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Currently each badge description page only contains information on:

  • The requirements to earn the badge
  • Who earned it and when they earned it

I would like to see this information added to those pages:

  • What behaviors will help you earn the badge (a somewhat extended description rather than simply how many points)
  • Rationale behind why a badge is awarded, including why those behaviors are being encouraged

This would save trips to MSO, and round out completeness and authority of the information. It would help encourage the type of behavior these badges exist to promote.

This is similar to the Make Each Badge Page a Wiki feature request, but I want to place an emphasis on the particular content rather than the way that content gets created or maintained.

To me this seems similar in intent to the individual privilege description pages.

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This could probably be opened up wiki-style, since many of us already know how to get the current badges. Devs would have to start the wiki for any new badges, naturally. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 4 '11 at 13:53
    
Ripped out during edit, as I don't think it belongs in the proposal: Initially I think these pages should be written by SE devs rather than the community, since the community can't directly implement new badges or modify existing ones. But I consider the issue of the ideal content vs who has access to create and modify content be orthogonal to each other. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 0:53
    
@BilltheLizard: So I am fine with what you're suggesting. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 0:54

1 Answer 1

I'd say that when the descriptions are clear--and admittedly that is not always the case--it should be obvious how to get them (or at least what FAQ to look for on meta) and should require only a little deduction to determine the rationale. After all every badge is meant to either

  1. Introduce the user to some feature we want them to use, or
  2. Reward some behavior that we consider desirable

(for values of "we" that always mean the team and often mean the hordes of rabid meta-users).

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Compare this to the individual privilege description pages. Those have very detailed descriptions and IMO hint much more strongly at the community-building drive behind each feature. Contrast it with, say, the description page for the Electorate badge. So, I'm supposed to be voting (that's obvious). I'm supposed to also vote on questions (obvious). Am I supposed to vote on questions as often as answers? How much more often? How does that help the community? I have no clue without looking on MSO. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 0:42
    
While the descriptions on how to get them are clear, I think these pages can offer more to our community by describing how we want our community to look. The rationale we provide can help us further encourage the goals of the badges. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 5 '11 at 0:45
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@MerlynMorgan-Graham I don't actually oppose your suggestion, but I find the purpose of the badges obvious. Maybe that's just me, every time I hear of a strange rule I try to envision the scenario that led to it---and there usually is one. –  dmckee Dec 5 '11 at 0:47
    
What feature does Unsung Hero introduce or what behavior does it promote? I received it recently without doing anything special. My point is simply that, if it's purpose isn't evident to me, maybe I'm not the only one. I like this proposal. –  Herbert Dec 5 '11 at 2:24
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Answering questions for new users in obscure tags--i.e. helping to cast some light into the dusty corners. New users because the easiest way to get 0 score accepted is from a user with less than 15 rep. Obscure because otherwise you get some votes from other people. –  dmckee Dec 5 '11 at 2:27
    
What behavior does the reversal badge promote? If a question is bad enough to be on -5 shouldn't it just be closed rather than answered? –  Martin Smith Dec 5 '11 at 10:50
    
@MartinSmith: My only guess (and it is just a guess, which is why I suggested this proposal) is that it is to encourage giving good answers even if there is a terrible question. But I've had people try to call me out on answering a question that I also voted to close. I agree that it is not possible to perfectly reverse engineer every badge. –  Merlyn Morgan-Graham Jan 23 '12 at 8:26

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