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Adding incentive for editing
Let me reward a good edit on my question/answer

Hello, I notice a few times that there will be a horribly phrased question on SO that some saint of a user with edit privileges will through, read the question and somehow figure out exactly what the person meant and take the question from -5 votes to +5 votes because now other people can actually understand the (good) question.

Should there be a badge for this kind of thing? I'm lost on how it would actually work though. I mean, what if another user comes along and edits the question when again when it is at -2. Which user would get the badge?

What are your ideas on it? I really think it'd be nice to have a badge for really good edits on questions though.... But I'm not quite sure how it could best be accomplished.

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marked as duplicate by Shog9, ChrisF, Adam Davis, Ether, Andreas Bonini Mar 30 '10 at 21:59

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

And it should be called [shog9]. – mmyers Mar 30 '10 at 20:26
Near-duplicate: – Jon Seigel Mar 30 '10 at 20:31
IIRC, this has been asked before, and deemed too complicated to implement. – Dominic Rodger Mar 30 '10 at 20:32
@Jon, no, rep for editing is taking it too far.. I mean, sure we got the strunk badge for so many edits, but sometimes you just wanna comment and say "Dude, I edited your question and thats why you have upvotes" – Earlz Mar 30 '10 at 20:33
Should there be a badge for downvoting silly (or any, haven't we got enough) ideas for badges? – nb69307 Mar 30 '10 at 20:34
@earlz: The top voted answer in that question mentions that this idea has been discussed before and declined. So I'm assuming there is a duplicate of this question somewhere, I just can't find it. – Jon Seigel Mar 30 '10 at 20:34

Hmm... I like the idea, but I agree that it'd be difficult to implement and adjudicate, so I won't be ensaddenated if it's rejected.

If it's implemented, there are two options that I see at the moment:

  1. The badge is awarded to one user for any one single edit that adjusts the score from (at maximum) -3 to (at minimum) +5. If an edit occurs at any point during the score swing (at say, 3) then no badge is awarded, even if the score eventually rises to more than +5 (or whatever is the decided upon minimum). This option would be a silver badge.
  2. The badge is awarded to all editors who contributed to the question at any point during the rise from the maximum bad score to the minimum good score. This option would be a bronze badge.

I obviously favor the first implementation.

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Hmm, I'm now seeing the upside to this suggestion. This could encourage people not to simply vote "not a real question" when it's just poorly phrased (or ESL). That's the only kind of question that I ever see get -3. – mmyers Mar 30 '10 at 20:52
Interesting... I'm leaning toward #1 (it'd pretty much have to be limited to significant rep reversals that occur after a single edit (or a consecutive series of edits by a user who isn't the author) or it'd become meaningless). And frankly, really specific badges like that kinda make me uneasy... But as mmyers notes, it could provide a useful incentive. – Shog9 Mar 30 '10 at 21:04
I think #1 is fair enough. The problem of course being that people commonly edit questions to correct very minor typos. What if your edit had a typo so someone changed it when it went from -5 to -3(rising). Now the other person fixing the very minor typo gets a silver badge for nothing. Maybe a character count or something would also have to be enforced? – Earlz Mar 30 '10 at 21:11
@earlz: That's (one of the reasons) why it'd be difficult to adjudicate. I'd have to say if there are more than one edit at the low end that eventually results in a rep rise, it'd have to be either last-in wins or no badge awarded at all. – Randolpho Mar 30 '10 at 21:22
@earlz: yeah, this is where it starts getting too complex to be realistic (and why previous suggestions to this effect have gone nowhere). If it's simple, then it can be abused, and if it's not, then it's hard to implement reliably (and can also be abused, with a bit more creativity). In this case, I think you'd have to limit the badge to posts with only two authors, where the original author brought down the score and the second brought it back up again - any other editing would make the post ineligible. And this alone (discouraging editing) might be reason enough to avoid the whole thing. – Shog9 Mar 30 '10 at 21:26
I am upvoting this purely for the use of the word "ensaddenated" – Jeff Atwood Mar 30 '10 at 21:49
I'm engladdenated by your upvote, @Jeff Atwood. – Randolpho Mar 30 '10 at 22:01

One issue I see with this, is determining whether the resulting question expresses what the original questioner wanted, or is just a better written question that has little to do with the original intent.

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See also: – mmyers Mar 30 '10 at 20:37
Excellent point; intent is the real problem here. And edits of intent frequently result in a short flameout here. – Randolpho Mar 30 '10 at 21:10
@mmyers Meta: where reputation translates into how many memes you can create. – Earlz Mar 30 '10 at 21:12

While the SO system is pretty good at counting things (with apologies to those whose rep was recently recalculated), I'm not so sure that it is good at inferring causality. For example, question is heavily downvoted becase the OP makes a critical mistake (e.g., types "I love Microsoft" instead of "I love Apple" :-0). Several people downvote it due to their prejudices. Steve Jobs comes along later and changes "Microsoft" to "Apple" because it's obvious from the rest of the post (it's on an iPhone question) that's what the OP really meant. Meanwhile, Chuck Norris comments that platform prejudice has no place on SO, tweets to that effect -- including a link to the question, and the question zooms to 1000's of upvotes.

Who gets the badge? The guy who changed a single word or the guy who moved public opinion?

I think it's hard to tell what causes people to change their votes or to vote one way instead of another. A single influential comment may have more effect than any number of edits. A post referring to the question on meta can sometimes have a dramatic effect. If the badge was implemented (and I cared to get it), I'd certainly want to follow on my edit with a post on meta about how evil it was that people were voting the question down before my edit. While I would agree that editing can sometimes make a dramatic difference, I'm hesitant to view it as the determining factor for every such reversal.

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