People seem to want to use these levels---which can be based on post-counts, likes, and trophies---as a proxy/heuristic answer to the question, "how much should I trust this advice?"
As a data-nerd, I think you're asking too much of that input (post-counts/likes/trophies) to get a useful answer to that question. For people who frequent forums, they pretty much know the drill that these titles do not always guide them to the best advice-givers. For people who don't, such titles can give false impressions. It takes time to delve into a community and suss out those who are the more worthy to listen to. An example of this: Iron Tamer has a like-to-post ratio less than .33, and has 324 posts; I will almost always heed what that man says.
If you don't know a "golden" post when you see one, a general like-count of that person will not help you notice it. What will help you notice it is: a lot of likes on that particular post; people commenting and saying "yea, listen to X"; posts quoting that idea with associated praise; etc.
In answer to the question of "what to do with the metrics/titles?", I think it makes the most sense to just list the metrics (post-counts/likes/trophies) under the names instead of the titles. That way people only see the data themselves and can figure out what to think about it, instead of having a more opaque title-system. (Credit to @Kettlebelephant for first suggesting this idea.) Listing join date as @MattM suggested also seems like a good idea.
To me, "like"s are flaky things, and are messed up (from a reliable-data perspective) by humor, likability, forum-participation, and forum-biases. They are not good data to answer the question, "should I listen to this guy/gal"?
EDIT: crafted this in-depth response prior to the newest post by @Kettlebelephant. Didn't mean to pile on, but that's how it turned out...
Umh yeah the more I think about it, the more I like just placing the actual data (posts and likes). Is it possible/easy to do that @Steve Freides ?
We should do that and see if anyone notices. Most of the forum isn't reading this, but we'll probably see threads made once they do notice. We could tell if it was good/bad based on that reaction haha.
As a data analyst, I feel like trophy points would be the most customized and able to create the logic to reflect experience and quality. With trophy points able to be awarded for posts, likes, like-post ratio, membership duration, performance achievements, participation, certifications held, etc. I would lean for basing it on trophy points and then building out the trophy point list even more and weight those points for what is considered highly valuable in the forum.
I would think the SF staff and instructors should start out with many more points, followed by performance achievements such as @Pavel Macek performing solid at a ridiculous bodyweight! Or @Steve Freides DL:BW ratio! Also, completion of each SF protocol deserves points because nobody can give better advice than someone that has done the work.