Oftentimes I find that I would like to ask a question and, upon searching, find it already answered.

Since searching for answers is clearly desired behaviour, might there be a way to implement a badge that rewards this? Perhaps, a bronze badge for simply clicking on something in the "Questions with similar titles" section before posting? Or, say, on return to the Ask Question page, the ability to mark which post answered the question, which would then award the badge (and could also possibly be leveraged to improve search results).

Difficult to implement without opening to abuse (as a person could use the same or similar questions), and perhaps for this reason should only be rewarded once.


Heh, this is a nice idea!

I could see this as a bronze badge to promote Googling and searching SO (or at least looking at the "similar" list) before asking.

I don't think the abusability is much of a problem - it's just there to raise awareness, like the FAQ badge (that can be tricked as easily.)


The problem I see with this is that it only happens once (presumably). I doubt it will actually change anyone's behavior in the long run. People who do not bother to google or look for dupes generally have many questions that get closed, some with a few down votes. If that isn't deterrent enough, then I doubt a one-shot badge will be.

  • Would you have a thought on how to make it work more than once? My concern was with people who use the same or similar questions multiple times. – Hannele Oct 19 '11 at 19:28
  • As for the nonconformers, my thought was more to reward those who do bother to google. As it is, you get the answer to the question you were looking for, which perhaps should be the overriding concern, but the effective use of the site is unnoticed in one's profile (excepting, perhaps, an up-vote). – Hannele Oct 19 '11 at 19:34
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    @Hannele I don't believe we should reward people for not misusing the site, and I don't think that this idea will have a tangible affect on the users you are targeting. – PengOne Oct 19 '11 at 19:57
  • Alternative idea that I believe will be more effective – PengOne Oct 19 '11 at 19:58
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    From the badges page: "Bronze badges are awarded for basic use of Insert Site Here. They are easy to earn." Searching is a basic function, and the badge would help raise awareness. What are the badges for if not for proper use? It is still separate from reputation. – Hannele Oct 19 '11 at 20:00
  • The alternative idea is a proposal for closing duplicate questions, while I'm proposing a simple measure to reward those who don't make them, and even possibly prevent a few of them. Hence, it's not really relevant here. – Hannele Oct 19 '11 at 20:07

I don't think we should hand out badges for not doing something.
If someone is genuinely interested in an answer to a question, he/she will be happy to find it, whether it is in someone else's post or as a result of his/her own posting. By contrast, if someone wants to ask questions merely for the purpose of gaining reputation, he/she will not be stopped by the fact that he/she could gain a badge. And if that person still wanted the badge, it would be sufficient to ask an original question once.

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    But they have done something - rather than creating another duplicate question, they searched for and found their answer without clogging up our front page. – Hannele Oct 19 '11 at 20:14
  • They have done research, but they have not actively contributed to SO by posting something valuable. It's true that they have not clogged up the front page either, but I think we should find other ways to discourage that. – S.L. Barth Oct 19 '11 at 20:28
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    This is exactly why I suggest using a badge, rather than reputation. Also, I would argue that maintaining the value of the site, and encouraging that maintenance, is just as important as adding to it. – Hannele Oct 19 '11 at 20:37

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