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They are ordered by rep, but the way it's done feels very unnatural and it took me a while to understand how it worked. Basically you have to read column by column instead of line by line.

Jon Skeet, at 2x1, is second.. Kyle at 1x2 is 8th.

I think it would be much better if they were ordered so that the first line has the top 5 users, and so on.

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We don't write like this, but we are used to lists of items being displayed vertically. Multicolumn tables in newspapers are displayed like that, e.g. the temperatures in different cities. – Daniel Daranas Jan 29 '10 at 7:39
Let me guess: You played the old-school Might and Magic series of games, didn't you? :) Still don't like the idea, but I applaud the way you made your point. – John Rudy Jan 29 '10 at 12:58
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Reading down the list of users is quieter than wading through the mucky mess of rows.

There is a wider, gentler, sense of calming whitespace between the columns than there is between the rows.

The ample sum of relaxation as you scan down affords a breathing channel as you slide down the board of Snakes and Ladders.

phantom and hulk have easier time between columns

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I don't think so. We are all used to the existing order now.

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I don't know about you but I don't visit that page so often that the "correct" order would suddenly confuse me. – Andreas Bonini Jan 29 '10 at 7:36

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