I think it would be really nice to see if an answerer has tag-related badges on those tags that have been applied to the question. For example, if I asked a question with the tags [php], [symfony-2.0] and [doctrine], and the person who answers my questions has a golden [php] badge and a bronze [symfony-2.0] badge they would be shown in the same place as the user's picture, reputation and badge count.

  • How do you propose we cram all this information into the tiny box which represents the user? – animuson May 2 '12 at 6:49
  • @animuson that was also my initial thought but I came with something reasonable - see my answer. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard May 2 '12 at 6:51
  • I don't think this would work, because an arbitrary number of users can collaborate on a single answer. When that happens, you would have to decide between showing all badges regardless of the user, only show the original answerer's badges (which may not be the best rated / most relevant), or compute some kind of average. Chances are the resulting information would be a far cry from what you're looking for. – Frédéric Hamidi May 2 '12 at 7:42

I think it really would be nice

Yes, so do I, but does it really help us? This reminds me of the "don't get sweet talked into building a truck" section of Jeff's blog post.

SO gauges answers by "post quality", not "poster quality". "Post quality", in turn, is gauged by votes. One should not use the user's rep/badges/etc as a way to gauge post quality. In fact, there have been s in this direction, asking to hide rep/badges since they don't convey anything useful.

Also: I'm a novice at jQuery (Secret: I learned jQuery after I started using it in SO userscripts*). Yet, due to the high volume of simple RTFM jQuery questions, I think it wouldn't be too hard to get a jQuery tag badge by FGITWing all jQuery posts. I bet this applies to other badges as well. So the tag badge isn't useful at all for judging arbitrary post quality.

*MSO, please don't kill me

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  • I agree that if the reputation and badges will be removed this has no place indeed. But until then, such thing has no less value than showing the total reputation and more - as it's more relevant. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard May 2 '12 at 7:31
  • @Sha oh, I just gave the rep removal thingamajig as an example of how the community is leaning in the other direction. I agree it is more relevant than the rep, but then I'd prefer that it be implemented in a less clitter-y way. Maybe hide rep/badges when you have a tagbadge? – Manishearth May 2 '12 at 7:34
  • Agree about leaning in other direction, that's the reason for the last sentence in my answer, lol.. anyhow one extra line below the user card isn't so much a clutter in my opinion. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard May 2 '12 at 7:38
  • @Sha yeah, I guess so.. Though tagbadges are quite more eye-catching than rep/tiny badge discs(to me anyway, tag badges always make me go "ooh shiny" :P ). I dunno if we want it that way--it becomes a milder version of <blink><marquee><font color=red size=some big number> . – Manishearth May 2 '12 at 7:41

This is interesting idea, and personally I'm for it as it will add relevant information.

Basic mock up as I imagine it:

mock up

However I doubt many people here will agree.

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  • And... what happens if the question at hand has 5 long tags, all of which you have the bronze badge for? Create five extra rows below their user info? Aside from that, making the user info box taller isn't really an option that they're going to consider. – animuson May 2 '12 at 6:57
  • @animuson yes in the most extreme case it will reach five extra lines. But on most cases it won't add anything or just one extra line (it will show the best badge for each tag) plus maybe show it only when the author has silver or gold badge which means "This person got lots of votes on this tag so good chance he post good contents" – Shadow 10 Years Wizard May 2 '12 at 6:59
  • Yes, that's precisely how I pictured it in my head as well. I admit it could look pretty ugly in the worst case scenario. Maybe only one tag with the highest rank could be shown, with a visual cue like "..." or ">>" providing the rest as a rollover? – Kaivosukeltaja May 2 '12 at 7:15
  • @Kaivosukeltaja cheers, however I won't go as far as rollover maybe like you said show only one which is the best badge. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard May 2 '12 at 7:30
  • We already have a rollover which gets enabled when a user gains the "Autobiographer" badge. A good compromise would be to include the info there. That would keep the general UI clear, but also put the information immediately at hand if somebody really wants to see it. It could even be implemented as a pure text version of the badge (i.e. not using the images) with the text colour gold, bronze, or silver to match the badge. – RivieraKid May 2 '12 at 7:40
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    Don't we already have enough information displayed there? The whole point of the user card is that you can click on it to visit the user's profile, which lays bare more statistical information than one could ever want. Sure, data porn is great, but don't miss out on the point—a simple, easy to use Q&A site that focuses on content, not users. – Cody Gray May 2 '12 at 7:41
  • @The you're probably right but still - in my opinion adding upvotes related data to the existing reputation and badge count data is reasonable. Together it expose just enough details about the author without having to navigate away to his profile and dig in there. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard May 2 '12 at 7:50
  • Can we hide it in a tooltip? Or maybe a roll-over popup, like we do with tags? I just don't think we need this much noise in the UI. If I want this, I can click through to the profile. – Cody Gray May 2 '12 at 7:53
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    @The no, don't think it has much point unless always visible. Profile might contains many badges it need some digging to find the relevant tag badges. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard May 2 '12 at 7:56

I was just thinking of the same problem when I found this topic. I've seen several occasions where different answers were provided for the same problem, and the user ended up implementing a, let's be blunt, bad and ridiculous solution to his problem. I think there's certainly added value in showing relevant tag badges next to answers, as a 'general rough guide' to credibility of the answer.

The argument presented before that it's relatively easy to get tag badges in popular tags is irrelevant - because you've then still proven to be able to get a lot of upvotes in them, meaning you have some kind of credibility on the subject. Also, I've just gained my own first bronze tag badge at 5k rep. I highly doubt there's that many people that have 'easily gained' tag badges, especially silver or gold.

Another argument is against the space it would cost. I also think this is a non-issue, since there's honestly not that many people with tag badges in all relevant topics, and it could easily be added without taking up more space in a regular user's layout:

enter image description here

The tooltip could then show something like:

Jon Skeet has earned 52959 upvotes for 4302 answers in the c# tag.

And clicking it should then link to the user's answers in that specific tag, so the OP can further inspect the credibility of this user and his answers.

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  • That looks like a nice place to put the badges, but I think it's a bit unclear whether the badges belong to dotNETbeginner or Jon Skeet. Unless, of course, you know that Jon Skeet has all the tags in the known universe. – Kaivosukeltaja May 29 '13 at 10:45
  • I put it there to emphasize it's not so much part of the answerer (he has thousands) but part of the answer itself - whoever made the answer has these references backing him up for writing a proper answer in these relevant categories. – Niels Keurentjes May 29 '13 at 10:48

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