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I would like to propose that some received badges are automatically added to all the SE profiles. I'm talking about badges that reward the user for making use of/exploring some of the SE features. For example, the purpose of the Cleanup badge is to reward the first-time use of the rollback option. After performing the rollback and receiving the badge, I'm now aware of this functionality and others can view my profile and see that I'm aware of it.

Receiving this badge again on another SE-site doesn't feel like a reward, but not having this badge on my profile looks awkward as it seems that I don't know about the basic usage of SE-sites. So I might be inclined to do rollbacks on all my SE-sites just for the sake of showing the badge.

I argue that this functionality could be applied to some 'first time' badges, like: Cleanup, Editor, Citizen Patrol and maybe also Supporter, Critic, Student, Teacher and Organizer.

An argument could be made, saying: "These badges indicate the involvement of the user on this particular SE site, so they shouldn't be automatically awarded". I agree, but I see these trivial badges as analogous to the 100 rep you get on all SE sites when reaching 200 rep on one SE-site.

Users having 101 rep on a SE site which they rarely visit doesn't show their gained trust/expertise in that particular SE-site either, and only shows their involvement in some other SE-site (thereby freeing them from some trivial first-time SE-site usage phases). Similarly, users having the suggested badges on all SE-sites doesn't show their activity on that particular SE-site, but it does show that the user is aware of the functionalities of SE and it frees him/her from having the achieve them again.

** EDIT **

From the comments and answers, it seems that my main point is missed. I argue that some of the suggested badges (most notably Cleanup, Editor and Citizen Patrol) mainly have a informative role, by rewarding the user for using features of SE, instead of a Q&A role, i.e. rewarding the user for participating in the direct Q&A process. Once the user has been informed, there won't be any value in rewarding the user again with this badge. Hence I suggest that this badge is automatically added to all the SE profiles of this user.

** EDIT 2 **

I see that many people dislike this proposal, which is fine, but I haven't yet seen any good reasons for disliking it. Thus, I'm not convinced that it doesn't make any sense. So here is another edit to prove my point.

Jeff Atwood succinctly described the benefit of badges, saying that

..badges encourage new behaviors that are both positive for the community and for the user.

Notice the focus on 'new'. This can be interpreted in two ways. Lets use the roll back example again:

  1. Rolling back on each SE-site is considered as a positive new behavior for both the community and the user.
  2. The very first time a user performs a roll back on any SE-site is considered as a positive new behavior for both the community and the user.

I favor the 2nd view, which makes more sense to me, because it is a new positive behavior for both the community and the user. In the 1st case, I think that the rollback is neither new for the community nor for the user.

In the 1st view, the user performed a rollback before so it is not new for him/her. I interpret community as SE community, so it is not a new behavior for the SE community either. If you view each SE-site as a separate community (i.e., a user performing a rollback for the first time on a specific SE-site is considered as positive new behavior for the community), then still it doesn't hold as Jeff specifies that both the behavior should be positive for both the community and the user. Only one scenario is left: If also you think that a user rolling back on each specific SE-site should be considered as new positive behavior for the user, then Jeff's definition holds and you could disagree with my proposal.

So to be clear, I think that at least for the user, rolling back on each site is not a new behavior, thus it doesn't qualify for receiving a badge and to overcome this the Cleanup badge should be awarded to all the profiles of the user once the user performs his/her very first rollback on a SE-site..

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What's the point of a badge if everyone has it? –  ben is uǝq backwards Jul 13 '12 at 12:59
    
@Ben, First of all, not everyone has the badge. Secondly, this measure would indeed slightly decrease the value of bronze badges, which in my opinion is a good thing, because the suggested bronze badges (especially Cleanup, Editor and Citizen Patrol) are quite different from the other bronze badges. In my opinion they have an informative role (i.e., teaching users how to use the site), while most bronze badges have some kind of Q&A merit attached to them. –  Sicco Jul 13 '12 at 13:41
    
If you believe your proposal devalues badges, why are you worried about getting them on all of your accounts in the first place? Badges are not the point of the site, and obtaining them shouldn't be your goal. –  meagar Jul 13 '12 at 17:07
    
@meagar, this is not about me, I like badges, but I'm not hoarding them. I sense a weird anti-badge/stats behaviour though with you and 'ManishEarth wants more'. One of the reasons why SE works is through gamification. Both rep and the badges are part of that system. My proposal makes the system more logical in my opinion, that is why I propose it. –  Sicco Jul 14 '12 at 9:51

2 Answers 2

I disagree.

Badges show active participation on a site. The 101 reputation you get to relieve you of the beginner restrictions is indicative of your overall SE participation.

Take, for example, I'm also a member of Japanese.SE. I don't actively ask questions or answer questions, so I have no badges. If it weren't for the association bonus, I would have 1 reputation.

Why do I deserve a badge for doing nothing there?

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I'm arguing for specific badges that focus on the users knowledge of SE, which is applicable to all SE-sites. –  Sicco Jul 13 '12 at 13:15
    
I don't see any that do. The badges apply individually and distinctly to every site. I mean, a Teacher badge on Stackoverflow isn't the same as a Teacher badge on LyX isn't the same as a Teacher badge on Japanese.SE; they all require different levels of expertise. –  Makoto Jul 13 '12 at 13:34
    
I wasn't rooting for the Teacher badge as much as I am rooting for the Cleanup and Editor badges. How does rolling back on one site show your involvement in that particular site. I interpret the main function of that badge to be an encouragement for users to explore the SE functionality. –  Sicco Jul 13 '12 at 13:35
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Rolling back and/or editing require a minimum level of participation with that site. There's really no point to giving that badge to everyone if they're not willing to participate in the first place. –  Makoto Jul 13 '12 at 13:38
    
I agree that there is a tiny bit of participation involved in these badges, but this doesn't compare to their intended use of teaching new users about the SE features. –  Sicco Jul 13 '12 at 13:43
    
To someone that's used SE for a while, perhaps. However, it really doesn't change my sentiment that one should participate within the site to earn badges. –  Makoto Jul 13 '12 at 13:50

An argument could be made, saying: "These badges indicate the involvement of the user on this particular SE site, so they shouldn't be automatically awarded". I agree, but I see these trivial badges as analogous to the 100 rep you get on all SE sites when reaching 200 rep on one SE-site.

The 100 rep is so that you get most of the basic privileges on the site that you should be trusted to use.

So I might be inclined to do rollbacks on all my SE-sites just for the sake of showing the badge.

Eh, don't get hooked up on badges. Unless they're gold badges. Then you fight tooth and nail for them ;-)

Note that most people don't even notice the badges, and if they do, it's the badge count that is noticed--not the actual badges. And nobody gives much thought to them.

Similarly, users having the suggested badges on all SE-sites doesn't show their activity on that particular SE-site, but it does show that the user is aware of the functionalities of SE and it frees him/her from having the achieve them again.

Yes, many of these badges are for exploring the features, but I feel that it's better if they are kept separate. They do, as you said, indicate some interest in the site.


And another thing. This may lead to badge inflation. The badge count on your flair will have (gasp) a decreased value! For example, on my current(frozen) flair:

enter image description here

I have 181 bronze badges. There are 89 sites on the network currently. (90 if you count area51--but it has different badges so I won't). Count metas, and there are 89+87=176. Now, many of these badges haven't been that easy to get (namely the nice question/nice answer badges). Now, if, say, we didn't count the meta badges and we flooded five beginner badges, my bronze badge count would go to 626. You can easily see why I call this inflation--the badges are worth less now (not that they were worth much anyway).

(Though inflation is pretty irrelevant, like I said the badge count isn't important)

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Good point about the flair inflation, but this is easily solved, again analogous to the association bonus. Your flair only counts rep from SE site where you have 200+ rep. So similarly, these badges could not be taken into account. –  Sicco Jul 13 '12 at 13:17

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