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I understand that the Fanatic and Enthusiast badges can only be attained once, as various questions on the MSO have been asked about it (like this one and this one). However, I haven't found any answer as to why this is the case.

Is it not beneficial to Stack Overflow to incentivize constant traffic, even after the first straight 100 days? It seems as though this would be one more thing which motivates users to keep returning to the website (and, in the process, hopefully providing some quality content or edits), and anything that keeps a website on its users minds is good, sheerly from a business standpoint.

I know there is a general feeling amongst a part of the community that the Fanatic badge is basically just a cheap way of getting a gold badge and should be either removed, demoted, or have modified credentials. However, as a Stack Overflow user, I know that when I was attempting to earn that badge, I would be certain that I wouldn't miss a day of logging in, especially in the last 15-20 days, for fear of losing that streak. And while I was on the page, I'd glance around at anything needing review or questions needing answers, and I'd like to think that I added at least a little value.

I'm not implying, of course, that my own experience is categorical or applies across the board. However, is it truly such a bad thing to add an extra motivator for increased site traffic? If so, why? The only real answer I could think of is that it would somehow devalue having a gold badge, but having multiple, consecutive 100 day periods of logging in would take too long to earn to actually deflate the "badge market" that much.

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18  
Don't you realize that after the first 30 days of daily presence they have you hooked? Get out while you can. NOW! RUN! –  Martijn Pieters Nov 22 '12 at 17:03
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@MartijnPieters 70 days, and an open-source clone of Minecraf t easily unhooks me. Not a valid premise due to counterexample. –  hexafraction Nov 24 '12 at 21:35
    
Would this mean that four Enthusiast badges are worth more than one Fanatic badge? We'd need an exchange rate system for them. –  Michael Kjörling Dec 21 '13 at 21:58

5 Answers 5

up vote 16 down vote accepted
+100

I don't really see a need for the badge to be awarded more than once. The whole idea of the Enthusiast and Fanatic badges are to help get you in the habit of visiting the site regularly.

When I got the Fanatic badge on Stack Overflow, it actually took me a couple times to get it, since on day 73 I let UTC time confuse me and I missed a day. So I actually spent a lot more time trying to get the badge.

One thing about these badges is that they get you to participate more. Eventually, after visiting the site for X number of days, you eventually see something you're really interested in answering, and you answer it. Or you come across a post that really needs editing, so you edit it. Or you find that a comment is needed somewhere. In short, most people who visit the site everyday eventually start actively participating.

If you've earned the Enthusiast badge or even the Fanatic badge, Stack Overflow will gain nothing more by counting how many consecutive days you've visited. At this point, you're actively contributing, even if you're not just pressing F5 on the home page every day.

The thing about badges is that each one of them has some sort of goal behind them. Each badge is designed to encourage a specific behavior to help benefit the site. Encouraging things that people are already doing really isn't worth the implementation time. If the point of a badge is just to show off your addiction to Stack Exchange, then that badge exists for the wrong reasons.

I see you already have the Fanatic badge, so now it's time to focus on something different. How else can you contribute to Stack Overflow in a positive manner? Maybe you post a great question or great answer, or maybe you seek to improve the quality of the existing Q&A. There are many ways to help improve Stack Overflow, and staying laser focused on just how often you visit will take focus off of the other ways to improve. Good luck!

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Thank you. :) This is the kind of answer I was looking for. Good reasoning. –  Jeff Gohlke Nov 24 '12 at 19:00
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Yup - good point about the behaviour - if you haven't started contributing to the site in 100 consecutive days of visiting, getting more badges isn't going to change that, so it would serve no purpose. –  AndrewC Nov 24 '12 at 21:22

Counter-proposal:

Instead of getting additional Fanatic badges, the system should lock you out for a week every time you reach 100 consecutive days. A mandatory break of sorts.

Badges are supposed to award positive behaviour, and while a single run of 100 consecutive days is probably a good thing (not so sure it is, to be honest), addiction is certainly not something the system should encourage.

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Interesting point. I agree with your stance on encouraging addiction. But it seems to me that people with personalities lending themselves towards addiction (like mine) will already be hooked and snared by the reputation system itself. Just look at Martijn Peters! –  Jeff Gohlke Nov 22 '12 at 17:18
    
Also, perhaps it would be more reasonable for the site to lock you out from earning reputation, or halving the reputation you earn, rather than completely banning you. That seems like just another extreme. –  Jeff Gohlke Nov 22 '12 at 17:20
    
StackAddicts - the new app to lock you out every 100 consecutive days.... Sounds like a new project for StackApps. BTW what happened to your face! ;) –  jmort253 Nov 23 '12 at 1:11
    
I've only been here a month and a half and already I'm getting the shakes when I take a break from the compulsive rep farming. –  Asad Nov 24 '12 at 20:22

By the time you've reached and passed the 100 days, it's too late. You have been made dependent on your daily dose of +200 reputation points as you gun for the Legendary badge anyway.

Don't believe me? This is me:

594 and counting

My advise: Run away. Don't walk, run. Fast. NOW!

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Well, unfortunately, the average user probably doesn't have the time to gain 20 upvotes on answers per day, so I'm not sure this is a reasonable step up or transition. :) But I may just take your advice and start running! –  Jeff Gohlke Nov 22 '12 at 17:12
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While 20 upvotes is not a requirement to reach 200+ points (accepted answers count too!), the urgency of my advice to start running is not lessened in any way by that fact. –  Martijn Pieters Nov 22 '12 at 17:30
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I know how you feel.. i.imgur.com/ouI0KEX.png –  Jeroen Vannevel Dec 21 '13 at 20:58
    
I'm creeping up there. :) i.stack.imgur.com/fJJMS.png –  jmort253 Dec 21 '13 at 21:28
    
1671 consecutive days for me. Is it too late? Don't answer that. –  VonC Dec 23 '13 at 9:21
    
@VonC: I present to you, your ranking on the overall Stack Overflow leader board. I rest my case. –  Martijn Pieters Dec 23 '13 at 9:27

Simple. If you could get a Fanatic badge for each 100 days, Stack Exchange would be liable for the loss of life.

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OK I've just got this badge on SO (member for 101 days), 101 consecutive, and I feel free! I can miss a day if I like.

Trouble is, I don't like. There might be some perfect question - someone who doesn't get something and the other answerers haven't spotted why yet. I could write a really clear and helpful answer, solving their problem but also pointing them to deeper learning. I could get another good answer badge or even enlightened.

Please don't imprison me by offering more login badges. you don't need to anyway, I'm really very hooked.

Please, please don't devalue my contribution by changing how I earn rep.

StackOverflow is the best puzzle-based computer game in the world, ever, nothing comes close.

Yes I have a bit of a problem, but please don't make it worse. I'm trying not to go for 10k rep, but I can see it's reaiistic, ad I think it's inevitable that I'll try. I admit I want a golden tag badge, so I'll have to get 10k first. I got to the top 90 days answerer in my favourite tag. I don't know how I'm going to react when I slip down. Some of those guys are awesome, truly awesome, so I'll have to work hard. SO is awesome. Please make it stop. Please make it never stop. Can I go to sleep now?

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Welcome into my world ;) With Jeff's proposal, I would have 12 fanatic badges by now. –  VonC Nov 25 '12 at 19:34
    
@VonC Thanks for the support, and [checks VonC's SO profile] wow. –  AndrewC Nov 25 '12 at 20:06

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