I was wondering about this general feature of Stack Exchange sites: when you answer a question, your reputation and number of badges are shown right next to your user name and profile picture.

What I am worried about is that when comparing several answers, a user may be biased towards those coming from high-rep users. In other words, when someone who asked a question is confronted with two equally good answers coming from a low-rep user and an high-rep user, he/she could give more weight to the answer of the latter just because, well, he/she has an higher rep.

If true, this could lead to a "rich-gets-richer" positive feedback in which high-rep users get more rep than the others, and because of this they get even more rep, etc.

Has this issue been taken into consideration during the development of Stack Exchange?

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    $\begingroup$ Presumably, and multiple times. The archive to search in is the mother meta, Meta Stack Exchange. The short of it is that Stack Exchange is at this stage extremely committed to its Q&A engine, and (for better or worse) they see this as a core element of that engine, so it would be extremely difficult to get them to change their minds. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2018 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ Some consider this a feature, not a bug. When you want a good answer in the field, do you go ask random people, or somebody who has a proven track record of providing good answers in that field? $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 30, 2018 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ @JonCuster Yes, of course, and that is the positive side of showing the user's rep. However the negative side I am talking about could also be there... $\endgroup$
    – valerio
    Jan 30, 2018 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, but then there are also questions on meta, or hints in comments, about upvoting because people feel sorry for a low-rep user's Q or A being downvoted. As for all human interactions, one can not make them purely 'rational'. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 30, 2018 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ This is a network wide issue and should be raised on the mother meta. I'm also quite certain that it has been raised there more than once in the past, but I don't have the time and patience to run down any links. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2018 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee I am not opposed to migrating this question to the mother meta, even if I still have no account there. I will see if I can find this issue covered there, even if a quick search before gave no results. $\endgroup$
    – valerio
    Jan 30, 2018 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ Found some of the links: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/515/… meta.stackexchange.com/questions/198/… and links therein $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2018 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee Thanks. So it has been discussed extensively already... As for this question, feel free to close it as off topic or to migrate it. $\endgroup$
    – valerio
    Jan 30, 2018 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee ah, yes, of course - the issue goes back all the way to the days of user voice before there even was a Meta Stack Overflow. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2018 at 22:45


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