What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

I first noticed this when viewing my Network Profile, but it's also visible on my profile at any site.

My Top Questions are at the top of the page, prominent, easy to read with plenty of white space, tags visible, and so on. They just plain stand out (besides being the first thing you see when you hit the page). However, if you scroll down to Top Answers, it's almost like an afterthought. You don't see tags, when it was last posted/edited, and you only see the question that the answer was posted in.

This seems backwards, given the nature of the sites. It's not so much about the questions as it is about the answers you give. Yet on the Network Profile, and even on the profiles on individual sites, questions are toward the top of the page and are displayed in a way that makes them stand out a whole lot more.


Edits, in response to Jeff's post.

First of all, Jeff, if you and the team are interested in some wireframe type mockups of how you can address the concerns I have with the current presentation of the profiles, I'd be more than happy to whip some up. I've got nothing better to do with my time at the moment - just let me know.

It's not a big deal, since the best users (in my experience) tend to have a limited # of questions and lots of answers.

That's true. My ratio is definitely answer-heavy across my most-used sites. On Stack Overflow, it's currently 634 answers to 277 questions (about 70% of my posts are answers). On Programmers, it's much greater at 80 answers for 2 questions (98% of my posts are answers). However, that's not really the point.

The questions take up a lot of room the way they are currently displayed. Even with pagination, the answers don't begin until almost 2/3 of the way down the page.

Therefore, on the profile of the best users although you may see questions first, the natural "weight" of the profile is still expressed in a series of numbers...

This isn't displayed on the Network profile page. In fact, I don't see a total "questions" count nor a total "answers" count. Displaying these values, along with a "total posts" count might be a good idea. This should be visible when you hit up the page.

but it seems a bit capricious to change it in one place for such vague reasons.

The reason why it should be changed is based on who is viewing these profiles and what the purpose of the profile is to these top viewers. The profile should exist to demonstrate the credibility of the person posting on the site. There are two main categories of people who I see hitting up either the site profile or the network profile, in most cases.

The first group of people are other users of a Stack Exchange site, registered or non-registered. They might be viewing the profile to see how legit someone is. The About Me is a good thing, but seeing what other answers someone has posted also lends to credibility. In order for a person to learn about your credibility, you want to show off the user's top answers first. You also want to make it fairly evident how respected these answers are (in terms of votes and acceptance).

The second group of people are perspective employers. These are people who find the profile in different ways - they might come from a Google search, be given a link to it in a cover letter or on a resume, come from Stack Overflow Careers, an applicant's personal site, et cetera. I believe these people would want to see what a candidate for a job knows first and foremost. That would best be shown by showing their answers first. Knowing what kinds of answers they provide to questions is very enlightening. Showing questions first does show what kind of things the person is interested in learning, but doesn't reflect on their current state of knowledge in the same way answers do.

share|improve this question
2  
Brilliant! I'm not proud of some of my stupid questions. I wish I could completely detach myself from many of them. One's ability to give, not take, should be showcased in one's profile. –  raven May 30 '11 at 21:28
    
@raven That's another issue entirely. But still one that should be discussed another time/place as it could improve the profile pages. –  Thomas Owens May 30 '11 at 21:53
    
8 hours, 26 upvotes and no answers (excuses)? It looks like you striked a note... –  yms May 31 '11 at 2:06

3 Answers 3

I know this is an old thread, but I disagree. I'm fairly new to Stack Exchange, but when viewing user profiles I tend to presume that you can learn more about a user's strengths and weaknesses from questions than from answers. Answers (particularly in popular tags) can easily be cherry-picked (either easy questions, or happy confluence of knowledge about a particular scenario). Questions, on the other hand, generally reflect more strongly the true strengths and weaknesses of a user... users with large amounts of experience in a particular area tend to:

  1. Be better at pre-searching for answers: lots of experience usually means that issues of nomenclature are less of an issue, and so it's less common that an existing or obvious question will be asked.

  2. Be better and explaining the specific issue at hand, and do a better job of explaining what they have already excluded.

  3. Ask questions that are non-obvious or that pique the interest of others in the field.

This means that mean question scores will generally be higher than their mean answer scores. I admit it's unfortunate for those venturing into new sectors, but I don't think it's bad to encourage more thoughtful questions, and prospective employers will (hopefully) be focusing on relevant tags.

share|improve this answer

I guess if you really have a question, or multiple questions while you await answers, you need a fast and simple way to find your questions more than answers. I'm too more an anwering user, so I'm not sure about it.

On the other hand, the notification system gives you fast access to new answers to your questions. Maybe you should improve your questions, if they are of low quality. ;)

share|improve this answer

It's not a big deal, since the best users (in my experience) tend to have a limited # of questions and lots of answers.

Therefore, on the profile of the best users although you may see questions first, the natural "weight" of the profile is still expressed in a series of numbers like:

10 Questions

962 Answers

Which is, I think, as it should be.

I'd also argue that the natural order of Q&A is in fact questions, then answers. I'm not terribly opposed to flipping this around for the network profile, but it seems a bit capricious to change it in one place for such vague reasons.

share|improve this answer
    
Due to the length of the post, I edited a response to this into the original question. –  Thomas Owens Jun 10 '11 at 16:25
    
@thomas if you are volunteering to mock up new user page designs, I would be interested in seeing them.. :) we do need to redesign the /user/1234 page, as we have recently with /tags and /users –  Jeff Atwood Jun 10 '11 at 16:47
    
Cool. I can work on them and kick them to you. Should I post them in this question, email them to you, something else, or some combination? –  Thomas Owens Jun 10 '11 at 16:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .