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Is there any way the collections of resources pointed to in questions and answers (for example, List of freely available programming resources) can be subjected to rankings by topic experts on Stack Overflow? Since Stack Overflow probably has the most diverse collection of experts, ranking of these free resources will be invaluable to the larger community.

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Stack Overflow is not a forum. There are no "threads". There are "Questions" and "Answers". –  Joel Coehoorn Feb 21 '11 at 17:56

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It would be pretty valuable. I think, though, the best way for this to be done would be in a third-party web application or other utility.

There is only one ranking system on a Stack Exchange site, and that's across the entire site. While this ranking affects the positions within a question, each individual post is still rated across the full site. So if you disregard the anomalies of the grandfathered poll and Hidden Features questions, a +10 on one answer to a question has the same meaning as another +10 on an answer to a different question, even if it's the highest scoring answer for one and the lowest scoring answer for the other. It means that a net positive of about 10 people think the answer is useful. It may not have been "good enough" for one question, but it's still a Nice Answer.

Implementing the ranking of free resources within questions and answers would need to be done on an entirely separate ranking system, to avoid spoiling this system. And such a system would have to be designed and added to the engine. Rather than burden the Stack Overflow team with developing this for something that doesn't really get much use (there aren't all that many scenarios where you need this across all of the Network), it would probably be more effective if a third-party utility was found or developed to handle this. The tool could then be brought here for people to use, much like several scripts and tools have been in the past.

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I think it will be useful to keep it a separate tool. I will try to find out if something is already implemented for such a purpose. –  neoblitz Feb 23 '11 at 16:17

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