I just came across a question where a user posted two answers, one of which was accepted. Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong — the answers are far and above outstanding; see them for yourself!

Why can't I style a control with the Aero theme applied in WPF 4.0?

As of this writing, the unaccepted answer doesn't yet qualify for Populist, as it has less than 2 times the score of the accepted answer. However, considering that both answers were posted by the same user, I'm wondering: when the unaccepted answer does eventually reach double the score of the accepted answer, should the user earn a Populist badge?

Or has there been a case where a user did or did not earn Populist over his own accepted answer?

Note that I'm not so much concerned about badge gaming as simply curious if it makes sense to be a populist over yourself... whatever that means.

  • 1
    hmm... I remember this being gamed once and then disabled. I think the question was by LessPop_MoreFizz (maybe it was on gaming) Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:09
  • @yoda: Probably, since he's most active there. Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:12
  • I don't particularly see a problem with this since the answerer can't control which answer gets accepted. Of course the OP could be "gracious" enough to accept the lower-voted one to give him/her the badge. But that's the case with almost any question with sufficiently upvoted answers.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:13
  • @yoda: That question seems to be specific to self-answers (needs a waaaaay better title). In my case, I'm referring to two answers by the same user, to a question by a different user. Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:14
  • @yoda Not a duplicate since that one is specifically about self-answers.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:14
  • @Mysticial Ah, you're right. I was confused by "his own accepted answer" in the question and took it to mean own answer. Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:16
  • @yoda: I guess mine needs a better title too. Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:17
  • I'm guessing the other three close voters didn't read any of the comments past the automatic one. That's OK; I can always reopen it myself later. Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 15:48
  • I would suggest changing the title: Own in "his own accepted answer" is not necessary, and the phrase is probably read as "his own-accepted answer." That could explain the votes to close the question.
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 19:22
  • @kiamlaluno: I changed it. Thanks for your suggestion. Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 9:01
  • Was this question every really answered? Can the badge be awarded in this case or not?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


Unless there is a clear pattern of this user consistently posting two answers on a question in hopes of getting the Populist badge, I wouldn't be concerned about this as an issue. Here's why:

The Populist badge is extremely difficult to earn, IMHO. My highest Stack Overflow answer only has a score of 13, and the requirement for Populist is that it:

  • Be the highest score.
  • Be more than 10.
  • Must outscore the accepted answer by more than 2x

This means the post would need to have at least 21 upvotes, and that the accepted answer would need at least 10.

In addition to these requirements, the poster must somehow be precognitive and know how people are going to vote, that one post is going to get 1/2 the votes the other will get, and the poster must also somehow know, or convince, the op to accept the answer he/she predicts will get 1/2 the votes.

Additionally, this person must know that it could take years for this investment to pay any dividends, since it can take years for a Stack Overflow post to accumulate enough such upvotes.

If this person earns the Populist badge on this question, then I'd say he/she earned it. Still, it's good to keep our eyes peeled for unwanted behaviors, such as people trying to game the system, but let's not shut someone down just because there's a possibility he/she might somehow be able to game the system. ;)

Does it make sense to be a Populist over yourself:

I don't think that's how the badge was intended, and there could be several arguments both for and against this. This seems like such a boundary case where I really don't think it would matter either way, and I'm not sure it's worth the development time to change it, whether it actually works or not. However, if people start trying to game it to the detriment of SE then it may need to be addressed, but here's a thought:

The focus of Stack Exchange has always been on content, not people. So if there are two separate answers, they should be treated as separate answers for all intents and purposes, even if posted by the same user. Why? Same reason as with voting. We vote content, not people.

However, you could also argue that we don't award reputation for users self-accepting their own answer. True, this is a valid argument, but a counter-argument to this is that the Populist badge hinges on so many other criteria that are just outside of the user's control to where I don't really think it matters that much.

  • 2
    I think of Populist as a consolation prize for not getting the accepted answer. It doesn't actually encourage positive behavior since the best way to get the badge is to actually insult the OP.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:27
  • lol, on meta, maybe. But neither of those answers seem insulting...... However, I got the populist on one controversial post I wrote in July. It was well-written and, IMHO, not insulting at all. Additionally, there's another MSO post of mine that's teetering on the edge of Populist. ;)
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:28
  • Nah, I've seen it quite a few times on SO. The other times are usually when someone FGITWs with a short answer (gets 23+ votes), then someone posts a late, but long in-depth answer (and gets the tick).
    – Mysticial
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:30
  • @Mysticial - That would make sense, I guess...
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 6:30
  • Populist is even harder than what you thought: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6851/…
    – user138231
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 14:30
  • @Chichiray - Aha, you are right! Answer updated.
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 20:41

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