How about a difficulty rating for questions?
Right now, we have a "title", which provides a summary of the problem or the key question being asked, a "question" which provides the bulk of the content, and "tags" which (in my opinion) should be used to provide a way to index the content based on what is being asked. However, there's no way to express the difficulty level or experience of the asker.
Some people advocate the use of tags for this, but I disagree simply because the tags should describe what the question is asking (relevant technologies, tools, programs, topic areas) and not describe the depth of knowledge the user has in a given field or area.
The benefits of this are two-fold:
- Answers can be written at the appropriate level. An advanced user who knows something about the problem at hand can be given a more direct answer, while people who identify themselves as beginners would probably need to be walked through the process of solving the problem more.
- Questions can be sorted based on difficulty. This benefits both asker and answerers. If I'm an expert on the topic of a given Stack Exchange, then I would want to view all questions, since I can handle the more advanced topics. However, if I'm just a beginner, I might not want to wade through topics that are potentially beyond my abilities at this time. And if I'm an intermediate, I know that I probably can't answer the advanced questions but can learn from them, and I can probably answer a lot of the basic questions.
By depth of knowledge of the user, I mean in the area where the question is being asked, not overall. Let's take Jon Skeet as an ever-present example. He would probably be an "expert" in C# and .NET. However, he might consider himself a "beginner" in Haskell - if he was searching through the Haskell questions, he would want to filter out the intermediate and advanced questions for now.
There are a few possible implementations, but the best would probably be just displaying the depth of knowledge on the question lists and in the question page and then adding methods for searching based on difficulty when using the search box.