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After getting as many downvotes as upvotes for an answer of mine, can I at least get a badge? How about an ambivalence badge, awarded where:

abs(net-score) / total # votes < 5%

Other possible names for the badge:

  • audience-splitter
  • love-hate
  • marmite
  • Robin Williams
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How about "Marmite"? – Adamski Jul 28 '10 at 14:25
@Grace - I was not being as self-serving as I had indicated – oxbow_lakes Jul 28 '10 at 14:32
Meh, I don't really care about that sort of badge. – mmyers Jul 28 '10 at 14:34

This has come up multiple times before.

It is simply not appropriate to reward answers like this. Rewards should be designed to encourage desirable behaviour. However, what is the behaviour that is being rewarded here?

Poll questions are also not appropriate. So with that in mind, what is an appropriate question?

It is a question that has a specific, actionable solution. If we have a specific and actionable solution, then people who are not directly involved can read it, test it, and upvote it if it works. This will make the best answer bubble to the top.

For anyone to get this badge in that situation, it means that a significant number of people need to disagree about the technical correctness. So at least 50% of the people would need to be misinformed. Ignorance is not something we want to encourage.

Maybe they're not misinformed, but the answer is unclear. Being vague is something that will cause... y'know, bad stuff.

Maybe it's very clear, but it utilized unorthodox methodology. Unorthodox is unorthodox for a reason, unless there is a very specific need to ignore best practices, it shouldn't be done. If it causes such division amongst the audience, it probably isn't something we want to encourage.

Maybe it's a question of taste and people could fall into either camp. SO is not a forum. It is not a discussion site, it is not a poll site. So again, since we don't want to encourage the questions, we shouldn't be rewarding the answers.

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Similar to What about a polemist badge – devinb Jul 28 '10 at 14:47
I think we should encourage "controversial" posts. Otherwise, we're only encouraging group think. – user27414 Aug 10 '10 at 19:22
@Jon B, This appears to contradict your earlier beliefs that Evan doesn't belong. On the other hand, my answer here also seems to contradict what I said there. Regardless, serious comments deserve serious consideration. This site is based on the concept of community acceptance. That is, the community will bubble the best answers to the top, and the "worst" answers to the bottom. This means that answers which are highly controversial will end up near the bottom. By that measure alone, they are considered 'not desirable'. – devinb Aug 10 '10 at 19:38
@Jon B, but lets consider the actual user. Should the user consider it a "better" answer, if it got twice as many upvotes as any other, but four times as many downvotes. Would that answer be "trusted"? No. It would probably seem very un trustworthy. All that it indicates is that there is disagreement about whether or not the action is a good idea, which almost always indicates that there is a safer option. – devinb Aug 10 '10 at 19:40
@devinb - "there is a safer option" - I'll agree with you in general if we're talking about SO. A controversial programming solution is probably a maintenance nightmare waiting to happen (this is an opinion I have shared on SO before, and taken a fair amount of flak for). I don't feel this way if we're talking about MSO, or perhaps about some SE sites. Sometimes controversy is a good thing. I would hate to only encourage posts with maximum mass appeal (although the voting system basically does do this). – user27414 Aug 10 '10 at 19:55
@Jon B: Fair enough, although, on MSO I've found that if you state a controversial opinion in a fair, unbiased, measured and clear way, you won't get that many downvotes. – devinb Aug 10 '10 at 19:59
@devinb - I've never seen "MSO" and "you won't get that many downvotes" in the same sentence before... :) – user27414 Aug 10 '10 at 20:01
@Jon, maybe I'm doing it wrong. – devinb Aug 10 '10 at 20:10

I think "Controversial" would be a better name.

Having said that, I don't think a post with only 18 votes total (at the time of this writing (thanks, Grace, for pointing out the right post)) is really worth a badge. If it's still evenly split after 100 votes, maybe.

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Yes, I was going to comment that but it seemed obvious (minimum total votes) – juan Jul 28 '10 at 14:35

A question (or answer) likely to achieve this criteria is equally, if not more likely to be extremely subjective in the first place. I don't think that's something we really want to encourage.

A reversed reversal badge might be interesting, for instance if a question or answer receives 20 down votes then 30 up votes (or some similar ratio) it might be called a "Phoenix". A case in point might be where someone argues a part of a standard, gets down voted heavily, finds actual references that backs up the answer (proving it correct) and then gets heavily up voted. That's happened several times in the C/C++ tags.

Still, as is, I think it encourages potentially obnoxious behavior.

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Can we have an ambivalence badge?


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This has 1 upvote, and 1 downvote. – Andrew Grimm Nov 26 '10 at 10:03

In addition to other objections, such a badge would be likely to go away.

In other words, if a bunch of other people come and vote your answer up, you no longer meet the badge's criteria.

The SO team tries to avoid such badges.

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A lot of the badges are badges which you could easily lose. [Autobiographer],[Civic Duty],[Critic],[Disciplined],[Electorate],[Englightened],[Favorite Question],[Generalist],[Good Answer],[Good Question],[Great answer],[Great Question],[Guru],[Necromancer],[Nice Answer],[Nice Question],[Peer Pressure],[Populist],[Reversal],[Scholar],[Self-Learner],[Stellar Question],[Student],[Supporter],[Taxonimist],[Teacher],[Tenacious],[Unsung Hero] – devinb Jul 28 '10 at 17:04
@devinb: Deletions and cancelled votes don't count. (They're not so likely) – SLaks Aug 10 '10 at 16:21

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