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I just thought about a badge that could reward users who answer questions in obscure tags. Unlike popular tags like JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, etc. answering in these tags garners you little reputation, since few people are going to vote on the answers.

A possible badge to reward these users could be:

Lone Wolf

Got 30 accepted answers on questions viewed less than 10 times.

Details:

  • Got accepted answers on 30 questions that have been viewed 10 times or less
  • Can be awarded once

The badge would both reward users who answer in these less popular tags, and encourage users to add this kind of tags to their favorites.

What do you think?

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Please also take into consideration about the negative effect of people creating tags for the sake of achieving this badge. Just a thought. –  user162697 Aug 9 '11 at 18:11
    
@Siva You could make the badge apply only to tags not created by the user. –  Matthew Read Aug 9 '11 at 21:13
    
@Matthew Read: Sure, that's why I threw in the point to take into consideration. Only deserving people should receive the badge. –  user162697 Aug 9 '11 at 21:15
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think this is a really good idea, it would promote help for little communities within SO.

This way people could invest more time in answering small subject even if they won't get a lot of rep.

I would increase the number of view to 20-25 or a little higher since i got unanswered question that got 30-31 views and weren't so big.

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I dislike the idea of creating a "supertumbleweed" badge. I am not sure it encourages the behavior you are trying to reward. By doing so you are saying ... its awesome to answer a lot of questions nobody really cares about.

If you simply want to reward people for participating in low volume tags you could explicitly set up a badge for people with:

A cumulative score of X on questions that do not have any top N tags

Finding the magic values for X and N is not a trivial task, feel free to tweak this query on data.SE

I like that this gives a nice badge to people like Isaac Hodes who participates in clojure and lisp a lot. However, I am not convinced this is really creating an incentive that the tag badges do not already create.

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I think this is largely covered by the "Unsung Hero" badge.

I'm pretty sure anyone who earns "Unsung Hero" is likely to earn "Lone Wolf" as well, so it seems a bit pointless: the goals have quite a bit of overlap and are really not something to strive for. Something to be proud of? Sure - but not something to actively seek.

In theory: The badge would reward users who answer in these less popular tags.

In practice, it could prevent users (read: Badge Hunters) from answering in popular tags, which is not really the kind of behavior to encourage. People are already exhibiting undesirable behavior to get Unsung Hero, like deleting good answers and asking people not to upvote them.

Users trying to earn this badge will:

  • Avoid questions with over 10 views.
  • Be less apt to retag questions with the appropriate popular tags if applicable, to keep them out of the limelight

It's a bit silly that we have to dance around users who prize badges and rep so highly that it makes them behave differently, but That's Just The Way It Is.

IMO, if we need another badge - this one is not it.

EDIT: I do like the idea of encouragement to answer low-visibility tags, so maybe this just needs some tweaking. For instance, with only this criteria:

Got 30 accepted answers on questions viewed less than 10 times.

This badge could theoretically be awarded to someone answering in popular tags on a slow night or on the weekend when the activity is fairly low. If OP has a trigger finger on the accept button, the question is likely to be considered solved and mostly ignored, so it will not get as many views, or get accepted before the 10-view mark is met.

I like the idea of what it's trying to encourage, but it may need some work. Perhaps something more geared towards answering in tags with X or less followers rather than views.

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