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I think I've seen someone actually deserve the Self Learner badge once in the entire time I've spent on SO. Otherwise, it's stupidity like this:

Where the user posts a question, and answers themselves within minutes of posting the question. Even more common is lifting the answer from existing ones and resorting to tactical downvoting.

I can think of a few options:

  • Impose a time limit on the OP from being able to post an answer to their question, say 6 hours
  • Impose that the badge won't be granted to someone who answers their question within 6 hrs
  • Get rid of the badge

I'm tired of seeing more people gaming to get the badge than those who actually deserve it, and watching as I put in the effort only to be downvoted for it. I disagree that the idea for the badge is for people to contribute things that would be helpful to others, because the gaming attempts are consistently made for common questions to get the votes in order to get the badge. Community Wiki (CW) was intended for a similar purpose, and it's been phased out of existence...

If you choose to downvote my answer in the example for the CW, I'll know you don't see the forest for the trees.

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I agree on time and upvotes - if the answer isn't worth a couple of upvotes then it isn't a good answer and certainly not worth a badge. Having a longer time limit also means other people have a chance to offer a correct answer and get upvoted for their effort before the OP posts their own answer. –  slugster Mar 17 '11 at 7:09
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2 Answers

I think the time limit is a good factor that we should add to the self-learner badge. If someone self-answer his question within hours, he probably didn't search or didn't bother to try. The main purpose that I see for the self-learner badge is if someone has a good question that nobody could answer and that he later on finds an answer to it. In this case, it's very appreciate that the OP comes back and give an answer to it. Normally this process doesn't happen within hour so having a time limit of at least 1 hour would be nice to prevent gaming and reward only the people who deserve it.

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From the comments on that post:

see, you're gaming for the Self-Learner badge... – OMG Ponies Mar 9 at 5:43

@OMG Ponies No, I worked on it a while before I got it. You shouldn't be so cynical :) – arex1337 Mar 9 at 5:46

I'm not convinced this is an actual problem. Furthermore, that answer doesn't even have the 3 upvotes necessary to garner the badge.

There are, as of this writing, 6830 people that have the bronze Self-Learner badge.

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The context of badges has been changed in the past (IE: pundit used to be awarded to 10+ comments). Not having 3 votes necessary is pretty weak. –  OMG Ponies Mar 17 '11 at 4:05
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