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As it stands, it is hard to get a tag badge for a tag that has a small community on StackOverflow.

Consider the tag mathematica. This is not a minor tag, but a tag for all Mathematica users' questions, but as there are comparatively few Mathematica users on StackOverflow, even great answers receive a limited number of votes.

The top users in the community are:

votes | answers
 320  |  127     belisarius
 267  |  65      Michael Pilat
 254  |  66      Leonid Shifrin

I am requesting that the vote requirements for this tag be reduced somewhat, that the badges may realistically be within reach, and that the top users may be recognized.

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It certainly is the case that nearly anybody can get a Java or C# badge because there are over 100k questions in those tags and those questions tend to be more popular. (I'm 1 vote away from a Java badge and I haven't used Java in 15 years!)

Meanwhile, I'll never get a badge in the MIPS tag because there are under 250 questions in the tag, and those questions never get more than a few votes.

Perhaps the badges should be based on the number of questions there are in a tag every year or so?

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"nearly anybody can get a Java or C# badge" - [hangs head in shame] – amelvin Mar 28 '11 at 9:37

I think that some weighting for tags is long overdue, but for simplicity perhaps a banding system which split the tags into, say, three types - extremely popular, common and less active - based on the number of questions and answers would make the system fairer while not adding too much more complexity.

I think for the extremely popular tags like Java, some increase in the demands for medals would be reasonable; say

  • bronze = 200
  • silver = 500
  • gold = 1000

For the common tags, say the ones getting less than 50 questions a week like encryption this could be halved; say

  • bronze = 100
  • silver = 250
  • gold = 500

And then the less active tags getting, say, 1 question a week or less, say dynamic-memory-allocation would be within some kind of range at, say

  • bronze = 50
  • silver = 100
  • gold = 250

Obviously the tags would need a default for when they are new, so that a new popular tag (perhaps C# 5) would not cough up tag awards before it is obvious which band they are in - so perhaps assume all tags will be extremely popular until they are three months old and then re-assess.

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If you lower the requirements, that would also make the badge less valuable. Why should it be easier to get a badge on a subject that fewer people are interested in?

I will never get anything in C# or Java, but I can live with that. :-)

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I think the idea is that all badges should be equally easy to obtain. If there have been 100 times as many C# questions as Mathematica questions, why should it be 100 times easier to get a C# badge? Doesn't that make it less valuable? – Gabe Mar 26 '11 at 16:32

What we could do is tweak the gold badge and silver badge condition in the following way :

Gold badge is awarded if the personn has 1k+ upvote OR if the personn is #1 for that tag and he has at least 100+ upvotes.

Silver badge is awarded if the personn has 400 upvote OR if the personn is #1 or #2 for that tag and he has at least 100+ upvotes.

This would let top user in low activity tag be able to get gold badge or silver badge and it won't change anything to the other tag.

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You can't give the gold badge to the just the #1 person in a tag because then Jon Skeet will be the only one who gets gold badges in obscure tags. – Gabe Mar 26 '11 at 16:14
@Gabe This is why I proposed the extra condition (the 100 upvote+), so that people don't get gold badge for obscure tag. Also keep in mind that the eligibility for a tag would still stay the same (you can't get tag badge if the tag doesn't have enough question). – HoLyVieR Mar 26 '11 at 16:30
Have you seen Skeet's list of tags? He's got 100+ votes on tags like inputstream and hilo! – Gabe Mar 26 '11 at 16:35
@Gabe If he is the top user for that tag, he probably deserves it. Also he already has over 3k badge, having a few more won't make a big difference for that user. Badge are awarded for good thing, if you are the top answerer for a tag, you deserve it in my opinion. – HoLyVieR Mar 26 '11 at 16:55
There's nothing wrong with giving Jon Skeet a ton of badges for obscure tags, so long as it doesn't prevent anybody else from getting those badges too. – Gabe Mar 26 '11 at 18:51

I'd like to propose something similar.

I created a query to return "niche tags" - between 20 and 400 questions, and no more than 600 total score for all of the questions. This got 17223 tags.
It's possible that the definition of a niche tag will be modified, but this is what i decided to use for now.

Being that my niche qualifications are lower than others', badge requirements would be lower too.

I propose two badges for niche tags - bronze and silver. No gold.

For a bronze niche tag badge, you would need a score of 20 (100 for regular) and at least 10 answers (20 for regular). For a silver niche tag badge, you would need a score of 80 (400 for regular) and at least 40 answers (80 for regular).

Like regular tag badges, these would be lost if you don't qualify anymore. However, if the tag graduates (more than 400 questions or 600 score), they would be kept.

I created another query to see your score in niche tags (by above definition).

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