What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

Foursquare has a feature where users can become the "mayor" of some location (such as a coffee shop) by visiting it more frequently than everybody else. I was thinking that this concept might be fun to apply to Stack Exchange sites.

My initial thought was something like "recently most upvoted answers in tag", but that would unfairly bias toward high-rep users who answer zillions of questions, and already have all the gold badges anyway.

My second thought was to count the number of recent days on which a user posted an upvoted answer within a tag. This would allow even a completely new user to steal the mayorship from anybody else, given sufficient persistence. Such a designation would be:

  • attainable. Anybody could get the mayorship for any tag, since it's based not on past performance, but on consistent performance.
  • relevant. The mayorship would reflect recent upvoted activity.
  • unique. Only one user could hold the mayorship for any given tag.
  • encouraging. Because the award is attainable and unique, this encourages "good" behaviour (providing answers that get upvoted).
  • related to existing badges such as Enthusiast and Fanatic.

I'm imagining the mayor for a tag being listed on the tag wiki page, as well as listing all the tags for which a user holds the mayorship somewhere on the user's profile page. I don't imagine this would be related to reputation points at all.

share|improve this question
20  
If this happens, I'm introducing a McCheese tag. –  Shogging through the snow Jan 6 '12 at 2:08
2  
+1 in the vague vague hopes that I could surpass our beloved Jon Skeet in some arcane area... :D –  sarnold Jan 6 '12 at 2:08
3  
Some useful stats can be found at the /tags/<tag>/topusers page for the respective tag. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 6 '12 at 2:09
17  
This would be a lot of fun on the Travel site. And Parenting, because they have a potty-training tag. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 6 '12 at 2:12
1  
@Greg we are tossing around ideas for a total redesign of the tag wiki area, perhaps adding an additional info top level tab that shows a "tag dashboard" and nuking the faq tab ... still in consideration but this kind of ties in –  waffles Jan 6 '12 at 3:43
2  
We should let people "check in" to IDEs as well. @coder just checked in from Accounting! Maybe witty status messages as well. But seriously no, I disagree with this idea. –  Ben Brocka Jan 6 '12 at 17:39
    
Rather than nuking the FAQ tab, why not change its implementation to show the questions which have had the most duplicates of them closed? This would encourage people to do more duplicate cleanup I think. –  hippietrail Aug 8 '12 at 9:19
    
Thank God we're getting rid of [homework] –  Tim Post Dec 21 '12 at 4:50

5 Answers 5

I'm all for this. Another gamification feature for sure, but why not? This is just a step up from things like user leagues and tag leaderboards that we already have in place.

One suggestion: I feel that an answer-score ratio would be a beneficial and important added factor here, along with the 30-day timespan and the individual numbers of upvotes and answers.

After all, it wouldn't be good to give someone the title of mayorship if they consistently and constantly provide low-quality answers to laughably easy questions (I'm not naming anybody, but you know what I mean)...

share|improve this answer
3  
+1 In theory, the answer/score ration indicates the average helpfulness of a user's answers in a particular tag. To me, I would think the "mayor" would be the most helpful person "in town". –  cdeszaq Jan 6 '12 at 15:12
1  
If this suggestion were to be implemented (and I'm not saying it should), then we'd definitely need the answer/score ratio - otherwise it would just be rewarding people who are providing little or no value –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 6 '12 at 16:10
2  
And let's replace flag-weight with this while we're at it. –  casperOne Jan 6 '12 at 16:16
    
Or at least factor it in –  cdeszaq Jan 6 '12 at 16:38
1  
Yes, for high-volume tags there might need to be some kind of tie-breaker for those who qualify. Answer score seems like a reasonable choice. –  Greg Hewgill Jan 6 '12 at 19:17

You mean a bit like the person in the top left column on the 'java' Top Users page, thus making (at this exact moment) Peter Lawrey the Mayor of Java based on the last 30 days?

'java' Top Users

This is linked to from the Wiki box from a page, and they come with Bronze, Silver and Gold badges as well.

share|improve this answer
4  
No, that's precisely not what I mean. That ranking is based on the total number of upvotes Peter has received over the past 30 days. What I'm suggesting is something based on the number of days each user has participated. Maybe Peter was only active on 28 days, Jon was only active on 29, and somebody not even on that list provided upvoted answers for 30 days out of the last 30. –  Greg Hewgill Jan 6 '12 at 2:27
9  
@GregHewgill I would think for most of the main tags there's going to be a 5000-way tie –  Michael Mrozek Jan 6 '12 at 16:30
    
@MichaelMrozek: Conrad Frix's answer demonstrates using an actual query that 5000-way ties aren't likely to be a problem. –  Greg Hewgill Jan 6 '12 at 23:32
    
@greghewgill But it also demonstrates that it's not going to be that much different from the top users either –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 7 '12 at 8:53

Using the Candidates for Mayor Query which I wrote we can calculate active days (excluding zero score answers) and a score/answercount ratio and rank them . I see a pretty strong correlation between the leaderboards and the results even though the Query's data is a couple of weeks stale.

I think the only incentive this Mayor designation would give is to make sure the dominant posters post at least one answer a day.

rank TagName    displayname             reputation activedays totalscore answercount ratio            
---- ---------- ----------------------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------- ---------------- 
1    .net       Jon Skeet               383995     25         281        57          4.9298245614035  
2    .net       Marc Gravell            275110     25         159        56          2.83928571428571 
3    .net       SLaks                   190060     23         144        45          3.2              
4    .net       competent_tech          9516       23         75         83          0.90361445783132 
5    .net       Hans Passant            214986     22         85         40          2.125            
6    .net       Darin Dimitrov          261247     21         115        38          3.02631578947368 
7    .net       Reed Copsey             160191     19         123        32          3.84375          
8    .net       Oded                    133933     16         91         38          2.39473684210526 
9    .net       abatishchev             20812      13         66         26          2.53846153846153 
10   .net       dasblinkenlight         6216       13         57         23          2.47826086956521 
1    android    CommonsWare             146641     25         143        182         0.78571428571428 
2    android    user370305              8669       24         218        194         1.12371134020618 
3    android    gwa                     1320       23         70         99          0.7070707070707  
4    android    Rajdeep Dua             1723       23         53         105         0.5047619047619  
5    android    Jave                    1888       21         86         100         0.86             
6    android    alextsc                 8083       20         119        64          1.859375         
7    android    Ted Hopp                28874      19         70         65          1.07692307692307 
8    android    Paresh Mayani           11598      18         55         52          1.0576923076923  
9    android    kabuko                  4961       18         79         80          0.9875           
10   android    havexz                  1769       18         48         76          0.63157894736842 
1    asp.net    competent_tech          9516       26         82         109         0.75229357798165 
2    asp.net    AVD                     23018      22         90         99          0.9090909090909  
3    asp.net    Darin Dimitrov          261247     20         77         50          1.54             
4    asp.net    rick schott             11516      20         123        100         1.23             
5    asp.net    Adam Rackis             14139      19         55         48          1.14583333333333 
6    asp.net    Oded                    133933     18         77         44          1.75             
7    asp.net    Yuriy Rozhovetskiy      5828       16         49         52          0.94230769230769 
8    asp.net    Tim Brown               916        14         25         36          0.69444444444444 
9    asp.net    Elias Hossain           1349       14         20         61          0.32786885245901 
10   asp.net    SLaks                   190060     12         57         27          2.11111111111111 
1    c#         Jon Skeet               383995     30         948        187         5.06951871657754 
2    c#         Oded                    133933     29         445        146         3.04794520547945 
3    c#         competent_tech          9516       29         314        324         0.96913580246913 
4    c#         Adam Rackis             14139      28         224        84          2.66666666666666 
5    c#         Darin Dimitrov          261247     28         272        115         2.36521739130434 
6    c#         Hans Passant            214986     28         184        91          2.02197802197802 
7    c#         Marc Gravell            275110     27         477        160         2.98125          
8    c#         Henk Holterman          83829      27         188        68          2.76470588235294 
9    c#         Reed Copsey             160191     24         455        84          5.41666666666666 
10   c#         SLaks                   190060     24         396        148         2.67567567567567 
1    c++        Kerrek SB               44402      30         843        241         3.49792531120331 
2    c++        Nawaz                   61659      29         456        145         3.14482758620689 
3    c++        Als                     37064      26         222        58          3.82758620689655 
4    c++        Xeo                     22221      25         417        90          4.63333333333333 
5    c++        Nicol Bolas             28849      25         124        51          2.4313725490196  
6    c++        Basile Starynkevitch    11291      25         172        127         1.35433070866141 
7    c++        Luchian Grigore         11651      24         230        93          2.47311827956989 
8    c++        sehe                    40274      24         251        106         2.36792452830188 
9    c++        Mysticial               25085      23         710        50          14.2             
10   c++        dasblinkenlight         6216       23         121        72          1.68055555555555 
1    iphone     hotpaw2                 20895      22         60         73          0.82191780821917 
2    iphone     rob mayoff              8999       20         87         63          1.38095238095238 
3    iphone     jrturton                10484      20         85         68          1.25             
4    iphone     rckoenes                11096      18         106        76          1.39473684210526 
5    iphone     Caleb                   21062      17         64         36          1.77777777777777 
6    iphone     Michael Dautermann      6041       16         97         67          1.44776119402985 
7    iphone     CocoaFu                 10974      16         55         46          1.19565217391304 
8    iphone     poupou                  6892       14         24         23          1.04347826086956 
9    iphone     Ankit Srivastava        1317       14         43         55          0.78181818181818 
10   iphone     occulus                 4585       14         28         41          0.68292682926829 
1    java       mKorbel                 18024      30         227        125         1.816            
2    java       Dave Newton             24512      30         292        161         1.81366459627329 
3    java       Andrew Thompson         24133      29         226        107         2.11214953271028 
4    java       Peter Lawrey            61617      29         396        285         1.38947368421052 
5    java       Jon Skeet               383995     28         599        150         3.99333333333333 
6    java       trashgod                44896      28         177        75          2.36             
7    java       BalusC                  227452     28         191        119         1.60504201680672 
8    java       JB Nizet                46298      28         327        207         1.57971014492753 
9    java       Stephen C               97200      28         221        142         1.55633802816901 
10   java       Hovercraft Full Of Eels 28128      27         267        87          3.06896551724137 
1    javascript Adam Rackis             14139      30         478        206         2.32038834951456 
2    javascript Pointy                  70509      29         181        99          1.82828282828282 
3    javascript Quentin                 126116     28         189        96          1.96875          
4    javascript jfriend00               28199      28         211        150         1.40666666666666 
5    javascript nnnnnn                  8364       28         132        132         1                
6    javascript pimvdb                  25282      26         273        113         2.41592920353982 
7    javascript T.J. Crowder            89824      25         220        81          2.71604938271604 
8    javascript RightSaidFred           5117       24         239        107         2.23364485981308 
9    javascript alex                    84568      23         159        59          2.69491525423728 
10   javascript dzejkej                 2678       23         117        82          1.42682926829268 
1    jquery     jfriend00               28199      28         156        120         1.3              
2    jquery     Adam Rackis             14139      27         208        134         1.55223880597014 
3    jquery     Jasper                  10533      25         292        236         1.23728813559322 
4    jquery     RightSaidFred           5117       23         203        103         1.97087378640776 
5    jquery     pimvdb                  25282      21         107        42          2.54761904761904 
6    jquery     Gaby aka G. Petrioli    35936      21         77         49          1.57142857142857 
7    jquery     roXon                   4013       21         37         31          1.19354838709677 
8    jquery     dzejkej                 2678       21         69         68          1.01470588235294 
9    jquery     Sudhir                  5037       21         61         159         0.38364779874213 
10   jquery     Darin Dimitrov          261247     20         116        63          1.84126984126984 
1    php        mario                   38827      30         241        152         1.58552631578947 
2    php        deceze                  72880      29         162        90          1.8              
3    php        Michael                 38303      28         241        96          2.51041666666666 
4    php        ajreal                  22526      27         215        191         1.12565445026178 
5    php        Sudhir                  5037       26         101        222         0.45495495495495 
6    php        Tim Cooper              17943      25         216        79          2.73417721518987 
7    php        Col. Shrapnel           29763      25         119        160         0.74375          
8    php        DaveRandom              10780      24         192        158         1.21518987341772 
9    php        hakre                   26301      23         150        128         1.171875         
10   php        Marc B                  69715      22         193        119         1.62184873949579 
share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the query, that's great! I think it should be clear that Jon Skeet would deserve the mayorship for at least some tags. But it's also clear that there are many popular tags for which there would be opportunity for others to get it. And then there are all the zillions of other tags... –  Greg Hewgill Jan 6 '12 at 19:22
1  
@GregHewgill I added a new query to allow that takes in an input of tag name Even among the less common tags there's still a strong correlation between a "tag mayor" and /topusers. Take Git for example. The top mayor candidate is manojlds. He's also the current top user in the last 30 Days. So the mayor seems to incentivize a small behavior change (make sure you have at least one answer everyday even if its a 0 score answer). IMHO I'd rather see badges associated with having a good 30 day period. –  Some Helpful Commenter Jan 6 '12 at 20:31
1  
I had suggested "upvoted answers" in order to avoid the 0 score answer problem. This proposal would encourage people to provide answers that are likely to get upvoted. Obviously encouraging "junk" answers just to have one, wouldn't be the right thing to do. –  Greg Hewgill Jan 6 '12 at 20:59
    
@GregHewgill I updated my queries to exclude zero and negative score answers –  Some Helpful Commenter Jan 6 '12 at 21:20
2  
I think the most surprising thing is that there are categories that Jon Skeet WOULDN'T be mayor for! –  That Chuck Guy Jan 6 '12 at 23:28

What actual problem with the sites as they stand right now are you suggesting this will solve? Assuming that most of us don't see "We haven't copied any web 2.0 websites lately" as a real problem, I mean. Perhaps we can get a sock puppet and use it as a mascot for the mayor's "office" for each tag?

You already get badges for participating in such a tag and these current ones have the advantage over this proposed "mayor" idea that its still worth trying even if someone like Jon Skeet is also interested in the same area.

How is this any different to any of the past ideas for things like "Stack Overflow MVP"?

What's valuable about the stack exchange sites is the answers. Anything that makes a site less about the answers and more about the people behind them is a bad thing.

In answer to @AdamRackis "what has got you so worked up" comment below, I'd say: 3 reasons -

  1. In the "more answering" stakes I think it might prove counter-productive; if the "usual suspects" on a stack exchange end up as "mayor of c#" or "president of ssh" or whatever then this might discourage people from competing with them even further.

  2. I'm fairly sure that the stack exchange staff's time is a finite resource and there are probably more important things they could be working on. As such my comments about "what problem does this solve" are less about this feature in particular and more something I ask myself about any feature.

  3. I dislike anything that moves us further away from answers that stand or fall on their own merit, regardless of who wrote them, and closer to a platform where who answered something matters more than what they said.

Let me turn the "What got you so worked up" thing on its head: What makes the people who like this idea think its such a good idea? What value would something like this add to the site?

Don't just tell me that you think it will improve answers, because I'm not convinced. The sites already uses "badges" and reputation to motivate people to provide answers, so what does one more badge add? The people who care about badges and rep are already answering the question to get, er, badges and rep.

Frankly I see it mostly having potential for a lot of whining on meta when people think they've been hard done by (see endless debates on "flag weight", "tactical voting", etc).

share|improve this answer
    
I don't believe I claimed that this would solve any currently existing "problem" on the sites. In a broad sense, this proposal would encourage more answers that are good enough to get upvotes. –  Greg Hewgill Jan 6 '12 at 19:25
4  
I think the real question is, why does this have you so worked up? The proposed feature is just a fun idea that some people might like. –  Adam Rackis Jan 6 '12 at 21:28
    
But, wouldn't a badge that encourages more answering make the site better if the site is about the answers? –  cdeszaq Jan 6 '12 at 21:31
    
What problem does any badge or gamification feature solve? –  hippietrail Aug 8 '12 at 9:54
    
@hippietrail - I appreciate that you may disagree with me on which side of the line this one falls, but there's a line between games and badges for the sake of games and badges (which distract from the purpose of the site imho) and games and badges that encourage positive participation in the aims of the site. There's already a badge to denote participation in a category, so I thought it was fair to ask what additional point was served by a "mayor" badge? –  RobM Aug 8 '12 at 18:51
    
Actually I think there is much tag mess on all SE sites because people are not encouraged enough to keep them nice/tidy. I think features that encourage people to take some pride in their categories (tags) would be a good thing, and something like the "mayor" idea could be a fun part of that. I am concerned about tag/category "ownership" though. If there's a challenge with such a proposal as this I'm more worried about about that aspect than random "gamification is bad" thinking. I found the site because Google brought me here when I asked questions, I stayed to participate because it's fun. –  hippietrail Aug 9 '12 at 6:23

I love this idea (though I know it'll never get implemented).

But instead of it going to the most highly rated user, or most frequent visitor, I'd like to see it be an elected office. The top 30 or so tags on SO could hold elections for mayor.

C# mayoral election

JavaScript mayoral election

PHP mayoral election

and so on. Ideally, only users with at least X upvotes in a given tag would be eligible to vote in that tag's election.

Mayors would hold office for a fixed amount of time before the next election, and to really have fun with it, you could attach term limits.

share|improve this answer
2  
My biggest problem with elections (in general, not just this idea) is that it's a "snapshot-in-time" vote, and the act of casting a vote is often very far removed from what the candidates have done. I would much rather be able to incrementally vote for "someone" by passing judgement on what they have done over time (ie. voting up / down answers) than just cast a vote apart from their work. –  cdeszaq Jan 6 '12 at 21:33
    
@cdeszaq - that's an interesting point. Of course setting that up would be a lot harder. Plus, community moderators (a position a lot more important than this hypothetical position) are elected through an election –  Adam Rackis Jan 6 '12 at 21:37
1  
The idea of "voting over time" is pretty much what the site is already built on. My point is that leveraging the existing vote data is already more powerful and accurate than an "election", especially when the "position" relates to a specific topic area, rather than activity in general (as the community mods election does). –  cdeszaq Jan 6 '12 at 21:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .