I've learned an incredible amount on this site from the many great contributors we have. One situation that often occurs is that I notice a particularly insightful answer and I click on the user's name to navigate to their profile and then read other answers they've given (typically on similar topics). Sometimes this makes me wonder which answer that individual would put forth as their best on the topic. Similarly, I've made some responses that I thought were better than others, but they aren't all the ones that have been upvoted the most (although perhaps this is just because I'm poorly calibrated regarding the quality of my answers). These considerations lead me to wonder if it would be valuable for contributors to be able to mark somehow a subset of their answers on their profile page as the ones where they think they addressed an issue particularly well.

Update Let me clarify what I have in mind. My purposes, I'm afraid, are somewhat selfish. My objective in this proposal is that I would like to be able to more efficiently learn from others. Now, one way I can do this is to go to someone's page and read their answers on a particular topic, but many of our more prolific contributors have hundreds of answers--too many to read them all. I could just focus on those that have been upvoted the most, but if I don't believe my top 5 answers would be the best overview, maybe they believe the same thing.

Let me give an example: sometimes in my answers I end up addressing similar things, for instance the apparently common belief that in regression the most important assumption is the normality of the residuals (which I think is a less important assumption). I've addressed this several times in different places, and maybe I think I did a better job in one answer than another. If this is true for me, it might be true for others as well. What I'm wondering is, would there be value for the community if, for example, for every badge someone earns, they could somehow mark their best 5 answers on that topic.

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    $\begingroup$ You could always put links to them in your "about me" box. I've seen users do similar things on some other SE sites (math.SE, for example). $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ I'm marking this [status-declined] not because I think it's a bad idea (actually, I personally thing this is a really fun idea!) but because this type of thing isn't what the system is built for. I suggest following @cardinal's advice, above, or linking to these answers in your Careers 2.0 profile. $\endgroup$
    – Aarthi
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


Be sure I really appreciate your multiple contributions on this site, that are valuable on many fronts, and many other users probably do so. Now, here are some of my thoughts.

I am a little reserved about the usefulness of displaying such links, although I can understand that this might provide some clues about the field of interest or area of expertise for a particular user. Yet, we have access to tags ranking and recent activity so it's not really difficult to get an idea of where an user really excels.* I, for one, follow several users on CV just because I know I will learn something sooner or later from their responses. Over time I've learned what questions these users are likely to respond, and so I can track questions, instead of users. For specific questions, I know who (of active users) might provide a relevant answer. It comes with time, of course. However, it is still a subjective approach; nobody's perfect (even somebody trained in psychometric methods)! But I don't need a complete curriculum in his/her profile, nor I need a self-ranked list of answers provided in the last 2 months (will this be updated in 1 year?); let me decide how I value his/her contributions.

So, to answer the question "if it would be valuable for contributors to be able to mark somehow a subset of their answers on their profile page as the ones where they think they addressed an issue particularly well", I would be inclined to say: Yes, please contribute to our blog with dedicated posts on topics you like, statistical methods you feel comfortable with or potential applications you are aware off. You could reference any posts you like in it, including yours, and this will certainly enhance the hearing of this site.

*I do not speak of reputation because this is a tautology to say that it has almost nothing to do with time and investment devoted to replies, but that's community life! (Let me be clear: I'm not criticizing the voting system---subjective appraisal, personal interest, reputation effects, limited knowledge, expectations or reasons associated to CV visits are some of the factors that could potentially entail a biased assessment of one's response.)

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the compliment. If it's not to forward, let me be more pointed. Eg, I've noticed that you've given many strong answers on cluster analyses, a topic I should know more about. What if I wondered which set of your responses you would put forward as your best there? Or, someone else might come along & really want to know more about ANOVA; & having come to trust your answers, would prefer to start there, rather than a generic search on CV. (I apologize if I put you on the spot here inappropriately.) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ @gung Thanks for your comment on my posts. To speak frankly, I don't know how I would rank my own responses because I tend to find other's replies better :-) I also tend to believe that the SE community will help to discriminate bad from good responses, even if the latter got few votes. SE sites are really dynamical systems. $\endgroup$
    – chl
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 22:00

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