Comments on Stack Exchange sites have always been a second class citizen as far as the overall goal of getting people the information that they want quickly. They are useful for asking for additional information, gently nudging someone into asking a better question or perhaps even a twist of humor.
We have the Pundit badge that attempts to reward people for leaving awesome comments. However, after seeing a moderation queue full of flags for the last month I've concluded that people take more liberty with comments than they do with answers because there are no real consequences otherwise.
A paraphrased case in point:
[member of the opposite sex] is so [starred out explicative] [sic] attractive!!
I'm guilty of this as well (Bobince isn't the only one who just got back from a pub, that comment is now quite old).
I'd like to propose the Conduct badge for the following criteria:
- User posted nn comments on posts with nn views within 14 days of the post appearing over a period of one year, while collecting less than nn flags on comments left.
That keeps people from digging through old questions and posting comments, but still leaves a lot of blanks.
I've been mulling this over while thinking of a way to encourage people to not leave antagonistic or inflammatory comments. If you would not post it as an answer due to fearing down votes, you should not post it as a comment. Yes, I see the irony of my last name and making an example of myself.
This is not a fully baked badge proposal. I really hope to narrow down the nn variables and define a scope for a gold badge that rewards people for not taking excessive liberties in comments, while not suggesting a criteria that awards the badge wholesale.
The new flagging system is dredging up all kinds of stuff, some of it from the very first days of Stack Overflow. Our community has matured, as have we and I'd love to find a way to reward people for being professional in all posts, not just questions and answers.