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Badges should reward positive behavior

There is a user who thinks it is allowed to post cruddy answers just to get that badge?

Should this be allowed?

Example: https://chat.stackoverflow.com/transcript/message/3047677#3047677

Can we please either remove this badge (which promotes cruddy posts) or change it so that it does not promote this behavior?

  • 3
    The gaming of the Peer Pressure badge is old news. Mar 23, 2012 at 16:10
  • 2
    I'm not sure why that's even a badge. It's just kind of embarrassing.
    – Ry-
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:10
  • 11
    Let's all upvote him out of spite!!! Mar 23, 2012 at 16:10
  • 2
    @minitech - it's there to encourage you to delete bad content.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:11
  • @ChrisF but encourages purposeful bad content
    – Naftali
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:12
  • @ChrisF: Yeah - but the people that don't do it anyway tend not to be encouraged by it.
    – Ry-
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:12
  • @minitech: Wait, what? Then what about the people who do? Mar 23, 2012 at 16:14
  • @BoltClock: Then they're smart and do it anyway... no need for a badge.
    – Ry-
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:14
  • 2
    @minitech: Why not have a badge for deleting your bad/incorrect answers when we have a badge for your first edit, your first upvoted posts, your first retag, your first flag, etc, then? Remember that these are all bronze badges which "are awarded for basic use of Stack Overflow." Mar 23, 2012 at 16:15
  • @BoltClock I would understand a badge for deleting other people's bad answers, but your own?
    – Naftali
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:16
  • 3
    I always took Peer Pressure to be a negative badge. I don't see why anyone would want to have it unless they're a die-hard completionist.
    – mmyers
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:17
  • Related note: "Unsung hero"(Gold)-- To me, it looks like a "your answers suck" badge, but then again, it may just mean that people aren't upvoting answers while they accept Mar 23, 2012 at 16:20
  • @BoltClock: I believe that's the topic of this question =)
    – Ry-
    Mar 23, 2012 at 16:22
  • 1
    The purpose of the badge is to encourage users to clean up their own mess. If they create a mess explicitly for the purpose of cleaning up that mess, well then we should be thankful that they at least cleaned it up. The badge can only be awarded once, so it's not like this is a big deal. Mar 23, 2012 at 17:17
  • 2
    This is all your fault. Mar 25, 2012 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


There are (in my mind) two main cases here:

  1. User legitimately deletes their poorly received / incorrect answer.
    • We certainly want to encourage that by giving them a badge. They are cleaning up after themselves, improving the site and reducing moderator work.
    • Sometimes the user wouldn't be aware of the badge beforehand. In that case, it is reinforced in their mind that the action they took was correct.
  2. User posts a crappy answer on purpose, then deletes it to get the badge (like in your example).
    • This sort of seems like a non-problem. I can't imagine it happens all that often, but even if it does - the answer is gone afterwards.
    • I certainly don't think the temporary existence of a poor answer outweighs the positives from the first (legitimate) case.

So, I think the badge should stay. It's good for the site, and does encourage a good behavior. I don't think the possible negative side / abuse outweighs the positive side.

  • 1
    #1 is the whole purpose of the badge in the first place. If people are going to game it, that's their business; all it is is a badge anyway. Mar 23, 2012 at 16:44
  • 3
    @BoltClock I agree with yo– wait. Eeeeek! Since when are you not a unicorn?!?!? Mar 23, 2012 at 16:50
  • 1
    I thought it would be funny to delete my Meta name in response to a feature request (see the replies in that thread), but it seems I've lost my magical weaponization along with it too. What a bummer :( Mar 23, 2012 at 17:02

Should this be allowed?

As long as that's related to chat moderation, I guess it was allowed because that statement has not been reported.

Can we please either remove this badge (which promotes cruddy posts) or change it so that it does not promote this behavior?

Why so? Are you totally straight? Do you think a Badge is something positive? Don't you believe that the number of Badges you have just show what a fool you are spending your life's time with a webbrowser game called Stackoverflow?

Seriously, I think there's a line you should not cross and it starts when you take badges too seriously. Badges are something weak, subjective and just bound to some statistics. It's for the fun of the game.

  • 1
    Even if everyone agreed with this completely about badges being purely for fun, a rewards system is not much fun if it can be trivially gamed. This is an old argument, and not a very persuasive one. Most of its power relies on the initial shock of your insulting the user for pursuing badges/reputation/other acclaim in the first place. Mar 23, 2012 at 17:11
  • Your English is above my head, but I don't think that a gamer can outsmart the game. Your reward is yours, others rewards are others rewards. If reward is only working for you that you think (because of rewards) you're better than others, than I say to you: you need others to play, but you don't have any fun. Don't wonder that you need to play alone.
    – hakre
    Mar 23, 2012 at 23:08

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