View Full Version : Mechanical aptitude/experience rating system?

01-06-2011, 03:25 AM

So it occured to me that when helping others on this and any other forum I always tend to err on the side of too much information. I realized that sometimes I this might possibly come off to the person recieving it as insulting if they already have the aptitude and/or experience to understand most of the basics Im relaying.

My idea is simple. What if there was some kind of rating system for each member that was readily available for others to see. Something like the iTrader system only for mechanical skills.

Implementation could be as simple as rating yourself on a scale of 1-100 or could be more involved to include a simple survey of questions that detail the kind of things you've done, your tool selection options, access to facilities etc.

Going one step further it could be made to reflect real world help and diagnostics for those participating. For example, if I reply to a thread with technical information that helps a member, that memeber would have an opportunity to rate my suggestions and/or their bearing on the outcome. Think of it like the old reputation system only more tailored to making it easier to help solve isssues.

Practical application:
John Doe posts that hes having a problem sorting out a no start condition. I see the thread and notice J.D. has rated his own mechanical skill just above that of a monkey with a screwdriver (might as well make this fun!). I know when I reply to that thread that I need to spell everything out and keep it simple noting that he doesnt have too many screwdrivers to begin with...
Conversely Jane Doe posts and says that shes just finished installing her own aftermarket turbo kit and needs advice on how to set up her intercooler, I note Jane has access to alot of good equipment and that shes done her own work up to this point, so I dont need to spoon feed her how to work a chop saw.

I know, that once you kind of know everyone this becomes a little pointless, but this might really help new people coming in, people who lurk more than post, or only post when they have a problem.

What do you guys/gals think? Anyone a good web writer? anyone want to collaborate on setting down some guidelines on such a thing?

01-06-2011, 03:32 AM
I think it would be a nice idea, but it would be hard to implement.

01-06-2011, 03:41 AM
I doubt it would be that hard to do. There is probably already a vBulletin module that could be adapted for it. Again it could just be a number each member self-assesses or another reputation bar thats specific to the need.

01-06-2011, 08:52 PM
Well, I think this could be a great idea, but to play devil's advocate...

If the rating is subjective, everyone thinks differently, so the rating might be hard to define.

I also like the idea of giving too much information, rather than just what is necessary. It allows new people to search threads and find a complete answer, rather than one just based on the OP's knowledge/experience rating.

But I'm curious to see how others feel about this idea.

01-06-2011, 09:19 PM
I feel if this is going to be subjective and up to the member, we might as well make it like the "User Title" and not do a bar rating system. Or perhaps there is a box in the member profile, or one when you click / hover a mouse over, shows what areas you are competent in.

I know very little real information when it comes to troubleshooting a turbo'ed motor. I can hunt down and fix electrical issues, drunk and blindfolded. I'm also great at doing street repairs. I've taken everything apart in a car except a transmission. I've been doing AV related work since I was 15. As a designer, I am pretty good at fabricating what I need. I can bolt on an exhaust and I am certified for welding, but I have not mixed the two. Don't ask me to troubleshoot Apexi. I also don't have track experience. I would never claim expertise in suspensions, but I have done plenty.

My expertise could be defined other ways, but would that fit into a scale? No. If I had to vote, I'd vote for either a system where we use a title that best fits what we are knowledgable in, or one where we have a series of checked boxes to show what we know confidently.

01-06-2011, 10:05 PM
I would implement something similar to this:


Then you click or hover over the custom title to access this:


01-06-2011, 10:07 PM
I think either way would be useful CBB. Obviously the more information we are given the better tuned our response can be, but having something, anything, is better than nothing.

Like you Im a good "street repair" guy. If its something I can take apart and see whats broken, I can fix it. Unlike you I suck at electrical stuff because I just cant visualize it. When it comes to electrical work I need simple, straight "do A B and C at exactly this location" kind of instructions. For mechanical work I just need the theory behind it and Im off and running. I feel like there isnt any car problem I cant fix, given enough time and access to the internet to look stuff up.

@Nyx: You have a point about others looking up the thread later for answers, its good to be thorough.

Edit: CBB thats great, I like that! Nice work. Maybe there could be three color choices for the tick boxes, like green yellow and red = lots of experience, some experience, next to no experience.
Edit again: oh wait you do have that...excuse me Im a little hung over this morning...errr...afternoon

01-06-2011, 10:18 PM
Honestly, you could go even further and use a number system to further the 3 colors. I think most people care and are honest enough to answer and rate themselves accordingly. The title helps categorize and give others a quick idea of the skills.

01-06-2011, 10:29 PM
Yeah or how about a slider on a bar?

electrical diagnosis
Skilled ----------------------------------------|--------unskilled

Hipster Lawrence
01-07-2011, 02:42 AM
I want mine to say I have nunchuck skills.

01-07-2011, 02:46 AM
I soooooo want to be the monkey with the screwdriver!

01-07-2011, 03:34 AM
I soooooo want to be the monkey with the screwdriver!

seriously...who doesnt!?

01-07-2011, 06:30 AM
I honestly believe that you can tell the skill level of the person based off of their question...

"My car won't start"

is a hell of a lot different from:

"My car (a 92 US ST185) when starting, cranks over at a normal speed, you can hear an occasional cylinder firing, but it never catches.... After a few moments I can smell fuel coming from the tail pipe. I've already checked the spark (by pulling a plug lead), and I am getting good spark on all the cylinders. So, I'm getting fuel (based off the smell from the tail pipe), and I'm getting energy to the plugs... What could cause my engine from kicking over?"

They obviously get two different types of answers, and have different skill levels...

01-07-2011, 07:19 AM
If we did that, my "All around badass" rating would be off the freakin chart...

01-07-2011, 07:25 AM
I honestly believe that you can tell the skill level of the person based off of their question...

I think its to help newer folks, or others iin need of help to see the levels of the reply-ers. Someone could join and instantly get an idea of who knows what.

01-07-2011, 07:54 AM
^^Right, it goes both ways.