As someone who is the owner of an online business which relies heavily on consultants of many different types and flavors - I'll summarize by saying ABSOLUTELY.
Why? Cross-validation. Or, at the risk of being semantically reprimanded for using that word in a more general sense, they've done forms of "work" or "their art" in a raw form and it's peer-reviewed. It's packaged into a points system and a useful profile I can view with links to other things questions/answers. Pending there's enough data, I don't know what more I could ask for in terms of determining their specific expertise(s) & the level(s) of it/them.
True expertise isn't the end all be all, but it's much harder to find than the ideal general qualities of someone you want to work with such as judging their enthusiasm for what I need them for, consistency, follow through, availability, communication, etc.
In fact, I wish it was more "acceptable" to contact others in this way on StackExchange...but that gets delicate. I don't want to dirty the spirit that drives the actual experts here to contribute by mixing it with consulting or business opportunities. I don't want to be that person violating the integrity of things. In a way, the way StackExchange inherently has drawn the knowledge and expertise it has is because of people's passion for the topics discussed as well as perhaps a few other reasons (the psychological value "points" may have).
I actually have used and continually use consultants from several different fields of expertise with all sorts of skillsets for many different quoted prices, from different countries, with different backgrounds and reviews, and even age ranges (one time I found a genius 14 year old programmer who was one of the best people I had ever hired...a year later he got offered a 6 figure salary from some company, lol). I have a tremendous amount of experience in figuring out who the right person is for the task I need accomplished - quickly too.
But, do you believe me? Should you believe me? All I did was write that paragraph.
Exactly. Maybe you want to figure that out though. How would you do it? In the same way someone could have a Ph.D. in a field I need help with or "worked for X/Y company" with references...that's nice but what did they DO? What have they done?
I care about watching them in action and seeing exactly what they've done. I want to review it and also, especially, have it peer-reviewed. And really, that's what makes the most sense. Get the rawest form of data and cross-validate it. Of course, I consider if someone has a Ph.D. or not, has experience at a company, etc. on their resume...but I don't believe it's anything like getting that "raw" work data.
I've been burned very badly by some consultants - to the point where...well to be honest...they could have broken my entire business. For example, with regards to programming specifically, I actually now require viewing a potential consultant's GitHub account (don't have one?...that means something already) to
view projects they've coded. Then, I review their work in addition to having a few independent consultants I've hired purely to review a candidate's work (other experts in the domain) as well as other competing candidates review that person's work (I never have people do work for me for free of any form though) - which, especially with the latter group, yields interesting & extremely practical information in terms of their motivations as well as other qualities I need to know.
In saying all of this and considering the culture of the site....that if the person's profile insinuates somehow that "their door is open for business" I will take advantage of that and see what happens. I would do that MUCH, MUCH more than someone I met on Upwork, was referred to me, or I met in absolutely any other manner possible besides, perhaps, the authors of academic research...who tend to usually be busy with academia instead of consulting work.