The Stack Exchange network has individuals that have gained a high reputation answering questions about interpersonal skills. It would be great if these types of people were rewarded for helping out other sites in the SE network. Particularly sister SE sites that suffer from interpersonal problems.

I like how SE uses points to build up trust and reputation. I'm not suggesting that changes. When I build up a reputation on a site like Stack Overflow, presumably the majority of people vote based on my technical abilities. In other words, the reward system doesn't consider my behavior.

There should be a metric to encourage people to increase their interpersonal skills/emotional intelligence. . Not to punish bad behavior rather reward good behavior. No downvotes in the behavior feature. No user visible points. It doesn't matter if points are required in the backend to implement the system. The whole thing could be activity based, but it would be great if people could reward others for good behavior.

Would it be wise to implement a behavior rating? I'm personally not a fan of points on such a system. I'm not even sure how such a thing would be implemented? Red to green? Hitler to Gandhi? Some class based system where a % fits into each? Visible to all or just the user? I dunno. I feel that to get such a thing right you need to at least make it clear why you have this rating and how you can make it better > best.

Ideally this system will carry across all of SE. If we could somehow get people with high interpersonal skills (from interpersonal skills site and all SE for that matter) to moderate/assist those that don't (from a suffering sister site) isn't that the highest level of community we can achieve?

Before you dismiss this clearly controversial topic, please at least read the article by Jay Hanlon I posted above. "Let’s reject the false dichotomy between quality and kindness". IMO, quality and kindness go hand in hand. If I call into a customer service desk and am treated horribly, but they get the answer right is that acceptable? Should this be acceptable online?

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    Slightly controversial opinion? Many IPS users don't have great interpersonal skills, that's why they need the site. And "niceness" is a hugely intangible thing. – Journeyman Geek Apr 30 '18 at 2:37
  • @JourneymanGeek - I agree. I stated that using points for this is bad. And what you said is one powerful argument for not using points. When I mentioned IPS users I meant to say those that have earned high reputations. Among those are likely to be a high % of folks that understand IPS well enough to help others, but that's beside the point. The point is some SE sites are grossly off putting and that needs to change. Obviously large groups of people are offended and pushed out of the system. Myself included for a long period of time. – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 2:42
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    I have an ongoing problem with arbitrary downvotes. (I just upvoted you to try to offset it a bit.) I don't believe that simply disagreeing with a topic should warrant a downvote. This is a good question, even if people don't agree with it . . . – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 30 '18 at 7:06
  • What you're proposing is a "merit metric" in addition to a "popularity metric." But I don't see how it could be practically implemented. At best, reputation from one site should affect other sites in some way. (It already does slightly—I automatically got 100 reputation here simply by linking to my other sites.) But perhaps in addition to a bonus, there should be some kind of global pool? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 30 '18 at 7:12
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    @JasonBassford From What is meta? How does it work?: "On posts tagged feature-request, voting indicates agreement or disagreement with the proposed change rather than just the quality or usefulness of the post itself." Downvotes on this request aren't arbitrary and shouldn't be offset. They show disagreement with the proposal. – Modus Tollens Apr 30 '18 at 11:08
  • @JasonBassford - Part of the problem is that only the most dedicated - hardcore users are likely to even look at meta. That's not my target audience for this question. "a lot of devs feel like Stack Overflow is an intimidating, unwelcoming place. We know because they tell us." <-- I've been in this crowd. That's my target. – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 13:01
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    @ModusTollens I understand the theory behind Meta and downvotes but (1) I suspect the number of people who do are overwhelmingly outweighed by those who don't—or who don't care and who keep "gaming" downvotes anyway; and (2) even with Meta's intention, the system itself needs to be changed so that people (especially those with low reputation) don't remain silent out of fear of having their helpful suggestions downvote spammed. Disagreement can be better expressed (in all respects) by upvoting a countering answer. It's all relative. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 30 '18 at 15:08
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    @JasonBassford (1) I believe you are wrong. Nothing is gained by users who downvote, and downvoting out of spite (why?) would be counter productive because nobody would want their questions to be downvoted for that reason. (2) The system worked well until now. Feature request downvotes should not be taken personally. People just disagree with this suggestion. – Modus Tollens Apr 30 '18 at 15:13
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    @P.Brian.Mackey You can say that your target is Stack Overflow specifically, but I believe it applies to all sites. I've never even looked at SO—but the discussion here resonates in terms of every site I follow. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 30 '18 at 15:15
  • @JasonBassford I downvoted because I don't agree with implementing a behavior rating. We have the flagging system to handle problematic comments. Users who keep being rude should be politely shown the door. – Modus Tollens Apr 30 '18 at 15:16
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    @ModusTollens I understand what you're saying. I just don't agree with it. :) I've looked at several other discussions on the topic of downvoting (even on Meta downvoting specifically), and I'm far from the only person who feels this way. But, democratically, you can downvote whatever you want, just as I can upvote whatever I want. In the end, the system works collectively anyway. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 30 '18 at 15:23
  • @P.Brian.Mackey I have been in another crowd. The one that politely comments under a non-answer that comments should not be posted as answer and got hit in the face by being called a f****** b**** in response. Even though I flagged as rude, the user didn't get suspended, but keeps on posting happily. It's not the first time that happened. I am not thrilled about that. Nor am I thrilled about the influx of meta questions using that blog post as confirmation that SE is treating newcomers badly. Newcomers should behave, as should veteran users. – Modus Tollens Apr 30 '18 at 15:27
  • I'm here for my Hitler rating. Please make sure it shows up on my flair. – user1228 Apr 30 '18 at 19:42
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    I'm just waiting for my meta reputation to go negative. Woohoo! Rage against the machine! – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 20:44

Ratings work very well with tangible things, and well quite literally, most of the things I try to do within the community to make it a better place isn't recognised by reputation - it's by the effects we have on those around us.

While its tempting to gamify and rank folks - this turns into a popularity contest. I'm not above using my influence to change things, but that's literally due to my (rather) complex interactions with folks, and well, I have bad days too!

And well, there's a lot of stuff that folks do that's not obvious. Some folks do monumental work cleaning up sites - Say Peter Mortenson (who does epic amounts of copy editing) or Gareth (who literally fixed every image on SU that was not hosted on imgur).

You can't put a rating on that.

If a site's offputting and there's a clear problem - I suppose the "SE" way is to focus on the problem, and hopefully the folks with the skills to help will pick up on it and help.

It ought to be about the content - not the people, and making things better's an effort for the community.

At the end of the day, my reward is seeing a healthy, happy community that I'm proud to be part of. I don't need a ranking, scored or otherwise to do that.

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    The reputation system is intangible. It's trust currency. Badges are intangible rewards for all kinds of intangible actions. "Question with 10,000 views" - Gold Badge. "Edit and answer question" - bronze. Etc. I'm not proposing anything that hasn't already been done. I'm just saying let's track behavior like we track all kinds of other things with far less impact on the value of Trust. – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 12:39
  • Also, "gamify and rank" has the potential to add tremendous value. This isn't as simple as a popularity contest. Check out Jane McGonigal's book which talks about how games can make our lives better: amazon.com/Reality-Broken-Games-Better-Change/dp/0143120611 – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 12:56

This answer was a response to revision 1 of the question, which was tagged feature-request.

It's possible to rack up a lot of reputation on a site about a topic without actually being an expert in that topic. 10 points here, 20 points there, prolific posting... it adds up. Alternatively, one or two hot questions can be the gifts that keep on giving.

It's possible to be an expert on a topic and yet not apply that expertise in all situations. Especially when applying that expertise comes at some personal cost. Sometimes it's harder to demonstrate good interpersonal skills, or good password security, or the best parenting, or whatever.

Somebody having high rep on a site about interpersonal skills means approximately zero when talking about mediating issues on another site. Only a pattern of demonstrating good interpersonal skills, especially on the site in question means anything for that site.

There are some people across the network who have good reputations (I don't mean numbers but renown) for being good at defusing situations, giving the benefit of the doubt, having the right words in a tense situation. None of that has anything to do with rep on a particular site.

  • You are missing the point. The IPS thing was a side effect of my point. My point is SE should track behavior. People get badges for ALL kinds of things. People get upvotes for all kinds of reasons. However, Jon Skeet is #1 on SO. He also happens to be an amazing Dev and an author. Hans Passant is #5 and I believe he deserves it too. Eric Lippert is way up there...also well deserved. The point systems seem to be working in aggregate. If reputation has value then behavior tracking systems also can have value. Neither system is an exact science. – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 12:49
  • @P.Brian.Mackey how do you plan to quantify it, so this badge/status/whatever that you're proposing can be objectively evaluated? You talked about points on IPS and proposed no other measure; I responded to that. – Monica Cellio Apr 30 '18 at 13:13
  • Sorry if I wasn't clear. I feel I did answer this in my question already. "Would it be wise to implement a behavior rating? I'm personally not a fan of points on such a system. I'm not even sure how such a thing would be implemented? Red to green? Hitler to Gandhi? Some class based system where a % fits into each? Visible to all or just the user? I dunno.". In other words, I don't know how to implement it. I need the help of the community for implementation. I do feel strongly that a behavior rating feature is worth investigating deeply. – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 13:21
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    Ah. It sounds like you wanted a discussion question, then; a feature-request is usually more of a proposal than a broad idea, and so naturally people evaluated your question as a FR. (I also don't understand "red to green" etc as implementation; that sounds like representation of an underlying score. Which gets us back to how you get the score.) Are you asking for an objective measure based on (unspecified) activity, or are you asking for a subjective voting system of some sort? You might want to start a discussion about options. – Monica Cellio Apr 30 '18 at 13:30
  • Thank you for the correction. Updated question. You are right about red to green. I don't know which would be more beneficial (subjective or objective)? I'm asking for either one. Something to encourage people to spend time increasing their interpersonal skills (or emotional intelligence). I think an objective measure based on activity is a safer start. With the possibility to try out subjective system in the future. – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 30 '18 at 13:37

So, SE reputation is determined by subjective upvotes and downvotes. Although there are guidelines involved, not everybody chooses to read them—or even to follow them if they have read them. While the system works in a general way, there will always be some outliers. SE doesn't "police" who votes on something or for what reason. Overall, I think that's a good thing.

As you reach certain levels of reputation, you gain certain privileges.

Badges, on the other hand, are obtained by meeting objective criteria. They have nothing to do with reputation directly. (Although some badges are determined indirectly by reputation in specific contexts.) If you perform a series of actions (and certain conditions do or do not result) then you get a badge.

It seems to me that the idea of a "behaviour rating" would be better served not by having a "score," but by allowing certain privileges to be gained upon achieving certain badges.

For instance, if I flag a certain large number of posts as being "offensive," and moderators agree with my assessments, then I could get something like a "Recognizes Offensive Posts" badge. This badge, regardless of my reputation, could lend itself to a sign of trust that I "know what I'm talking about" when it comes to polite language. As such, after receiving this badge, flagging future posts as "offensive," would present me with the ability to edit the posts myself—in order to make them more polite. (As a part of reviewing my flagged posts, moderators would also award me behind-the-scenes points towards such a badge.)

I don't know if that specific idea is useful, as I can think of some issues with such an implementation. But my point is that if you do enough objectively recognized things within a certain area, you could get a badge for it and also get a related privilege.

Badge-related privileges would be distinct from reputation-related privileges. They would not be a result of what other people think about you, but a result of your ability to aid the site itself. They would reward not popularity but effectiveness (or, as in the question here, "behaviour").

I should add that the idea of "being polite" is one that seems to be applicable across all sites. In such a case, it's possible that having such a badge obtained from one site could apply to all sites. (But that would be another discussion.)

In my example, it means that somebody with hundreds of thousands of reputation points may still not be able to help edit posts for politeness (moderator privileges aside). It also means that somebody with only a few hundred reputation points could be able to edit posts for politeness.

Note: This idea is somewhat similar to Roll out 10k tools gradually between 3k and 10k reputation for users who have shown interest in helping the site—although I'm arguing for more of an actual separation between reputation and demonstrated action.

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