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I am working on improving our tag wiki system and am looking for some better ways to incentivise the community to write awesome content.

At the moment we have a single bronze badge for Tag Wikis - Tag Editor.

I think we should add a silver version of it, as well.

Looking through the data, very few people edit many tag wikis. http://data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/59615/top-tag-wiki-editors. Additionally, quite a few focus on "excerpts" only.

So for this "silver" badge suggestion:

  1. Do we need a new "silver" tag wiki badge?
  2. How many edits should we require?
  3. Should we count excerpt edits and wiki edits in this count? Do we need separate badges?
  4. What would you call the badge?
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I know there are good reasons for it, but the whole tag wiki edits as suggested edits thing below 20K is more of a mental obstacle for me than the lack of badge incentive. That aside, "Sure, why not?", "20 'edit points'", "Excerpt edits should count as 1/2 an edit point; no separate badge" and "Encyclopedian", with no particular justification that would make those responses answer-worthy. –  Tim Stone Jan 18 '12 at 23:27
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I think it should require a high (for some value of "high") proportion of edits to bodies. 40%? –  ChrisF Jan 18 '12 at 23:50
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@ChrisF not sure, that is why I am asking :) ... spec it out –  waffles Jan 18 '12 at 23:56
    
I'll have to think on this. I'm not sure either - hence the comment :) –  ChrisF Jan 18 '12 at 23:58
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Tag wikis tend to be awful, and approved if they're merely "correct". People act like we're a dictionary. I don't want to see more tags with half-baked definitions instead of useful usage instructions for the tag. If we can find away to encourage the latter, I might support this idea. –  Matthew Read Jan 19 '12 at 0:51
    
@MatthewRead I am totally aware of that problem, do you have any ideas on how we can increase quality? –  waffles Jan 19 '12 at 3:48
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One thing is to improve the editing instructions sidebar. It seems to emphasize the wiki being a basic introduction, and doesn't mention usage at all. With that said, we all know users don't read :(. I'm not sure what else to do. User education is tricky! –  Matthew Read Jan 19 '12 at 17:35
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I have to admit I don't often read tag wiki's. I usually read them when I have no idea about what the tag is. I'll research it more in other sources, for example the official home page of the programming language/api/dev tool/whatever. So maybe we should encourage not only writing tag wiki's but also pointing to importan links. for tag names... Jimmy Wales, Jimbo, taginator, –  bigblind Jan 19 '12 at 23:44

9 Answers 9

up vote 33 down vote accepted

By Popular Demand...'s suggestion Research Assistant is now deployed ...

But wait, there is more... you also get badge progress...
research assistant
(To see the badge progress, go to any tag wiki and look in the right-hand column, about halfway down.)


Looking through the data, it seemed to me that excerpts are handled fairly well by the community. I wanted to add a push to wiki editing, not excerpt editing (which is forced anyway). So... the badge counts distinct tag wikis you edit excluding excerpts.

The threshold is so low cause even at this level very few get it. (we can consider adjusting later and adding a gold badge later.)

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@waffles You should then not consider tagwiki/excerpt edits for S&W and CE badges... –  Lorem Ipsum Feb 7 '12 at 11:35
    
Yay, I already have 50% on Crypto :-) –  Paŭlo Ebermann Feb 7 '12 at 19:06
    
What do you mean that excerpt editing is forced anyway? –  tchrist Mar 30 '13 at 21:53
  1. Yes, I think a badge for editing many tag wikis would motivate some editors. The caveat is that many people write substandard tag wikis (folks, don't copy-paste Wikipedia, it's not the right information in 99.99% of the cases); but the badge would encourage more people to eyeball tag wikis with a view of improving them, which should compensate.

  2. Given the result of your query, I'd say 100 edits to tag wikis and excerpts combined. This would mean 7 initial awards on SO (with a couple more soon to come), 3 on SU, 0 on SF, 1 on Gaming, 3 on AU, 2 on U&L. That's not much, but then there aren't nearly enough tag wikis — ideally every tag would have one.

  3. Separate badges for excerpts and main bodies? No, too complicated. Writing a good excerpt isn't so easy. I think there should be a requirement to have some of both, say at least 20 of each. Ideally, there should also be a requirement of making non-trivial edits; while having spelling errors in a tag wiki isn't good, having worthwhile content and clear explanations is primordial.

  4. Dunno, I suck at names.

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The "I Suck At Names" badge, works for me :) –  waffles Jan 19 '12 at 6:08
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I suck at names How about Wikipedian? –  Yannis Jan 19 '12 at 6:43
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@ZaphodBeeblebrox the problem with that is that it might encourage the "cut and paste from Wikipedia" approach - exactly what we don't want. –  ChrisF Jan 19 '12 at 9:29
    
@ChrisF I honestly don't see any relation in the tag name and the "cut and paste from Wikipedia" approach... :P –  Yannis Jan 19 '12 at 9:31
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@ZaphodBeeblebrox I agree with ChrisF: “Wikipedian” does sound like you should be introducing content from WP into SE (or vice versa), and we don't want that. –  Gilles Jan 19 '12 at 10:19
    
Well although I appreciate your opinions, unless you provide references from reputable sources that even slightly link my suggestion with the behavior, I don't see your point. Please back up your claims. Otherwise you are forcing me to flag your comments as "too chatty". :P –  Yannis Jan 19 '12 at 10:24

Anyone who is going around editing lots of tag wiki pages is almost certainly going to be spending most of that effort just tidying up (improving formatting, fixing links, etc.) This is valuable behavior and is often under-appreciated.

The best characterization I've heard of such people is as Wikignomes. There's your badge name.

(If it's a silver badge, it shouldn't be too hard to obtain. It should take diligence and effort, but putting it effectively out of range of all but 0.01% of regular users is more the mark of a gold badge than a silver.)

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I totally agree with the spirit of the name you suggested, as to the 0.01 issue, I am working hard to change the dynamics around tag wikis, the plan is for this badge to be a proper silver one. It is tricky to get, but not too tricky. The gold ones in general require an enormous amount of effort –  waffles Jan 19 '12 at 22:26
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@waffles: Most of them seem to need a lot of luck too. –  Donal Fellows Jan 21 '12 at 10:29

Assuming we want to encourage tag wikis to focus on site-specific information about how the tag is used — following the model of the much-loved wiki — perhaps Research Assistant, Cataloguer or Archivist would be appropriate.

This badge could be a very good thing because it might break the chicken-egg cycle of "I don't bother reading tag wikis because there's nothing good in them" and "I'm not going to waste my time writing a tag wiki that will never get read."

That said, I'm still not entirely sure what need tag wikis are supposed to fill. They don't seem to be targeted at newbies: for one thing, the sites are about questions and answers, and tag wikis are obscure and hard to access by comparison; and for another, if I've never used (e.g.) MongoDB, what could a description of how is used on SO possibly offer me? As far as I can tell, the answer is nothing, especially if we're not going to provide general encyclopedia entries.

So we're down to tag wikis being used by people who are already at least somewhat active in the tag. Curiously, the more active a user is in a tag, the less that user is likely to benefit from a "best posts" list (as in the aforementioned wiki). The questions page can be sorted by votes, activity and post time, so the wiki doesn't need to fill that role, and the rep leagues already highlight the top users, so that's out too.

I wish I could end this mini-essay by saying that I've figured out the perfect job for tag wikis to do, but... I haven't. It might be interesting to see a "users who have this tag as a favorite also like X" section, or a "top answerers in this tag also answered questions about Y" list, but those would be sidebars at best.

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Research Assistant is my favorite so far, I was tossing around the idea of "Ghost Writer" but I prefer this, as it leaves room for gold –  waffles Feb 7 '12 at 4:21

The name should be "Wikiwhacker" :) and it should only be one badge, as two badges would be unnecessarily confusing. I don't understand how any diligent editor could not do both the excerpt and the wiki together, anyway.

For a silver badge, it should be awarded at 20 excerpt edits plus 20 wiki edits. (It's merely coincidence that those are my totals in the SEDE. ;) ) This would still only result in about a couple-dozen initial awards out of all the SO users.

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If you want to move away from the Wikipedia connotations in the name, how about something a bit more Stack-Overflowish, like "Five Cs" or "Copy Editor"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyeditor#Overview

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A Copy Editor badge? I could support that. ;) –  Jeremy Banks Jan 19 '12 at 23:27

I'm a sucker for complete series (like bronze/silver/gold badges) for anything so I like this proposal.

  1. We don't really need it. But I'm sure it could attract more wiki writers, so in that view, it will be helpful.
  2. I think 200 edits should be nice for the silver badge. Probably 500 for a gold counterpart.
  3. Both excerpts edits and wiki edits should be counted. But it should be required that at least 40% is either (80 excerpts and 120 wiki is acceptable, but 150 excerpts and 50 wiki not).
  4. Adding information to a tag requires certain specialistic knowledge. So I like to call the badge Sage.

By the way, is it possible to add a page to the 10k tools that helps detecting tags without wiki's? So it's easier to add the missing information?

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I kind of like the idea of "Sage" for a gold version of the badge, will keep it in mind –  waffles Feb 7 '12 at 4:22

As to the tag name, how about Tag Author or Tag Lexicographer?

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Tag wikis contain usually rather short definitions of certain terms. Similar to an encyclopedia.

Encyclopedist:

Noun. A person helping to write an encyclopedia.

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