Can somebody tell me why there are Altruist and Benefactor badges?

Sorry, but they sound like "badges for the sake of badges" to me. You already get a badge when you start offering a bounty for the first time (Promotor or Investor), then why do you also need to get a badge for the moment of handing the money over?

If people are already willing to give up some their rep for a question, do they really need an incentive to actually assign it to someone? I mean, you already get notifications, so it's not like you can forget to do it...

  • Don't take the badges away! They make me feel happy. – Richard J. Ross III Jun 26 '12 at 11:24
  • I'm not saying you shouldn't have them, I'm just wondering where they came from, why someone thought it would be a good idea to have two badges instead of one when you first award a bounty. – Mr Lister Jun 26 '12 at 11:26

It's quite similar to accepting answers, in my opinion.

Take such a scenario for example:

One can easily start a bounty on a question (might be his or someone else question it doesn't matter) to draw better answers. Suppose 10 new answers are posted in the following week while the bounty is active. It's very easy for the bounty starter to just "start and forget" and let the community decide which answer win the bounty - but to read through the answers and choose the best then assign it the bounty requires some time and attention, thus it deserves a prize.

Same with asking questions and accepting answer - it's easy to "ask and forget", not bothering to accept the answer you ended up using. Having little incentive is always a good idea.

  • No, that's not quite true. It's not easy to start and forget, since you get notifications that your bounty is nearing its end. – Mr Lister Jun 26 '12 at 11:39
  • @CloistertheStupid: Due to a bug (a bunch of them got accidentally mass-emailed), they recently started going to spam in gmail. And, the bronze badges are supposed to be ridiculously easy to get. – Manishearth Jun 26 '12 at 11:41
  • @Cloister Maybe I should write "start and don't care enough later" - after all you do get answers, you can use them all but having to choose one is yet another task that some people might find too "boring". – Shadow Jun 26 '12 at 12:18
  • OK, OK, that makes sense. Now by "Having little incentive is always a good idea" you really meant "Having A little incentive", didn't you? – Mr Lister Jun 26 '12 at 20:11
  • @CloistertheStupid yes indeed, a little incentive not just little. :) – Shadow Jun 26 '12 at 21:07

Their purpose is to encourage first-time bounty awarders to accept an answer on the question. There's nothing more frustrating then spending 1-2 hours working on an answer for a bounty question, just to find out that the next day, the bounty has ended and the bounty awarder never accepted an answer.

Now, admittedly, it is hard for a bounty awarder to NOT accept an answer to a question, seeing as how you get an email 24 hours before the bounty ends, several SO notifications as it nears it's end, so anyone who is active on the site wouldn't need these badges.

If anything, I think they serve a historical purpose on SO. It was introduced with the bounty system, and it encouraged users to go and try it out.

According to the badge numbers, about half of first-time bounty questions go without the bounty being awarded, so it shows that encouragement is needed for users here.

If nothing else, don't get rid of the badges for the simple fact that they make me feel happy!


From the blog post announcing their creation:

the intent here is to encourage people to explore the features and see how they work. And more bounties means better answers, and better opportunities to answer, for everyone!

  • And they are bronze badges, which fits the purpose of awarding (exploration of site features). Even simply vote for the first time gives you a bronze badge already. – nhahtdh Jun 26 '12 at 11:32
  • I know what bounties do, I just wonder why the two badges for basically the same action. Or two halves of the same action. – Mr Lister Jun 26 '12 at 11:41

Some badges are given if you know system. It is just like you have knowledge of accepting answer and getting badge scholar https://meta.stackoverflow.com/badges/10/scholar.

These badges are meant you understand the importance of bounty and you have knowledge about right answer and you are awarding the same i.e. You are handing over it.

  1. Benefactor: You know the answer who should be given bounty on your question.

  2. Altruist: You know the answer who should be given bounty on another person's question.

See Difference between Promoter and Benefactor badges?

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