Has there been any discussion about denoting the experts of certain topics, for example MVPs or Microsoft employees in the small profile icon?

This way users can quickly distinguish between random internet morons like myself, and the ones accredited with their chosen speciality?

  • 10
    I may be random and on the internet, but I am no moron, sir! Aug 4, 2009 at 20:14
  • Sounds like a good idea for a badge
    – Chris S
    Aug 4, 2009 at 20:15
  • 1
    @Pesto, To be fair, there are plenty of non-random morons on the internet.
    – devinb
    Aug 4, 2009 at 20:37
  • 2
    I may be a moron, but I am not random!
    – mmyers
    Aug 4, 2009 at 21:52
  • Have you seen what some ms buffoons did with ie6/Vista/MS Ajax etc etc
    – redsquare
    Aug 4, 2009 at 21:57
  • 1
    @redsquare. Yes. But I'm not sure how that's relevant. Unless you're implying that everyone who associates with Microsoft is useless because of those products. You can pick any company and make a list of their failures if it makes you feel better. That doesn't make the employees less worthy of their due recognition.
    – devinb
    Aug 4, 2009 at 22:32
  • what's wrong with ie6?!
    – Chris S
    Aug 4, 2009 at 22:55
  • 6
    what's this about random people?
    – random
    Aug 5, 2009 at 0:13
  • 3
    @Chris S: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it! Aug 26, 2010 at 20:29
  • 2
    Am I the only one who has no idea what MVP stands for? Aug 8, 2012 at 9:59

8 Answers 8


Why can't these users simply put this in their profile page?

These things shouldn't make a user absolutely trusted by anyone anyway. Voting should be done based on the quality of the post, not the user.

  • +1 - I agree...SO levels the playing field, we don't really need a pseudo-tier of MVP's or other such industry superstar ratings.
    – Kev
    Aug 5, 2009 at 9:52

No. Please, please, no!

If someone gives a clear answer, supports it with references to authoritative sources, provides easy-to-follow examples, and patiently answers follow-up questions... Then that's enough, even if it's the only answer they've ever provided on the site, and googling their name turns up nothing but a lone blog post from 2001... about cats.

If someone gives a brief, unclear answer, with no supporting references, missing or unhelpful examples, and steadfastly ignores follow-up questions... Then it's not enough, even if they have a high reputation number on SO, are heavily awarded by various industry organizations, have written several books on the topic, and currently hold the top spot on Google for the best programmer ever.

Judge people by their answers. Or better yet, don't. Just judge the answers, ignore the people. SO is no place to be resting on your laurels... We're here to answer questions, not fawn over celebrities.

  • Chris S thinks otherwise. +1
    – akarnokd
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:57
  • I don't, infact I'm the same opinion as shog9, that's why I tagged it discussion. I was just curious what people thought having seen it all over the asp.net forums
    – Chris S
    Aug 4, 2009 at 20:05
  • 5
    Ha! It was actually the MSDN forums that I had in mind while writing this... Very irritating, to find a thread asking the question i'm searching for an answer to, with one bad answer by an MVP. I'd rather find no answers, than one containing little beyond a big fat signature and a link to irrelevant documentation, written by someone who obviously doesn't even understand the question but has committed himself to meeting some quota of answers anyway... perhaps so he can hold onto this dubious award.
    – Shog9
    Aug 4, 2009 at 20:10
  • @Shog: This occurs because MVPs are those that evangelize Microsoft products to the communities. MCP (and up) are ones that actually have to take a test. The MSDN forums do bug me, though, since that MVP badge is worn as authority, wherein they really are just the most active. Most of the time, one begets the other, but there are a fair amount of exceptions.
    – Eric
    Aug 4, 2009 at 20:33
  • 1
    @Shog9: I don't have any quota of answers, nor does any other MVP I know. In fact, I haven't even been asked to provide any answers. The award is more for what you've been doing recently than being about what Microsoft expects you to be doing in future. Aug 5, 2009 at 14:40
  • @John: I apologize - didn't intend any disrespect to you or anyone else. There's a decent chance that the answers i tend to search for are obscure enough that no one has a ready answer, and what i'm seeing are simply good-faith attempts by a forum regular to provide some guidance to a user who would otherwise be ignored. But it still looks bad from the outside - i know MVP is awarded as a reward, but i also know it's a PR thing, and it's easy to read too much into that when seeing it next to a poor-quality answer. Probably another good reason not to make such awards too visible...
    – Shog9
    Aug 5, 2009 at 15:32
  • @Shog9: I don't get what you mean about it being a PR thing. Can you post the link to the Forums post you were referring to? Aug 7, 2009 at 21:04

MVPs are awarded by Microsoft for those that help spread the word to the community more than it is to experts. The more you know...

Regardless, this isn't a Microsoft (or any other company's) site, and the only currency on here is reputation. We vote up answers so that you can quickly distinguish between random morons and decent responses.

  • Oh really? Explain blankman then: stackoverflow.com/users/39677/blankman
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:24
  • 1
    @Rich: I votes on answers was the way to distinguish, but that reputation was the only way you can get a semblence for their history. Reputation is not the be-all end-all. I worded my response specifically as such.
    – Eric
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:26
  • 2
    I said votes on answers...dammit...
    – Eric
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:26
  • @Rich B - agreed, reputation is not a 100% indicator, but it can be a helpful start. In the same vein, voting is not a 100% indicator either; people must be smart consumers of information if they want the best answer for their situation. Aug 4, 2009 at 19:27
  • 4
    some of Blankman's questions are fairly solid. I could point to a LOT of other "asks lots of questions" users that are far worse Aug 4, 2009 at 19:31
  • 1
    I agree that some are solid, but that's right up there with saying even the worst baseball player has a shot at hitting a home run if you give him enough at-bats. It doesn't exactly instill confidence.
    – TheTXI
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:33
  • 1
    @Jeff: 'Solid'? I don't think there has been a single one that didn't need fairly serious overhauling. The user never learns from all the edits that are done to his posts.
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:34
  • 5
    Blankman is the mascot, though. It's his photograph on the novelty coffee mugs that say, Stackoverflow - questions from people who don't like learning.
    – Welbog
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:35
  • MVP was just an example. It could extend to CISCO qualified people for serverfault, java qualifications and so on
    – Chris S
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:41
  • 5
    @Chris: Again, who cares how someone is certified if their answer works?
    Aug 4, 2009 at 19:42
  • I was playing devils advocate on this question though it's not that clear from the way I worded it. Typically MVPs have the highest rep anyway
    – Chris S
    Aug 4, 2009 at 20:08

Reputation and badges are, roughly speaking, SO's way of marking people as possible experts. Certainly you can't put too much weight into someone's reputation without doing a little research into how they achieved their rep. But regardless, I cannot see SO doing anything to provide "external" approval of a person. If you want to make your credentials known, you can put them in your profile.


Give a MVP a badges and letting them start with 100 reps may be good if it gets more of them to use the site. Otherwise let everyone live by their rep.

Who will be the first person to get a MVP due to their ansers on StackOverflow?


Put the information in your profile.

From what I have seen, most people are pretty forthcoming about their information and I haven't seen much in the way of posers and fakers.


I have no interest in being identified as an MVP on this site, anywhere except in my profile. That's more than enough. I primarily put that information there (translated to acceptable HTML from a much prettier signature I use), so that, when needed, I can say, "go look at my profile and see if you see any reason I might be right about this". I think this has happened once in the five months I've been here.

Besides, my reputation here, especially as it distributes over tags, is a better indicator of the likely quality of my answers than my MVP-hood. I'm an MVP in the Connected Systems area (roughly, Web Services, etc). But my experience ranges over ASP.NET, SQL Server, SSIS, multi-threading issues, etc. If you only looked at my MVP award, you might wonder what I'd have to say about SSIS.

  • @Downvoter: would you care to explain the reason for the downvote? I have not been able to imagine a reason to downvote this. Aug 5, 2009 at 14:36

My attitude on forums like these has always been that I'm a guy with an opinion and an ISP. The quality of my answer depends a whole lot more about what I say than that I have >10K of StackOverflow rep and a C++ badge. (The rep and badges are for personal gloating when I'm not asking or answering questions.)

However, if we are going to put rep and badge count next to our answers, we probably want to note relevant tag badges. We are apparently trying to indicate answers from more trustworthy sources, and I'm a lot more trustworthy answering C++ questions than Visual Basic questions.

You must log in to answer this question.

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