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?

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    "it would be similar to the Reddit approach" Meh! Jul 6 '17 at 20:43
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    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 StaffMod
    Jul 6 '17 at 20:45

Not specific to reputation, but I really like the open model SE uses: you can see what I reviewed, how I voted (to close, to reopen, etc.). You can see what my achievements are and where I messed up. That is good.

On SO you indeed have some old users benefiting from work they have done years ago, but that is not the case for a lot of other sites in the network. Reputation is a metric of the useful contributions someone has done and to some extend that a user knows something about a topic. That also gives someone some credit when they perform moderation actions (like closing a question as duplicate).

If you won't disclose reputation, you would get a lot of questions like 'why can they close my question'. The answer is obviously because they have quite some reputation, but you can't see that. The entire open SE model becomes a black box, which is bad for the site.

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    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
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    "gives someone some credit when they perform some action" : exactly why most answers by inexperienced users on SO are incomplete, quickly written and poor most of the time. It's because new users tend to write answers on anything just to gain reputation.
    – Golitan11
    Jul 6 '17 at 21:22
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    They will notice quite soon that is not the way to gain reputation. Jul 6 '17 at 21:24
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    @PatrickHofman These answers won't get constant upvotes like actual good answers, but they tend to get a few upvotes here an there. That's why "fastest gun in the west" and "rep farming" still is a problem: quantity over quality still works.
    – Tom
    Jul 6 '17 at 23:06

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