Re: Poll: How meaningful do you think the ranking system is in your aikido dojo?
In our dojo at least, the ranking is meaningful in that is reflects well the abilities of the students.
The highest rank in our dojo is sandan, so there's not really any trouble seeing who's aikido is 'better'. Of course, there are very good students working their way up the ranks, but they'll quickly find their level (we occasionally allow students to skip a kyu grade if the obviously can perform at a higher level).
This stops working if you have several 5th-6th dans, where what is 'better' is more a matter of style than skill. However, even here the ranking is meaningful, it just has a different meaning, with levels of responsibility, seniority etc.