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It would appear that questions asked by users with 1 (or, say, <10) rep points get less attention and are often left unanswered (please correct me if I'm wrong on this). Perhaps people believe that (1) a new user is unlikely to accept or up vote a useful answer and (2) the only reason to offer up assistance is in the hopes of attaining more valuable rep points. Wouldn't it be nice if we just answered any question to which we believed we had an answer? Well, perhaps rep-hungry users would go for a badge instead.

Here's what I'm thinking...

  • Must be first answer to a user who, at the time, has < N rep points for some fixed N < 25 (before the voting rights begin).

  • Question must have been unanswered for at least minutes for some fixed T (possibly 0?).

  • Badge earned after M such answers for some M > 25 (I picked this for symmetry, but the point is to reward consistent behavior) for some fixed M.

I suppose this would need to be a bronze badge of which there are plenty, but it does seem to me that questions from newbies tend to get far less attention.

REVISION: I really like Pearsonartphoto's suggestion. Perhaps a better idea is to earn a badge if you edit a newbie post with no answers and it subsequently gets answered not by you. This also incorporates Ian Ringrose's suggestion that editing a newbie question may be equally or even more helpful than answering it.

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12  
I like the idea in principle, but beware of perverse incentives. For example, imposing an answer delay for the badge may have the reverse effect, as people wait for the time delay to pass before answering. –  Robert Harvey May 20 '11 at 22:27
1  
Note that you earn the upvote priviledge at 15 rep. –  Hendrik Vogt May 21 '11 at 13:13
    
I think the Tenacious and Unsung Hero badges sort of cover this -- as they seem to be earned on the backs of newbies' questions. –  Awesome Poodles May 23 '11 at 2:59
1  
@Brock Adams: nope, tenacious/unsung hero don't work as new users don't even know they should accept an answer. They often say "that's it, thank you very much!" but don't accept/upvote even if you are the only responder. I think the only solution to this problem is to find a way to remind newbies to do so. –  Tomas Aug 12 '11 at 10:32
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@Tomas: I said that because that is roughly how I earned my Unsung Hero badge. It turned out that I answered a lot of questions for newbies, in low traffic tags. About 1 in 5 marked the answer accepted right away, but couldn't upvote. However, weeks or months later, many more answers were accepted (but not always upvoted, alas) as the former newbies became conscious of their accept-rate. –  Awesome Poodles Aug 12 '11 at 10:39

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would propose doing this, but have it be one of two things.

  1. Posting a (Or some number) comment on a newbie's question. Ideally these would be to help explain the site, etc.
  2. Editing a newbie's question, to add tags, clarity, etc.

Thoughts?

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I like this. So the badge could be for fixing a newbie post that subsequently gets an answer. –  PengOne May 21 '11 at 19:07

I think

questions from newbies tend not to be written as well and not to have the correct tags

So a good way to help newbies is to look at the review/first question tab and then edit some questions to have better tags.

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Good point. Is this really enough to solicit answers, though? –  PengOne May 20 '11 at 22:28
1  
edit some questions to have better tags....and the question text, in most cases. Given the question quality filters now in place, this task may not be as hopeless as it once was. –  Robert Harvey May 20 '11 at 22:35

You will make people answer 25 questions of newbies... and then?

Once they got the badge they will do as usual. Same problem.

Edit

See comments.

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The badge could be awarded more than once. –  Robert Harvey May 20 '11 at 22:37
    
More than once? Do we have any like this? –  M'vy May 20 '11 at 22:38
6  
No, now there are 25 more questions answered than there would have been, per badge. That may well amount to a significant difference. Also, perhaps in the process of attaining the badge, users will notice that some newbies do accept answers and show appreciation which in turn may lead to the user changing his/her behaviour. –  PengOne May 20 '11 at 22:38
    
Sure. There are several. Good question, popular question, reversal... That said, I agree with @PengOne, this is a badge you only award once. –  Robert Harvey May 20 '11 at 22:38
    
Ok that's nice. @Peng you got a point I guess. –  M'vy May 20 '11 at 22:40

I think the Tenacious / Unsung Hero badges already accomplish a lot of what you are proposing. Since a new user cannot upvote an answer, users who answer questions from newbies are more likely to have an accepted answer with 0 upvotes. Get enough and you get the two badges.

I'm not sure what additional benefits your badge proposal would bring that are not already addressed by the existing badges.

Here's a breakdown of answer score by questioner reputation:

                              Accepted    Avg Accept
Low Rep High Rep    Users     Answers     Ans Score
------- ----------  ------    --------    ----------
     1          1   389476       4652     1.550085
     2          5    22286      21561     0.878808
     6         10    55949      22082     1.227243
    11         15    49141      18856     1.466747
    16         50    85489      97341     1.861856
    51        125    42168     133840     2.144627
   126        250    19679     116146     2.351901
   251        500    16714     160080     2.554728
   501       1000    12498     177356     2.903865
  1001       1500     5255      94504     3.266909
  1501       2000     2840      58645     3.525756
  2001       3000     3098      70621     3.770167
  3001      10000     4491     127939     4.219878
 10001      20000      927      30969     4.962252
 20001    J Skeet      497      16332     6.104763

It seems like the bulk of the Unsung Hero-worthy answers are coming from newbies.

Also, it seems the newbies aren't too bad about accepting answers, once they get even a single point over the starting 1.

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nope, tenacious/unsung hero don't work as new users don't even know they should accept an answer. They often say "that's it, thank you very much!" but don't accept/upvote even if you are the only responder. I think the only solution to this problem is to find a way to remind newbies to do so. –  Tomas Aug 12 '11 at 10:31
    
Yep. It's true that newbies don't seem as good about accepting as vets (who been on the receiving end of poor questioners). Still about 20% accept right away, and about 50% eventually accept (both #'s are just my personal experience). –  Awesome Poodles Aug 12 '11 at 10:44
    
"newbies aren't too bad about accepting answers, once they get even a single point over the starting 1." - yes, but unfortunatelly vast majority of newbies users won't - according to your table ... –  Tomas Aug 12 '11 at 15:16
    
@Tomas: Fortunately, the stats show that the vast majority of questions come from users who will accept an answer. Less than 30% of newbies even ask a question (and that's assuming that all newbies only ask 1 question). However, the moment they answer, they go over the starting 1 point, and get increasingly good about accepting. –  Awesome Poodles Aug 12 '11 at 15:49
    
@Brock, does it make sense to separate out the 1 rep users from the <5 rep users? Accepting an answer gives +2 rep, so only banned users or people who were downvoted later would have accepted answers at 1 rep, making it more difficult to compare accepted answer rate. –  Troyen Aug 12 '11 at 17:01
    
@Brock: by my oppinion the table shows that majority of newbies won't accept - according to the table there are 115k questions from users w/rep=1, compared to 33k questions from users w/rep=2..5 - which means that big part of newbies won't cross that rep=1 limit. –  Tomas Aug 12 '11 at 19:45
    
@Troyen: Yes! (They should be separate.) 1-rep users are a category unto themselves, obviously, and make up 55% of all users. It's very instructive to see their stats. –  Awesome Poodles Aug 12 '11 at 23:02
    
@Tomas: That 115K of questions is only 6% of the total number. If newbies weren't "crossing over" that percentage should be much higher (and growing). Newbies make up 55% of the population. –  Awesome Poodles Aug 12 '11 at 23:06

I don't think badge is a solution. I think the only solution to this problem is to find a way how to remind newbies they should accept/upvote an answer(s). They often say "that's it, thank you very much!" but don't accept/upvote even if there is only one answer.

Reminding the newbie would not only solve the problem of motivation of the responders (they would have their rep), but also the problem of many questions now left unanswered in the system (despite they were in fact answered).

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