Currently SO employs the reputation score for every user. After you have familiarized yourself with SO, you come to know that Jon Skeet has highest reputation score and Marc Gravell is after him. It is natural that you will favor the answer of a user with highest reputation which in other words means he has good knowledge and reliability.

I bet there are huge number of users who don't even know who these two guys are or who possess the highest reputation score/number. Or consider if a user puts his reputation badge on a CV or an employer visits the SO's career site, the mere number does not really help an employer decide what is the overall ranking of this person he is viewing the CV of. Same goes true if I put the reputation badge on my blog. When asking a question, sometimes less reliable/fragile answers are favored over the better answers by people who are authority in a particular topic.

For this reason, I have always felt the need of overall ranking system. Any SO user, employer, your blog's visitor can see what is your overall standing at SO or in other words, how good you are at your skills (excluding some great guys having less/no reputation, Matt Mullenweg for example). Anyone could easily see that yes Jon Skeet is the guy I need to trust/hire. A big big boost by the SO to a programmer!

Here is what I have always felt the need of:

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Please share your ideas.

  • We rank in user pages. – Ladybug Killer Apr 17 '10 at 14:59
  • @Ladybug Killer: But there is no overall ranking. – Sarfraz Apr 17 '10 at 15:00
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    The idea here is we judge the answer, not the answerer. – nb69307 Apr 17 '10 at 15:01
  • @Neil Butterworth: yes judge the answers but wrap them all in a rank. – Sarfraz Apr 17 '10 at 15:04
  • No doubt Jon knows a lot, but what if he'd be earning that reputation during office hours -- instead of doing the job he was hired to do? – Arjan Apr 17 '10 at 15:09
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    @Sarfraz You would also need to indicate how the rep was gained - for example, Jon is not a C++ expert but does very occasionally answer a C++ question. By your thinking, his answer would have more weight than one by (say) litb. – nb69307 Apr 17 '10 at 15:13
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    User ranking is not the core business of stackoverflow. – BalusC Apr 17 '10 at 15:18
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    answer ranking is. – perbert Apr 17 '10 at 15:20
  • possible duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2231/… – Lance Roberts Apr 18 '10 at 5:04
  • @Ladybug Killer: It is rather hard to know which on page you are. Especially if your rep is <10000 – Juha Syrjälä Apr 18 '10 at 11:44
  • @Juha: If you are not on the first five pages, no-one wants to know anyway. – Ladybug Killer Apr 18 '10 at 17:53

Yeah. 'Cause you wouldn't want to accidentally hire Marc based on something as nebulous as the quality of his answers. SO needs to protect potential employers by slapping a big "Number 2" next to his name.

Also, there should be an eye patch added to his avatar.

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Chris Ballance made a site for that purpose

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  • @S.Mark: +1 for that link but that's page/site is not part of the SO, who knows, you told me, i did not know initially on about that :( – Sarfraz Apr 17 '10 at 15:06
  • @Sarfraz, Well, yeah, Stack Overflow site itself shouldn't do such stuff built-in because that would encourage more gaming and could make people more aggressive about reps. – YOU Apr 17 '10 at 15:09
  • @S.Mark that shows only the first 1015 users. – Juha Syrjälä Apr 18 '10 at 11:46
  • Ah yeah, I forgot to mention that. – YOU Apr 18 '10 at 13:12

You don't hire a person just because he has a big ethereal number in a random site, do you?

I could have 894533321 rep points in www.yourprogrammerp0rntube.com and that doesn't make me a better choice than others that might not use the site that much.

The only thing that could help you to get a job from SO is to give consistently good answers, regardless of rep, and a (smart) potential employer will look through some of your questions/answers to get an idea of your knowledge and attitude.

If you only answer jQuery questions, you are unlikely to get a Haskell job, for example.

Stack Overflow is not your personal CV.

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I don't see a point in a ranking system like this either. If you need to look up your rank, you can count it down easily on the users page.

Even though there doesn't seem to be a high-reputation user who isn't good at what they do (evidence that the system somehow works), the idea that one's overall standing on SO is an indicator of "how good you are" is going to fail often. There are brilliant minds with a few hundred or thousand reputation points because they either don't "play the game" or simply don't invest as much time into the site as others.

In that vein, I would support additional ways to reward exceptionally brilliant answers, and also people, apart from upvotes and reputation rankings. I don't think we need more focus on the reputation count than there already is.

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When I first started on StackOverflow, I had an immediate understanding of the reputation system. In a technical sense, reputation is a ranking system - we don't need another ranking system. In addition, the rep system doesn't mean anything outside of the SO community.

Anything an employer would see as a result of a link from your career page would be purely subjective - the reputation would be inconsequential. For instance I would be looking at the quantity and quality of questions, and the quality and quantity of answers. These would be the most tell-tale skills and knowledge of a prospective new-hire.

So, why would we want to provide more irrelevant information that, in the end, would be more distracting than helpful?

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You can find the ordinal rank and percentile of all users on stack exchange here

You can get your rank and percentile on custom flair here

You can show off as many of your accounts as you like

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