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This is an incentive for new users to put some thought and effort into learning how the site works and how to be productive, before posting their first question.

There should be three badges for this, and a page describing the badges and how to get them should be prominently featured when a new user logs in for the first time. All of this is negotiable, obviously, but here are my off-the-cuff suggestions for the requirements:

The Novice Badge (Bronze)

  • User is registered
  • User post two questions with no closed posts and no deletions, and receives at least one answer to one of the questions.

The Apprentice Badge (Silver)

In addition to the Bronze Requirements:

  • User posts three answers with no post deletions.
  • User achieves 50 rep and posts their first comment with no flags.

The Professional badge (Gold)

In addition to the Silver Requirements:

  • User achieves 100 rep with answers, with no post deletions.
  • User raises accept rate above zero.
  • User votes up three posts.

Badges should be retroactive.

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1  
Declined flags don't count. –  Robert Harvey Aug 25 '12 at 4:30
    
I don't like the flags requirement since moderators are encouraged to dismiss flags as helpful. Also, there would be no way for a user to know if there ever was a flag deemed helpful on one of their posts, and I'm sure we'd start getting tons of Meta questions for "why didn't I get this badge?" –  animuson Aug 25 '12 at 4:33
    
So you prefer judging by votes and deletions? –  Robert Harvey Aug 25 '12 at 4:35
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That would make sense. Chances are if that flag was really that important, it would result in a closure or deletion anyways. No? –  animuson Aug 25 '12 at 4:36
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Analytical Badge : Visited Each Section of FAQ. –  Lucifer Aug 25 '12 at 4:38
    
"User post two questions with no close votes and no flags, and receives at least one answer." --> Why receive at least one answer? –  nhahtdh Aug 25 '12 at 4:43
    
@nhahtdh: Because its possible to ask obscure questions that never get any attention. –  Robert Harvey Aug 25 '12 at 4:43
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Gold badges are supposed to be difficult to get. That gold badge seems like it should be a bronze badge. (Compare to: Nice Answer.) As for Novice: FAQ-reading already has the Analytical badge. So perhaps combine Novice into Apprentice, make that bronze, and make Professional either much more difficult (on par with the rest) or a silver badge. –  U2744 SNOWFLAKE Aug 25 '12 at 4:49
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I agree about the motivation for this, but the execution (details of the badges) feels a bit wrong, for some reason. –  nhahtdh Aug 25 '12 at 4:52
    
I'm not invested in any of the details. Feel free to suggest something better. –  Robert Harvey Aug 25 '12 at 5:02
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I don't really see the point of all this. "Good" users will have read the docs. "Bad" users won't even know about (or care about really) the badges any more than they know about the rest of the stuff from the FAQ right now. (And what about new users that only answer questions?) –  Mat Aug 25 '12 at 5:30

2 Answers 2

I think this idea has a fundamental flaw: new users who start participating by asking questions don't care about badges. They care only to have their questions answered. Badges only come later, once they start playing the game. If they ever do (not everyone does).

How do i parse html in java script in my android with regular expression plzsendtehcodez its urgent....... Whats a badges???

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I want to edit that.. Grr –  jokerdino Aug 25 '12 at 15:01
    
You're absolutely right that it won't change anyone's behavior. On the other hand it is a little bit of recognition for those users that exhibit good general netiquite in so far as doing their homework before joining a new online community. And seeing as how badges are even less valuable the rep maybe that is motivation enough at least for bronze and silver level badges. –  dmckee Aug 25 '12 at 17:09

I think this complements Select from list of reasons when performing downvotes. The idea is encouraging new users to become productive without remarks that might seems snarky to a new user saying "Go read this" or seeing feedback that effectively says "you are asking bad questions".

I tend to browse meta every once in a while and I am shocked to see the number of people who ask "why was this question deleted" or "why can I no longer ask questions". We can fix that by encouraging people to read the FAQ and some of the important posts here on meta, but if you give new users easy milestones to say "you are doing a good job", it might be helpful and make them want to become invested in the site.

So easy milestones and incentives should be encouraged. Not sure I like the Gold and Silver badge criteria as they seem too easy. Borrowing Robert Harvey's original names and basic idea, I suggest something similar but more like:

The Novice Badge (Bronze)

  • User is registered
  • User post two questions with no closed posts and no deletions, and receives at least one answer to one of the questions.
  • User has a non-negative score on all questions asked (edited from original)

The Apprentice Badge (Silver)

In addition to the Bronze Requirements:

  • User achieves 100 rep with questions and answers, with no post deletions.
  • User raises accept rate above 25%. (above 0% seems too easy)
  • User votes up ten posts.

The Professional badge (Gold)

In addition to the Silver Requirements:

  • User achieves 1000 rep with questions, answers, and suggested edits, with minimal post deletions
  • User asks and answers separate questions on meta
  • User votes up 100 posts (edited from original)

I removed the "no post deletions" from the gold badge as I think you are going to have some self-deletions if you hang around long enough to get to the rep milestone (usually 2 people who post absolutely identical answers at close to the same time).

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1  
"User has a positive score on all questions asked". Assuming they noticed that the badges existed won't this just encourage gangs of newbies to go round voting each other up? How about "a non-negative score" instead? –  ben is uǝq backwards Aug 25 '12 at 6:59
    
@Ben I almost edited the answer to say exactly that about 2 minutes after I posted it. I have no problem with that one –  psubsee2003 Aug 25 '12 at 7:01
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I agree that a Gold badge should be harder to achieve, but a problem here is that you likely already earned other badges for these actions (like getting your meta post upvoted). That makes it close to a badge-badge, a prize for getting the most prizes. –  Bo Persson Aug 25 '12 at 10:00
    
Also, I have a feeling that this gold batch would be very easy to obtain, and most likely come before any of the "serious" badges. I'm very happy that my own first gold batch was a "real" one ("C++"), and not a "fill-your-name-in-correctly" badge like Fanatic (which I only got later on). Having the proposed gold batch would make it nigh impossible to get a serious badge before that one. –  Kerrek SB Aug 25 '12 at 12:49
    
@KerrekSB that's a good point. I don't actually have real gold badge myself (just Fanatic), so the more easy to obtain ones that exist, the more it cheapens the real ones. I'm not married to the idea of the gold badge (or the other badges either). It could easily be another silver or just get rid of the 3rd step in this badge. –  psubsee2003 Aug 25 '12 at 13:52

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