Think Global, not Local!
Not only that it is for the newcomers, but also, for the peoples from somewhere else, who happends to search, or tag for the words, and happened to land here at TinyCLR.com. And I’m quiet certain that’s a good reason why they put that sidebar there. (another good thing is for showing off to others who might be interesting in what we’re all doing here.)
I think tinyCLR.com is already generous to us by providing us a commercial free environment, look at some other website that is commercial oriented, you would see too many ad. and that is a lot more distracting, confusing, don’t you think? Only a small side bar which contains some good words (probably, one that came from you!) would not hurt me that much.
In My Humble Opinion, (sorry, I hate the Abbr. especially the Abbreviation of the Technical term that I have no way to know, when it appeared on the thread.)
The Side Bar is more important than the info of the user, I believe!
I rather read more important message on the side bar than knowing who has how many points (this doesn’t means that I do not like the point systems) but we already have a page that dedicated for that http://www.tinyclr.com/forum/users/ , all the info and ranking could be moved there and we could gain more estate, something like 20 to 25 characters per line. And only put only half the size of the icon up there (see the attached image)
The things that’s annoying me the most is the Ranking Icon, the EXP Point, the EXP Bonus, and the number of the points to the next Rank. All of this info can be listed in the users/ranking page there. And if you’re too obsessed with your own ranking, the link is alredy provided under your name, right!
The Icon seems to be too big. And most of the time when someone post only one or two lines, the icon pushes the next message down two or three lines. The vertical estate is wasted.
And with this solution, It wolud solve your problem too, Josh.
my two cents!