Oh ok, good I thought I was either seeing things or IE was stuffed up for me all this time (now using Firefox). I just posted about it on the site feedback. I think you click on the scales to award someone rep points.
on other boards i've been on, you get more/different colored green squares under your name. i think it's like five clicks and you get another square or something. it just lets people know that other people think they are helpful/have good advice.
Reputation can be given to posters who contribute something of value to the community. Similarly, negative rep can be given to a member if you don't like how he/she behaved. The member doesn't know who the reputation comes from, so it's anonymous (unless you sign, of course).
Just a fun feature that I enabled, I figured it would keep you guys occupied.
1. You can only give a certain amout of reputation each day.
2. You must give X amount of rep to other posters before you can hit the same person again.
3. You must have a certain amount of posts for your hit to count.
Obviously, if our members will speak out against it, I can turn it off with one click of a button. I know that tFS uses the rep system and have been for a long time, I don't think that it's caused issues over there.