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UPDATE

Most comments supporting the badge seem to center on some perceived rewarding of favourable behaviour. I submit to you that there is no such correlation (badge recipient and favourable behaviour).

Here is some data I mined from SEDE. The queries take parameters (year/month) but the data tabled here is for November 2010, having excluded tags with less than 10 questions in the month.

(The site average is 21.96% [answers with 0-votes among all answers in the tag])

Tags view count percentile Rate_of_zero_score_answers Max_viewcount_per_tag 
-------------------------- -------------------------- --------------------- 
0 to 5%                         28.00                 766                   
5 to 10%                        26.72                 886                   
10 to 15%                       24.95                 975                   
15 to 20%                       24.14                 1086                  
20 to 25%                       22.92                 1205                  
25 to 30%                       26.50                 1313                  
30 to 35%                       25.22                 1412                  
35 to 40%                       25.75                 1554                  
40 to 45%                       25.18                 1725                  
45 to 50%                       26.74                 1909                  
50 to 55%                       23.10                 2153                  
55 to 60%                       24.61                 2414                  
60 to 65%                       24.44                 2772                  
65 to 70%                       23.94                 3314                  
70 to 75%                       24.61                 4105                  
75 to 80%                       21.53                 5323                  
80 to 85%                       21.83                 7025                  
85 to 90%                       23.48                 9944                  
90 to 95%                       20.69                 15779                 
95 to 100%                      20.85                 462672     

This means that on average, all things being equal statistically, anyone with a healthy number of questions should have a tenacious badge (set at 20%) in hand! If you answer exclusively in the tags where the view count (not question count) sits in the bottom half (after pre-excluding tags with less than 10 questions per month; but do avoid the 10th to 25th percentile), you have a fair chance of getting Unsung hero (25% answers with 0-votes).

I leave the original text of this question below.


I reckon it is Unsung Hero. Maybe a tie between this and Copy Editor, but the requirements are a bit different.

This is the badge that possibly requires the least amount of work. All you need to do is to know that such a badge exists, and to have some friends. The requirement is at least 40 answered questions, with 10 (25%) of them at 0 votes. So once you hit about 34 or so questions, at the current rate of 0-vote accepted answers (pulling statistics from the air) you should have around 4 or 5 0-vote answers. This is where your friends come into play.. [edit - It is not so easy to game after all.. only accepted answers older than 10 days are considered so back to collecting 4-leaf clovers to make this badge (you can still do it using very obscure tags..)

On the flip-side, it is impossible to "earn" this badge. You either game the system to get the badge (see previous point), or you have to be extremely lucky. The longer you have been on an SE site, the luckier you have to be. Even if you went to low volume tags and answered a question, there may be someone who just happens to drive by and vote on your answer. You can try for low rep/new users who may not be aware they can upvote (or choose exclusively <15 rep users who can not upvote) - yet other users will come by and vote you up (as they should given this is how the site works!).

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but the requirement is still that asker upvote is not exempt?

I read somewhere else that badges are supposed to enforce some positive behaviour, what exactly would this encourage? In fact, I find myself not upvoting answers if I see

  1. the vote count at 0
  2. either the answer has been accepted or there are no other answers
  3. the answer is from a <10k user

The 3rd point is because once a user gets to 10k or more, it is highly unlikely (s)he will ever see Unsung Hero.

Some questions:

  • Has a badge ever been retracted [edit: what is this Tireless badge that I read of and is not in the list?], and whether yes or no, do you think this badge should be retracted (in its current implementation)?
  • How do we fix this badge?
  • Are badges that merely recognize circumstantial happenings worth giving at all?


For comparison here are all the [current] Gold badges and some categorisation from yours-truly

Real Feats

  • Famous Question - Asked a question with 10,000 views
  • Great Answer - Answer score of 100 or more
  • Great Question - Question score of 100 or more
  • Legendary - Hit the daily reputation cap on 150 days
  • Populist - Answer outscored an accepted answer with score of more than 10 by more than 2x
  • Publicist - Shared a link to a question that was visited by 1000 unique IP addresses
  • Reversal - Provided answer of +20 score to a question of -5 score
  • Stellar Question - Question favorited by 100 users

Grind-able badges (civic duty)

  • Copy Editor - Edited 600 entries
  • Electorate - Voted on 600 questions and 25% or more of total votes are on questions

Dedication

  • Fanatic - Visited the site each day for 100 consecutive days

Be lucky?

  • Unsung Hero - Zero score accepted answers: more than 10 and 25% of total
share|improve this question
7  
It appears to be a "I'm sorry your answers seem so unloved, here's a badge" award. Not unlike "Everyone gets an award at the school talent show!" or the "You were rarely chosen for a team when we played dodgeball award". –  Adam Davis Feb 7 '11 at 22:00
9  
With the question velocity as high as it is, it seems quite possible that a new user with expertise in obscure tags could head straight toward this badge. I agree that the badge is impossible for experienced users to get, and indeed doesn't encourage any positive behavior from them, but if it encourages those new niche users, isn't it still a good thing? –  Jefromi Feb 7 '11 at 22:01
    
1  
"What is Tireless," huh? I'm glad you asked! –  Pops Feb 8 '11 at 0:09
4  
See also: Badge suggestion: Unsung Hero (5 accepted answers with no votes) and Was the Unsung Hero a bad idea to implement? (it - like "Tumbleweed" - is sort of a consolation prize... Some badges exist to recognize favorable behavior that cannot otherwise be rewarded directly by the reputation mechanics of the site. This isn't Pokemon - you don't have to collect them all...) –  Shog9 Feb 8 '11 at 0:31
2  
@cyberkiwi: I don't know that I'd describe not being up-voted as particularly lucky. It's not even particularly unlucky. Answering obscure questions is largely - by necessity - its own reward, like choosing a career counting dead fish it's something you choose to do because you really care about it. The badge recognizes that. Yeah, you can game it - but then it's completely meaningless. Wanna talk luck? I have a "Great Answer" badge for a trivial answer to a simple question that just happens to be ridiculously common... There's no way I could have predicted or worked for that. –  Shog9 Feb 8 '11 at 0:49
    
@cyberkiwi: Perhaps I'm not understanding your concern... Are you bothered by the intent of the badge (recognize helpful behavior in obscure topics), or do you merely feel that it fails to recognize the behavior it purports to? Have you read the answers in the second link I posted? Do you agree/disagree with devinb? (FWIW: pretty sure the n answers badge has been proposed, but it kinda just rewards grinding - if you think about it, most of the badges require some sort of external influence to be awarded). –  Shog9 Feb 8 '11 at 1:03
    
I personally was on the precipice of getting unsung hero for a long time until I got a series of 3-4 0-voted answers, and finally got it. –  Sam I am Dec 26 '13 at 22:03
    
and the easiest gold badge, by far, is fanatic –  Sam I am Dec 26 '13 at 22:05

6 Answers 6

I had a colleague who earned it, mostly for answers in the area of computer security. It's not an area where many people seem to vote anything up for some reason. Given that we employed him for about 5-6 years to work in this area, he was definitely an expert, and he was very happy when he received it; it made his day and encouraged him to answer more. I think that's what the badge is for. OTOH, it's not there to encourage me; I've earned gold badges through the more normal routes (such as taking my laptop with me on vacation…)

share|improve this answer
2  
You've considered not taking a laptop or some form of a computer on vacation with you? –  Cole Johnson Dec 27 '13 at 2:45
2  
@ColeJohnson That's crazy talk! –  Donal Fellows Dec 27 '13 at 12:47

I see some people saying that the badge is awarded for posts in low-view tags, and this may be true, but that is not how I got tenacious and unsung hero. I was awarded the badges for posts in the tag, which is number 11 on the list of popular tags. This tag has a lot of posts (10-20%) by brand new 1-rep users: as of this minute, 4 of the newest 10 questions are from first time posters, and this is not unusual. A lot of these users don't have much Java experience, and their questions might seem quite mundane or uninteresting to more experienced members. Perhaps because of this, very few answers get upvoted.

I think that helping these new users in high-volume tags is also a benefit of the badge. If everyone only answered the really interesting +5 questions that get a lot of views then the site wouldn't work as well as it does. I think that encouraging people to help new users with the more "boring" problems is one of the other benefits of the badge, and should not be overlooked.

share|improve this answer
1  
I also received it for the Android tag. –  PearsonArtPhoto Oct 2 '13 at 13:11
    
Note that brand new users don't have enough rep to upvote (even after accepting) if nobody upvotes their question. Upvote + accept is quite common, and what makes this badge hard to get. –  Esoteric Screen Name Feb 7 at 18:39

The badge has simple agenda: reward people for answering the questions from new users, which often don't have rights to upvote (or are not used to the concept of upvoting, instead they only accept answers).

I've recently got Unsung Hero, though I didn't even try to get it. So it's definitely possible to earn.

If you're mostly involved in fast-gun answering of simple, but attention gaining questions in heavy activity topics, then your chances to get that badge are lowered, but you get more reputation instead.

share|improve this answer

I believe the intent was to encourage people to answer questions even in the case where it was unlikely that they'd get an upvote. It has 600+ people who were awarded it - It's hardly the most impossible badge to get.

Given that Stack Overflow has changed over time and upvotes are much more rare than they used to be, I don't think it's a bad badge. The (minimal) good behavior it encourages is worthwhile.

The only bad behavior I believe it could encourage is gaming, either through carefully crafting mediocre answers or sockpuppet accounts.

share|improve this answer
    
"purposely" or "purposefully"? –  RichardTheKiwi Feb 7 '11 at 22:10
3  
That is exactly what I mean - 600+ is a terribly easy to achieve Gold badge, easier than the Silver Generalist by far. Yet once you are a veteran on SO, there is no real way to earn it. where it was unlikely that they'd get an upvote - in which case it is just as unlikely to get an acceptance which is a requirement for this badge? –  RichardTheKiwi Feb 7 '11 at 22:13
    
I agree with what @cyberkiwi said... In my experience, it's not that you're unlikely to get an upvote. If you answer a question from a user who doesn't know/care how to use SO, you are much more likely to get no acceptance and no upvote, despite having the only answer. Where's the badge for that? –  Jason Plank Feb 7 '11 at 23:40

I received both Unsung Hero and Tenacious in the tag. For some reason, people just don't upvote much in that tag. The downside is that you'll never get a Great Question badge there, as no question has ever had more than 99 votes. You're also unlikely to ever get a Good Question badge there, either.

share|improve this answer

The counts for this question are extremely improbable given its content and title. Asked one year ago at the time of writing, viewed 17036 times yet only 2 question upvotes and a total of 5 answer upvotes for 4 answers. Such viewer apathy is remarkable and strongly suggests gaming to me.

Edit - sorry for not explaining enough. Apropos the most easily gamed badge, my candidate answer is "Famous question" as illustrated by the linked example.

share|improve this answer
1  
kinda confused as to what this answer has to do with the question. and the linked question doesn't look out of the ordinary, it's a question with a title that will often show up in google results, hence it's high view count. –  Kevin B Feb 7 at 18:26
    
To add to Kevin's point, the vast majority of users who find questions through Google searches looking for answers are anonymous users, not registered users with enough rep to vote. Most votes come from regular users finding questions through the site. And in any case, in the improbable event that someone is artificially inflating the vote count, the negative consequences are very low. It's just a badge. It's not actually harming the quality of the site's content in any way. But, as I said, I doubt that to be the case here anyway. –  Servy Feb 7 at 18:40
    
However, this badge does seem to be the most rewarded gold badge. I'd suspect the majority of them due to questions that are years old or often used as a duplicate rather than any gaming of the system. –  Kevin B Feb 7 at 20:19

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