As the most recent GeoNet contest has wrapped up and my fellow users are giving feedback on the system, it got me thinking about what other things could be improved on GeoNet. One of the more under-utilized aspects of people profiles, and the ability for people to know they are getting good feedback on their questions is the Skill and Expertise, found in each users profile Adding Skills to Your Profile . While the numerical point rankings and point system(GeoNet contest points) give some benefit to knowing how knowledgable users are, it does not show which areas they are best known for. I personally know who I would ask for information about various topics, but as I am a medium to heavy users(Not quite Dan Patterson level), I know from my time here who I would talk to, new users or those who use GeoNet infrequently do not.
That being said, I feel the skill and expertise of people needs to be more visible within forum posts, either as something that can be part of a signature, on the side bar below a users avatar, or even pop-up when hovering over a users avatar/profile link. While the pop up shows location, Me in 3, and other features, it does not show skills and expertise, which I feel is more important to GeoNet users than location. I know the skill and expertise is only a click away, but it can take a user away from the post itself, rather than being able to see it within the thread. Joshua Bixby somewhat touched on this topic in a recent poll about having leaderboard for various GeoNet places, Would Leaderboards for Places Help Users? , again checking on this outside of the thread the user is looking at would detract attention and take more time. Being able to determine a users knowledge/skill base within threads would be beneficial to the whole community.
Similarly, I feel there should be easier way for people to give feedback on a users skill and expertise. Currently a user has to go to a person profile to vet them for a particular skill and expertise, which especially for casual users is unlikely(we know they have a hard time even marking questions as answered). Could there be a way to incorporate them into threads/posts so people can get more feedback?
So to the community, is this something you feel would be beneficial? To Timothy Hales, and the rest of the GeoNet team, could something like this be incorporated?
Sorry this was not as succinct as I was hoping, but you all get the idea, and I would love your feedback/thoughts on this.