next to their name and user icon every place that is displayed.
Part of the reason I want this is because there are a large number of users who appear as 'unknown' or 'unknown (google)' or some other thing and use the default random geometric art icon. If I could just recognize them by their names, I would be much less interested in this.
I've read through some discussions of the community surround Stack Overflow and its related sites. A common fallacy I see technical people (including myself) fall into is that if you can just get to the objective truth that should be obvious to anybody that all these messy differences of opinion and personality clashes will become moot. That is just not how people work, and basing decisions on how to run a community on the assumption that you can somehow makes things work that way will just lead to endless difficulties.
This site is not a pure ground of questions and answers; it has people and personalities and all the messiness that this entails. I would rather see that tackled head on than quietly ignored in the hopes that the purity that isn't there will somehow magically assert itself.
Conversely, if people are insistent that somehow who people are is not important, and only the questions and answers are, then I think we should put everybody on even ground with the 'unkown' people and hide names, reputation scores and achievements from view. All of those things are either handles by which someone might form an impression about someone's history on the site, or explicit recognition of that history. If peoples' history's and identity are not supposed to matter, they should be hidden so that they don't.