# Why is user reputation publicly available? [duplicate]

Coming from Stack Overflow here.

I understand that a point system is a must when you have experienced and inexperienced users all mixed together in the same boat. However, I don't understand the point of being able to see each other reputation. In fact, on Stack Overflow, the only thing that users gain with reputation are privileges, which is okay. However, these privileges are only meta tools that has nothing to do with their actual knowledge (to some extent). That being said, if these personal privileges were private (unknown to other users), it would change absolutely nothing for the other users, and the user itself.

Now, some of you will say that being able to see a user's reputation is a good overall measure of its actual capacity to answer. So when you see two answers which seem valid, but one from a 200 reputation user and one from a 20000 reputation user, our subconscious makes the biased assumption that the latter must be the best one. Even if it's usually the case, there is already a point system that takes care of that. In fact, if the latter is really a better answer, we vote the question up. If one's bad, we vote it down. As simple as that; no need for reputation.

Also, like stated in this post, this makes users worry about reputation, just like if it was a form of RPG where some are better than others. However, the reality is that old users benefit from that, and new users will never be able to come as close in terms of reputation. It's not like boxing where you can prove you can knock your opponent. It's a system where only time can push you up, even if you are extremely knowledgeable but unfortunately new to the platform. Most importantly, I think that a platform like Stack Overflow, which is suppose to promote community assistance and development, is bringing down the majority by exposing the minority, when the main reason why we are all here is to learn.

I do think that a system where everyone is equally exposed on the website would be better. The reputation system would remain, but it would be private, just like the money in your bank account. There would be no bias, and the point system would still work as intended (good = +1, neutral = 0, bad = -1). In fact, it would be similar to the Reddit approach (to some extent), which is in my opinion a way more friendly one.

Any toughts?

• "it would be similar to the Reddit approach" Meh! – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 6 '17 at 20:43
• Please don't judge rep levels by SO. Most sites don't have users with nearly the amount of rep as users on SO have. We also allow people to see rep on a time-based manner, so you can compare yourself on a monthly or quarterly basis rather than by all time. – Catija Jul 6 '17 at 20:45

• Reputation is a metric of how knowledgeable someone is No, it is not. It's a measure of the extent of your useful contributions to the site, and a measure of how much the site trusts you, but not of how knowledgeable you are. Many knowledgeable people haven't made lots of contributions to the site, and some people have made lots of contributions to the site that aren't particularly knowledgeable. – Servy Jul 6 '17 at 21:14