Getting answers is reward enough for asking questions.
Even then, Stack Overflow was getting more than enough questions, so it didn't make much sense to incentivize more questions.
This accepted Meta answer lists the badges that can be earned by asking quality questions. (There are at least 8). But looking at the list of recent Great Questions, it looks more like a list of old and popular questions. These badges are difficult to come by in the first place, and they're much harder to earn on sites like History even though there are some high-quality questions on that site.
It turns out that there's a higher barrier to ask a question on sites other than Stack Overflow. We optimize for pearls, but we still need plenty of oysters. The Student bronze badge is awarded for the first upvoted1 answer. There are no equivalent gold or silver badges. Therefore, I'd like to propose the following:
- Student—Asked first question with score of 1 or more
- Sophomore—Asked 10 questions with score of 1 or more
- Socrates—Asked 50 questions with score of 1 or more
Do you have any suggestions of better names/levels?
To give you an idea of how many of these badges would be awarded, I wrote a query. The results2 for the original trilogy:
users gold silver bronze none Site Name ------- ---- ------ ------ ------- --------- 3000344 7127 67713 805778 2194566 Stack Overflow 235053 115 1698 53073 181980 Super User 156773 53 1191 40063 116710 Server Fault
5545 1 18 917 4628 Philosophy 4032 4 41 802 3230 History 5663 3 28 917 4746 Parenting
Several older sites would get none at all:
5778 null 29 1063 4715 Quantitative Finance 7884 null 20 927 6957 Project Management 4333 null 17 1630 2703 Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
These smaller sites get at most 5 questions a day. I suspect that a gold or silver badge would encourage site regulars to increase that number without sacrificing quality. Certainly the requirement for those questions to stay in positive territory would prevent a person from flooding the site3 with terrible questions in order to get the badge.
1. The original spec didn't consider voting at all for Student and Teacher.
2. Your results will vary from mine since I'm looking at slightly newer data. The bronze badge count also differs from the number of Student badges because the badge isn't revoked when a user's question is later downvoted or deleted.
3. There is a potential problem with cookie-cutter or variation-on-a-theme questions. However, I think the typical tools for closing and deleting questions will prevent people from gaming the system for these badges.