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We should give a badge to editors who improve closed questions so much that they get reopened.

David Fullerton suggested this badge as part of this answer, which explains the motivation. I just thought it deserved a full-fledged, standalone request. (Actually, when I read his answer, the idea felt very familiar, and I was certain that it had been proposed before. However, I couldn't find any existing proposal after a relatively long search.)

There are lots of possible variants on this idea, which I'll let people hash out in discussion. Things to consider:

  • How many questions do you need to get reopened to earn the badge?
  • What if there are already reopen votes on a question you're editing?
  • What if a question gets re-closed after reopening? Re-reopened?
  • Should it matter if the question you edit is your own?
  • If some user posts a bad question, a couple people vote to close, a Good Samaritan edits the question into shape, and no more close votes get cast, should the Good Sam get the badge?
  • What's a good name? David suggested "Resurrection." I'm not a huge fan of that, for two reasons. First, it sounds too much like Revival and Necromancer, but this badge doesn't work like either of those. Second, it implies that closed questions are dead, which is exactly the image that we're trying to eliminate.
  • Bronze, silver or gold?
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Also to consider: Would it be gold, silver or bronze. –  Trufa Oct 17 '11 at 16:38
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@Trufa probably Bronze, because it doesnt involve much work. Get a question closed, fix it, then flag for it to be reopened. –  Joe the Person Oct 23 '11 at 2:52

3 Answers 3

This request makes sense, as it encourages teamwork. Many questions are simply presented badly(walls of text/poor English/confused newbies). And it's awesome to hit two birds with one stone. Now in response to your questions:

How many questions do you need to get reopened to earn the badge?

One is fine. After all, it's a tough thing to do, and rare. And we're training newbies. By the way, bronze would be good enough here(well I don't know, silver is OK too).

What if there are already reopen votes on a question you're editing?

Just ignore that they're other people, for simplicity. All votes equal, and owner gets rewarded(if they fixed it).

What if a question gets re-closed after reopening? Re-reopened?

It's not very likely anyway. But - Badges are permanent.

Should it matter if the question you edit is your own?

I'd suggest that it doesn't matter and give the same badge for each. As for name - maybe [Good Samaritan](in the vein of similar badges like Guru, Suffrage) for the user who cleaned it up.

It should be broadened to allow users who get 2 or 3 closed votes, and subsequently have those close votes removed, to get the badge too. So yes, regarding "If some user posts a bad question...Good Sam get the badge?" If close votes can't be taken back, maybe just revived to +2 upvotes or so.

Some may oppose this on the grounds that it dilutes the punishment somehow, but I strongly disagree. Reason being that functionally nothing changes! "Closed" is "closed", but now we'd just like to give them hope, and to encourage fixing instead of resubmitting the same thing(newbies often re-post with just the titles modified).

By the way, an important part of this request should be to put the Badge message in the closed page.

I hope this helps.

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EXAMPLE: Finding even numbers in an array

The above question was closed within 2 minutes of being posted. It's original form was simply:

Given an array of length n containing at most e even numbers and a function isEven that returns true is the input is even and false otherwise, write a function that prints all the even numbers in the array using the fewest number of calls to isEven.

Comments were made to the OP to explain why the post was closed. For example, Tim Cooper wrote:

What have you done already, or did you expect us to do it all for you?

Within 5 minutes of that, the OP edited the question to include the following:

The only thing I could think was to do a linear search and stop after I hit the end of the array or found e even numbers. Can someone please tell me a better way?

Now, over 3 hours later, the question has a split score of +1/-4 and 3 re-open votes. As best I can tell, it's receiving no more attention. However, it really should be re-opened.

This is just one of many examples where a question is justifiably closed, improved, and not re-open due to lack of attention. A badge that draws attention to this issue would certainly help.

I'm in favor of a bronze badge for the first time you edit a closed question that is subsequently re-opened, and a silver badge for the 50th time, or some such number. Hopefully this will encourage people to look through closed questions for ones that maybe should be brought back to the fold.

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I think you'd avoid a lot of the complications if the badge was just for editing a certain number of closed questions. Anyone who does enough of these has a fair probability of getting one reopened.

Using this approach, there should be a date limit, so that it only applies to relatively new questions. This would raise the probability that the editor has actually gotten a question reopened.

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This may be so, but I think it misses the point. You want to reward the people who actually get reopens to happen. Generating a high volume of edits that aren't particularly useful doesn't help anyone. As Sideshow Bob says, they don't give a Nobel Prize for Attempted Chemistry. –  Pops Oct 17 '11 at 16:43
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I don't think it misses the point, I think it's a statistical approach that avoids a lot of the hard questions you asked. There should probably be a date limit on it, so it only applies to relatively new questions, so not just old crappy closed questions are edited for it. –  Lance Roberts Oct 17 '11 at 16:46
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Yes, it avoids the hard questions, but they're important questions. We want to identify actual good edits, not just people who "should have had a good one by now." –  Pops Oct 17 '11 at 16:59
    
It may be possible, but some algorithms are hard, just look at the terrible new triviality algorithm. –  Lance Roberts Oct 17 '11 at 17:01
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@LanceRoberts - I'm Just curious here - how would this algorithm be hard? Also, the triviality algorithm is more an artificial-intelligence feature. Here we just want to reward the author of a post if they edit, then get it reopened. I admit it's not the simplest Badge, but there's a 'Booster' badge which is quite complex("Shared a link to a question that was visited by 300 unique IP addresses in 4 days . ") –  Adel Oct 17 '11 at 23:21
    
@Adel, the hard part would be finding an algorithm that works with all of the questions that Pop brought up. There are a lot of possible scenarios that would have to be accounted for. I think it would be interesting work, but SO usually tries to keep things simple, so I don't think they'd go for it readily. –  Lance Roberts Oct 17 '11 at 23:26
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Badges are supposed to encourage specific behavior. The behavior to be encouraged is editing closed questions in a way that helps them get reopened, not simply editing lots of closed questions. The "statistical approach" is premature optimization. If the problem is too hard, then we'll just have to wait for a better solution. –  Jon Ericson Oct 17 '11 at 23:43
    
I'd like to know what are the "complications" though. And what would be the motivation to a newbie, to go edit X number of closed questions that are often hopeless? –  Adel Oct 22 '11 at 23:24
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@Adel, Pop's first five things in his list are complications. It doesn't mean we can't get something to work around them, but it shows that it isn't as simple as proposed. –  Lance Roberts Oct 23 '11 at 0:19

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