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Sometimes I see old questions or answers posted by users that now have high rep or even are diamond mods. Just out of curiosity, it would be nice to see (e.g. by hovering over the user name) the reputation this user had at the moment of posting.

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I'm sure that this has been asked for before and was [status-declined] but as usual I can't find it right now. – ChrisF Aug 17 '10 at 9:41
A rep history widget should be possible to build with Greasemonkey and a web service querying the API or a data dump. That would have been a nice entry in the API contest (if this is something the API can do)... – Pëkka Aug 17 '10 at 10:07
I really don't see the value ... – C. Ross Aug 17 '10 at 12:42
@CRoss: as I said, just curiosity – Tobias Kienzler Aug 17 '10 at 14:13
up vote 6 down vote accepted

While this would certainly be an interesting piece of information, before we can think about implementing something we must ask if it will be useful and beneficial.

To What End?

As we know (and have repeatedly discussed) reputation is not equivalent to programmatic skills, historical reputation even less so. Let's take a few examples.

  • Jon Skeet and Jon Skeet from 6 months ago: Do we honestly believe that Jon Skeet has become that much smarter over the course of the six months? Or is it possible that he was already that knowledgeable and his reputation hasn't caught up yet.
  • Eric Lippert 6 months ago. He had 1 rep at some point despite being already on the C# team. Again, his reputation simply was no where near representing his level of skill.

Reputation is not gained by learning

An interesting, but certainly true, fact. Reputation is gained mostly from answers. This generally means that you are exactly as smart before writing a stellar answer as you are after it. Obviously, users gain knowledge and skills over time (usually over the course of doing their jobs) this, again, won't be reflected in their StackOverflow score unless they go in and answer more questions, which, as I mentioned usually indicates that they have more knowledge before they gain the rep.

Usability 101: Do not include irrelevant information

If we add a feature which presents users with information they don't need, they will attempt to factor it in anyway. We explicitly do not want this, because the new information (rep at post-time) is meaningless or (at worst) misleading.

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Nicely put. By and large rep is function of your participation in a site. There are exceptions where people attract massive numbers of down-votes or spam flags, but on the whole the higher the rep the more the user has participated. – ChrisF Aug 17 '10 at 13:07
@Chris, and while it's certainly true that brighter users will have an easier time gaining reputation, the correlation is far too fuzzy. – devinb Aug 17 '10 at 13:10

The reputation graph on each user's network profile should cover your needs on this.

  1. Note the date of the post
  2. Click through to their profile
  3. Click the network profile link on their site profile
  4. Click through to the reputation tab
  5. Follow the arterial clot, or embolism strike point, to the same date of the post.

tear drops on the rep graph show where you should start going to bed crying into your pillow at the overtake of your Meta EXP earn quick cash now

And there you have the reputation of the user at the time of the post.

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Err... What are these light blue things? Raindrops? Tears? – Goran Jovic Jan 7 '12 at 22:37
It's the tears that flow when you realise your Meta rep has surpassed your SO rep – random Jan 7 '12 at 23:02
@random I never even started with SO rep > meta.SO rep... – Tobias Kienzler Jan 8 '12 at 2:49

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