Sites can be exceptionally good at doing certain things that we like sites to do, such as retaining new users and providing answers to questions that get at least a few up votes quickly. It would be nice if we could recognize this sort of community achievement as a special kind of badge that hangs on a special wall.
A long, long time ago in the kingdom of Cogro, the king's mages were always at work coming up with new ideas. Often, these ideas were great, but remained partially thought through for centuries. The magic Trellopian carpet where these ideas rested began to tire, and an evil benevolent Jaydlesberwocky seized the opportunity to kidnap the ideas with the help of an Abbygale and banish them to a magical cave of wonders, where the only hope of escape was for the mages to actually finish them.
This came out of the cave of wonders (yes, that's an actual Trello board, full of one-winged, thirty-two-fingered faeries (seriously, it looks like Sid's room)) once I came up with some additional implementation criteria, however it's far from being fleshed out sufficiently to be formally proposed. It needs more thinking, badge ideas, caveats, gaming and abuse cases, etc. I like this idea, I don't have enough time to continue developing it, but I'm far enough along that maybe all of you can pick it up.
Here's what I've got:
Sites earn badges for consistently doing awesome things. A special badges-like page is created to hold these community achievement badges, and we find ways to showcase these more in our main list of sites, area 51, etc. In practice, we'd probably have badges that were awarded quarterly and semi-annually, as that would cover the two time frames where consistency in something would be monitored and meaningful.
People that were heavily involved in helping to earn the site badges could get individual badges for it, but that's not the main intent of the idea.
Badges I've come up with so far are:
- Speedy Gonzales (silver) - New questions receive at least one up-voted answer within n minutes on average during a quarter.
- Happy Place (gold) - N percent of new 1 rep users become 500 rep users within a quarter
- Neighborhood Watch (silver/gold) - N percent of all flags from human users are validated as helpful over a quarter/6 month term respectively. Need a name for both.
These of course cold both have silver / gold implementations as well. They should be difficult enough that a concerted, sustained effort would be needed to get them, but not too difficult to earn. They could also be earned multiple times, and we'd show the time frame next to each indicating the period where they applied.
Stuff we want to look for revolves around fulfilling our goal of providing fast, peer-reviewed answers to questions quickly, and user engagement / retention.
Here's what it still needs
- The whole how / where we display these
- Do we also recognize individual contributors that played heavy roles in earning them for everyone? How does that work?
- What do these badges look like? What makes them different? Should we mint them with different metals, buy truck loads of gem stones, or what?
- Do you see aspects where gaming the system might be a problem? How can we make that less of a problem?
- We need more badge ideas at both the silver/gold (or ruby/diamond) level, in particular, badges that have a counterpart in both.
So, mages - have at it. This is your idea now :) Get it ironed out, refined and as uncomplicated as you can, and we'll see what comes of it. Help me rescue the one idea I've got trapped in the cave of wonders that's actually worth rescuing (it's a bit of a strange place).