In much the same way we can star questions that we want to keep track of is there a way (or can one be implemented) that allows us to star other users?

I imagine it being used in cases where one person really goes above and beyond in answering a question and the asker wants to mark the answerer (real word?) for easy recognition later.

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I think the idea of StackExchange sites is that you should be voting on the answer of its own merits, not on the merits of who posted it.

Easily following a user would more open up the system for "gaming" where people follow their friend|enemies and upvote|downvote.

This is possible by going into a user's profile and looking at their questions and answers, but it isn't quite as exposed.

But people do come with baggage -- we are more inclined to view the answer from a person with 12.6K rep as more authoritative than from somebody with 126 rep. Even though the latter might have given a better answer. But the goal is to vote answers for their own merits.

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    I was looking at it more as a means of augmenting the rep system ("This user is trusted by ## other users.") than as a way to bypass the core goal of the system, but you're totally right that people would probably abuse it both intentionally and unintentionally. – newuser May 13 '11 at 18:52

Here's something I've seen more times than I care to think about: a user with a history of posting well-researched, well-written answers drops into a question and posts something lousy, inaccurate, hastily-written, unhelpful or just plain wrong.

Everyone has their off-days and blind spots, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Apart from the rare instances where someone answers a question on a subject where they are the last word (say Steve Kondik shows up to answer a Cyanogen question or something), it's usually a bad idea to blindly trust someone's answer simply because they've given you good answers in the past.

So this is not likely to ever be implemented on any SE site.

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To add to what Michael P. said: if you're really interested in a particular user's activity you can always subscribe to his/her user rss feed. The link is found on the user profile page, in the lower right corner.

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  • I'd never noticed that feature. Good stuff, but functionally different from the goal I originally had in mind. – newuser May 13 '11 at 18:57

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