What I like about our animal class is that its an open format, you are not in Gi or Belt, you are in jeans and T-shirt or a jogging suit. The proof of rank is in the pudding most people with skill and tenacity comes to the top. You are not working with just your student most people barely know you at times. But after a short while people know who each fighter is and what he is capable of.
Rank is important to the organizational chart of a system structure of a class and grading process. And who it comes from is important if you actually trained and bare some resemblances to the Instructors techniques. But if one gets rank in a manner suggested above its just wallpaper and advertisement for someone else accomplishments. Karate Credentials should be done on a individual scale base on all these factors discussed.
Usually if you know the Sensei, you know what to expect from his students. This is true I believe.