I did not see a way to search topics before creating this post, so apologies if this ends up being a duplication of a similar, pre-existing post.
I think there is real potential for The Hiking Project and would like to make one suggestion that I feel might help with a specific issue. I have been using another hiking website and smartphone app because it is a good reliable source of information that predated this website and app's existence. But I like what I see developing with The Hiking Project and hope it can become as useful (and as reliable) as the "other" source.
Suppose you are from one state and you would like to research hiking trails in a different state. Is there any system of standards and verifications as to how a given trail ends up being rated vs other trails? The reason I ask is because I was browsing through this website looking for what might be great new trails to explore in my home state and found listings that I know would be considered totally misleading by anyone who does any hiking at all. I realize that a given individual is going to rank difficulty by the level of their experience, but that leaves the door open for a neighborhood dog-walk to end up as a highly-rated trail in a given state. Obviously, that won't be helpful to most people who visit this site.
One thing I like about this site, which I have just discovered, it does have a trail profile showing distance and slope along various sections. I can look at the information on the toughest trail that I can successfully navigate and compare it to a new trail on this site. That is not perfect, but it is objective.
Any one person's ranking of a trail is going to depend on several factors, including, but not limited to, when they did it, the weather at that time, their experience and fitness level, whether it was a solo or a group hike, etc., etc. Variation is to be expected. But as more hikers "check-in" on a trail - and the Law of Large Numbers comes in to play - you should be getting a better and better idea of a trail's "real" (or at least consensus) ranking. A good example is Angel's Landing in Utah, with 300+ check-ins and a ranking that's beginning to look like a distribution. So check-in more! Until then, I agree that looking at the trail profile (distance/gain) is a good way of putting a trail into your own frame of reference.