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Hide the rep and badge count on a user's info box on answers

I think there is a bias on up votes in answers for people who have more reputation. Perhaps someone with more brain could prove this but I've definitely observed it.

So I suggest hiding reputation under user names until an answer is accepted, or perhaps just for the hot period where most reputation is generated (1 hour or so).


  • Reputation is more likely to be awarded to the best answers
  • Levels the playing field
  • Removes the influence of reputation on up-votes
  • Encourages better content
  • Discourages complacency amongst regular answerers


  • People like showing off their reputation (feel good factor)
  • Reputation is an indicator of answer credibility in some cases

Infact, there surely is a good case to hide everything about an answerer (unless you are a moderator). Removes the "Jon Skeet has posted an answer so there's not much point me writing one now" factor. I'm not saying this should be done permanently, but just during the hot period.

The focus becomes on answer content this way.


  • 1
    See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/198/…
    – ChrisF Mod
    Feb 17, 2011 at 9:58
  • 1
  • It seems we've talked a lot about this subject over that last few years, but I can't find all the discussions. I chimed in with one of the primary reasons reputation is necessarily displayed as part of the posts. Yes, there's a cyclical bias, but the display of reputation with the post is by design and a primary feature of reputation, not merely a flair.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 17, 2011 at 16:37
  • I like this idea. People here should judge a contribution by the content alone. A pity, it was never implemented. But there is hope: the 5 close vote threshold existed for 10 years despite proposals to lower until people tried experimenting with a lower close vote threshold, which currently seems to work much better. Same could happen here. Oct 5, 2019 at 21:08

5 Answers 5


The bias of people upvoting high-rep answers regardless of quality is extremely hard to prove, but it does exist, no doubt.

Only yesterday, I saw a high-rep user paste a completely unrelated and incorrect link as an answer (he was working on two questions at the same time) and in the two minutes until he noticed and corrected his mistake, he was upvoted once or twice (the second one coincided with the edit, so I'm not entirely sure about that one, but the first one managed to shock me enough already).

Also, some experiments with a second low-rep account last year (with me answering away as I normally would) confirmed the same trend - while gaining reputation by giving good answers is by no means impossible no matter what your score is, it felt like there was more scrutiny, and less upvoting for the low-rep account.

I don't think the bias is a huge problem, though. In the end, quality still wins in most cases, and to some extent this is how the reputation system is supposed to work. But I can see how it is disheartening for new users. Something in this direction would be really worth thinking about.

  • 4
    +1 for the scientific method.
    – Kobi
    Feb 17, 2011 at 10:14
  • 1
    The ultimate test would be having a high-rep account post nice-looking, well formatted, but utterly wrong answers for a week and see how many upvotes they gain nevertheless. But I doubt anybody will be ready to tarnish their account for that.
    – Pekka
    Feb 17, 2011 at 10:24
  • 1
    I once entertained the idea of swapping answers with a high rep user and seeing which answer got the most votes. If it was based on content then the "correct" answer should rise regardless of who posted it, but if it was based on "poster" then the high rep user's answer should rise.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Feb 17, 2011 at 10:36

I think the rep is there for a reason, it indeed adds more credibility to the answer - when I see person with 2000 upvotes in c# answering C# question, there is a good chance it is true and based on real experience.

I have of course seen completely misled answers posted by 10k users, as well as excellent posts by total newbies - I personally tend to bias the upvotes towards the low-rep users (especially those with < 15, so they can upvote, given their post makes sense and shows some level of effort).

And what would be point of the rep if you couldn't show it off to others? Rep is one of the major factors that make SO so great site - because people actually care about the answers, because they want the rep from upvotes/accepted answers.

Also, when I see Jon Skeet answering, I really usually don't bother posting, because his posts usually directly answer the question, provide alternatives and generally can be considered to be facts. He didn't get to 260k rep just because the rep mechanism is biased one way or another :)

  • Good point about being an indicator of credibility I've added that as a downside.
    – Tom
    Feb 17, 2011 at 10:11
  • Jon Skeet receives a reputation gain from downvotes by sheer power of being Jon Skeet. Feb 17, 2011 at 11:00

How about like this? :D

enter image description here

Replace rep digits to \d+ and badges counts to ? for recent post within 1 hour (technically /\d+\s*[sm]/)

On Main Page,

enter image description here

Install s/\d+/\\d+/, Source

  • I might also hide the name and avatar...I think most people would recognize Jon Skeet's avatar and name. :)
    – davidsbro
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:18

Hiding reputation of user on the answers does not stop people from searching the same user in USERS tab and check his reputation right? Altough highly unlikely that most people would spend time in searching the others on USERS tab, still it is a possibility.

Also the main reason for asking a question is to get an answer. Does not matter which user with what reputation gives correct answer. If it solves your problem, upvote and accept the answer.


On Super User, there are times when I write a really complex answer and it doesn't always get accepted compared to others example... So I do not see this as a problem, although, I still think this is a good idea.

  • Nice answer, but "accepted answer" is the post which solved the question, not necessarily best answer. It is sometimes very hard not to accept an awesome answer just because it was actually an one-liner which solved the problem. For these cases it would be nice if there was a way to manually "send" some rep to another user. Feb 17, 2011 at 12:31
  • @mzabsky - I am not bitter and I understand what happened, but I don't think the asker even read my answer there because it contained that! Anyway, I was just trying to give an example where being a high rep user doesn't equal favouritism. Feb 17, 2011 at 13:03
  • 2
    @mzabsky - The bounty system can be used send rep to another user, and one of its features is to give rep to good answers that were not accepted.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 17, 2011 at 16:35

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