This announcement is a little late (see the discussion here), but in response to discussions over many years, we (the moderators and board) have implemented a change to the site where by default, reputations and badges will not be displayed on questions or the front page. You can still view a user's reputation by going to their user page. If you don't like this change, you go back to showing reputation by clicking the "show rep" link in the achievements menu (screenshot below).
This feature is still somewhat experimental (one of the delays in putting up an announcement were some unexpected technical problems), so we're happy to hear users' feedback about it.
You might wonder, why make this change now? The main reasoning is that many users (or maybe more importantly potential users) find various aspects of the reputation system off-putting. Since we had heard this a number of times, and it was easy to make this change de-emphasizing the importance of reputation, while leaving the site experience unchanged for those who prefer it as it was, we thought it was a worthwhile experiment; as I said above, we'd be happy to get feedback about it.