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First off, this is not a rant. I am not asking this so I can vent my feelings (much good might it do me).

I should have asked this before I asked badge-request questions - even if some people upvote the suggestion, is there seriously any chance of a new badge requested by a normal user ever becoming implemented? Might it be worthwhile to think up new badge ideas?

I just asked two badge-request questions (see Badge request: [2000 rep over cap] and Could we have a silver badge for 100 accepted answers?), and it seems as if they are taken with a little more than a grain of salt. Does that mean I shouldn't try?

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Could the downvoter explain him/herself? This is a query for info - what's to downvote? –  Daniel Aug 5 '11 at 22:46
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It wasn't me, but your question does sound like a bit of a rant. That might be part of the reason. –  Chris Frederick Aug 5 '11 at 22:49
    
Now does it sound like a rant? –  Daniel Aug 5 '11 at 23:15
    
@drm65 a downvote on meta means "I disagree" instead of "this is a bad question" –  Kyle Trauberman Aug 5 '11 at 23:18
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Posting ideas here is like running the gauntlet; if your idea survives the bullets, it might actually be worth considering. –  Robert Harvey Aug 5 '11 at 23:28
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@Kyle: How is it possible to disagree with this question? A question isn't a statement of fact. –  Daniel Aug 5 '11 at 23:32
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Posting a question here means you are inviting people to critique your idea. Many people do that with votes, rather than posting an answer. –  Robert Harvey Aug 5 '11 at 23:35
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I didn't have an idea. I requested information. –  Daniel Aug 5 '11 at 23:56
    
@drm65: Before posting comments about downvotes, please see the faq –  Cody Gray Aug 6 '11 at 8:54
    
@Cody: Please don't be concerned if you receive downvotes – members of the community may simply disagree with your bug, feature request, support issue, or the nature of the discussion. Is that it? –  Daniel Aug 6 '11 at 11:52
    
@Everyone (though I know it doesn't ping anyone): I am trying not to be rude or whiny - I perfectly understand downvotes on badge suggestions. I don't even feel whiny. I just don't know how to word things so that you know that. I'm honestly asking for help to know whether I should be posting more badge-requests. Could someone reword my post so that no one is going to think it's a rant, or at least help me do so? It would be greatly appreciated! No hard feelings :-) –  Daniel Aug 6 '11 at 11:58
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@drm65: I think I understand your feelings. Here is a cookie :) for compensation. –  user unknown Aug 6 '11 at 18:37

4 Answers 4

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I'm not the downvoter either, but it maybe the topic of the badges: they're not something really fresh. Badges are really a mechanism to get people to do the things that are good for the community.

It's like putting iodine in the salt. People want salt on their food - they don't want to take iodine tablets. But the gov't decided we needed iodine to prevent rickets goiter. So, they put it in the salt. Well, StackExchange puts good behavior hidden in badges.

The basic "participation badges" are already there. Future badges should be for other behaviors that we simply need addressed. Here's some examples:

To get people to vote on questions, there's vox populi and electorate. Electorate is there as a high reaching goal to keep people focused on questions. Vox Populi is only attainable if you put some of your votes into questions instead of just answers. This directly addresses the issue of "we don't get enough votes on questions."

To get people to use the share buttons, the publicist badge and friends. This directly addresses the feature of sharing/advertising posts.

People love badges. Hands down, we love badges. Why? I don't know - probably the same reason I spend hours gathering feathers on a computer game so I can get one more pet that I'll never use, since it puts me one closer to 100 pets. Which gives me what? Another pet I'll never use! Oh, and an achievement. That's why I'm doing it, for an achievement.

Now, the people that frequent StackOverflow for sure, and many others, are the type that will do that 50 hour feather grind for that one pet. The powers-that-be at SO know this, and use it to their advantage. After all, when SO came out, achievements were all the rage.

Online games use achievements to keep people playing (and thereby also keep them paying.) StackOverflow, while profitable, also has a bigger purpose: to have a free, easily accessible, reliable place where technical (and with stack exchange, all kinds!) of questions can be answered by professional and experienced people. In order to keep the community in the state that best provides those answers, we all need to abide by a certain behavior code. By making the badges directly related to problems/issues on the side, there's an incentive to make people fall more in line with that certain code. And they get a badge while they're at it.

Personally, I think it's an excellent (and fair) use of social engineering. And the bottom line is they simply don't need more participation. The behaviors that would be encouraged by your badges aren't the kind of behaviors that need attention. It's not that they're necessarily bad behaviors, they're simply not serious issues for the sites.

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+1: Very explanatory answer! –  Daniel Aug 5 '11 at 23:14
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+1: I hate iodine. –  Shog9 Aug 5 '11 at 23:26
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Iodine deficiency leads to goiter; rickets involves Vitamin D and calcium. –  Josh Caswell Aug 6 '11 at 0:03
    
@Josh fixed :-) Thanks! –  corsiKa Aug 8 '11 at 6:40

is there seriously any chance of a new badge requested by a normal user ever becoming implemented?

Yes. Keep in mind that for every new badge that is created, probably 20 or more badge ideas are discarded.

We don't want infinite badges, and we don't need badges that encourage behavior that's already encouraged by existing badges. So don't feel bad.

Might it be worthwhile to think up new badge ideas?

Yes, continue to do so. If you are really interested in making the badge system better, look over all the previous badge suggestions, then hang out around here and see if you can detect patterns of undesired behavior a badge might dissuade people from doing, or patterns of unrewarded good bahaviors you think should be rewarded.

And don't sweat it. Meta is a good place for discussions, and to learn about how to adjust a living, dynamic system for peak performance. You have to discard hundreds of ideas for each great idea that really makes a difference. So keep brainstorming, hold discussions, and don't worry about downvotes.

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+1: Encouraging answer! –  Daniel Aug 6 '11 at 12:02

Does that mean I shouldn't try?

Are you trying because you think other people want what you're proposing? Are you trying because you want what you're proposing? Or are you just trying to see if you can get up-voted...

'cause, if you're honestly trying, then keep doing that. You'll get better at it. Or you won't, and the system will block your IP and stop you from ever trying again.

But if you're not honestly trying, then yeah, you probably shouldn't bother. Yoda's weird grammar aside, there's trying and then there's trying.

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Why wasn't this answer upvoted more? +2 if I could. –  Daniel Aug 6 '11 at 12:01

I just asked two badge-request questions […], and it seems as if they are taken with a little more than a grain of salt. Does that mean I shouldn't try?

It depends from the kind of badges you are proposing. You should make some considerations before to propose a badge:

  • Is the badge promoting an action that is already promoted by another badge?
  • Is the badge promoting an action that is considered positive for a Q&A site?

For example, a badge about the reputation non gained because the reputation cap is already covered by the badges given to who reaches the reputation cap in X days (not consecutive days); a badge for accepting 100 answers could have the effect of having users who ask questions just to be able to get that badge, or who accept answers right after a single answer has been posted, and two hours are passed since the question has been asked. In the latter case, the badge would be promoting something, when (as far as I remember) there are some limits to the number of asked questions, which means that users should not get an incentive for asking as much questions as possible.

Vice versa, the badge for approving proposed edits is promoting something positive. Obtaining that badge doesn't depend from what a user does, but it depends from what other users do; if there are no users who propose edits, it would not be possible to get that badge, and the same is true if the proposed edits are always approved by other users. Maybe this is the "surprise principle" I read of in other posts: You will never know when you get the badge.

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