Whenever I have ever asked questions on mass forums, I would always try ones that looked best, or looked usable. I wouldn't use something just because a
group of people (from which you don't know their skill levels) seemed to think it is best. I even try answers I see on this site before ++'ing or --'ing a post
simply to make sure I see it work or not work
True, and good advice, but I don't like hiding rep just because it MIGHT be misunderstood, while there is a reason why it would be good to know the rep. (Besides, what happens when you have two nodes, -10 and -15? Sorting doesn't tell you the useful parts)
Basically reputation is a means of communicating to the user, and it is hidden. There is an entire structure dedicated towards maintaining that repuation, but it's primary informative usage has been cut off.