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Just to add another layer of make-believe "awards" to the existing reputation and badges, I thought it might be interesting to have something that is transient, based on ranked performance over a given time period (call them what you like, but I'll refer to them as trophies for the rest of this post).

To put it another way, have trophies that would be awarded to the user who has performed "best" based on a given set of conditions over say a week. That user would then hold that trophy for the week, but would (potentially) lose it to another user the following week as the rankings change.

So for example you could have:

  1. Sage - User who posts the most accepted answers in a week
  2. Most Improved - User who gains the most reputation in a week relative to their total reputation
  3. Collector - User who is awarded the most unique badges in a week
  4. Overflowed - User who has spent the most time on the site in a week (not sure if you can measure this, but it could be most views, most votes, etc)
  5. Philosopher - User who asks the question with the most upvotes (or question with the most answers, or most questions) in a given week
  6. Quick Draw - User who answers a question (and gets accepted) the fastest in a given week
  7. Paramedic - User who brings the oldest question in a given week back to life, by answering it (and getting accepted)

To make sure super-users (like Jon Skeet) don't just constantly have all of them, you could include one or all of the following:

  1. Only allow any given user to hold one trophy at a time
  2. Only allow a user to hold a given trophy once ever (or once a month/year/etc)
  3. Make it so that any user who has already held a given trophy needs to do exponentially more to gain it again (eg. with the Collector - userA has 10 badges in a week & userB has 9, userA wins, but the following week, userA gets a 20% handicap, meaning if userA got 10 again & userB got 9 again, userB would win since 10*0.8 < 9)

Note: you could also get a badge to indicate/prove that you once held a given trophy.

I guess I better make this a question... So what do you think? Stupid idea? Good idea? Really stupid idea? Good idea, but would take too much dev time, so a low priority? Suggestions for other trophies?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think we need to be careful with badges. While they are useful to encourage good behaviour, if you're not careful winning the badge becomes more important than the behaviour.

As an example take the Civic Duty and Skunk & White badges. When I started here (OK on SO) I knew those badges existed but achieving them seemed a distant goal. As time progressed and I started voting (& editing when I had enough rep) they started getting nearer.

As I approached the 300 votes I started hitting my vote cap as I was actively looking for posts to vote on. I only voted for posts I would have voted for in normal circumstances but I actively sought them out rather than just stumbling across them in the normal course of events. Once I achieved the badge my voting fell back to its previous behaviour. A graph would show this peak. The same applies to my edits, start of sporadic, hit a peak just before the badge and then drop down again.

Now you might say that I should be voting/editing at the higher level all the time - but I should be doing other things other than hanging out on SO/MSO & that amount of voting/editing takes time.

So what I'm trying to say is that too many badges might distort people's usage of the site to the detriment of the site. So while we should consider new rewards we should consider all the possible outcomes.

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Excellent points... I'm going to accept your "answer" because although my personal opinion was along the lines of the other answers (i.e. vaguely fun idea, but way too much effort/complexity for little benefit), I think you've given a concrete reason not to do it. Adding too much to the "meta-game" has too much potential to change user behaviour to the detriment of the quality of the answers (or at the very least lower the signal to noise ratio). –  Alconja Jul 3 '09 at 0:46

The Monthly reputation league UV ticket was closed recently after the tag stats were introduced. Cool setup you have there though.

I think benefit vs work required is quit minimal though.

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Gut reaction: sounds like a lot of complexity for relatively little benefit.

I can see the attraction of the general idea, but I don't know that it's got enough going for it to be worth the effort. For one thing, where would these be displayed? There's already a lot of information in the user flair (think of newbies seeing this!) so you'd probably want to have it just on the user profile page... in which case who's going to see it?

I don't mean to sound too negative - it does sound interesting - but I just don't really think it's worth it.

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Agreed; as you've already noted, we need to help the people with questions more than the people who are already addicted... –  Marc Gravell Jul 2 '09 at 8:02
    
That was my gut feel also, but I just thought I'd throw it out there –  Alconja Jul 3 '09 at 0:26

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