The idea is to award this badge when you get +5 and -5 votes on an answer.


2 Answers 2


No, a million times no.

"Controversial" answers are usually bad answers that people who don't know better vote up. Like this one.

  • 1
    -1 I'm inclined to disagree with "are usually bad answers". But I respect your point of view. Nov 11, 2011 at 16:46
  • 2
    The "usually bad answers" part is probably right, not that I have any data. People tend to upvote things they think are right and downvote things they know are wrong Nov 11, 2011 at 16:49
  • 1
    @MichaelMrozek: You should weight the ratio of upvotes to downvotes. A +300 -5 question probably isn't wrong. Nov 11, 2011 at 18:24
  • That might be true on Stack Overflow, but this badge would have more merit on the more subjective sites, such as Politics. A badge like this would discourage "groupthink" and encourage people to post useful answers, albeit those which not everyone agrees with.
    – Masked Man
    Jun 13, 2018 at 15:03
  • That...might be more of a misunderstanding for how people should actually vote. Either it is regarded a reasonable solution by the broad community, or it isn't. If half the community thinks it makes sense and the other half doesn't, I'm not sure it's a useful answer and downvotes can just be brushed off as subjectivity. If that was the case, people should rather reconsider how they're voting. If it's useful, why do you downvote it just because you don't agree with it? Jun 13, 2018 at 15:19
  • @MaskedMan as a active user of politics, I would disagree. This badge (on politics) would encourage people to post opinionated answers so that they get some upvotes and some downvotes. And that is most certainly not a behavior we need more of. Jun 4, 2021 at 18:21

Aside from the question as to the usefulness of this badge, your +5 -5 suggestion also has issues. For example, it's the tendency of very highly voted questions to get at least five downvotes. It doesn't make sense for a +200 -5 question to earn a "Controversial" badge.

For example, most of the highest voted answers on RegEx match open tags except XHTML self-contained tags would earn (or come very close to earning) the badge even though it is clearly not warranted.

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