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I've been running a publicist badge experiment lately.

I think it is safe to say that there is a strong benefit to sharing most of the questions.

However, is it worthwhile to reward users for sharing gimmicky closed questions like "What's your favorite programmer cartoon?"

Is there a net benefit to the site, or does it bring people to the site in the wrong way?

I think the answer is: probably not worth it. They probably shouldn't count towards sharing badges. As it stands, there is an incentive to share such questions because they are indeed very interesting to many.

Edit

  • There may be another category of questions that shouldn't apply, such as some locked questions. What is your best programmer joke?
  • This experiment involved rapidly sharing questions on relevant subreddits and hacker news. This lasted about 9 days and was enough to generate some backlash from reddit. I do not recommend sharing questions in this matter, especially over a prolonged period, as it can impact other communities' views of SO in a negative way.
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Nice, I love publicist experiments ;) –  Yannis Feb 14 '13 at 5:15
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It's even possible to get a badge for questions that have been migrated off the site entirely. Use the original share URL from Stack Overflow and you'll get the badge on Stack Overflow, even if the question is now on a different site. (For example, I earned a Publicist badge on Stack Overflow one year ago for a question that was migrated to Programmers two years ago.) I believe you could get the badge for any deleted question if you could somehow convince enough people to click on it. –  Jeremy Banks Feb 14 '13 at 5:17
    
@JeremyBanks Wow, now that is some trivia. Nice –  user133440 Feb 14 '13 at 5:18

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