I recently picked up a Strunk & White badge, which I am damn pleased with. It is a somewhat exclusive club with 354 badges thus far bestowed.

It was earned mostly by cleaning up horribly formatted code blocks (no code block, using a quote block instead, evil fracking tabs, poor indentation consistency, etc.) and questions from struggling ESL folks who need bit of help. That, and I've got some badge whore tendencies.

So, now that the S&W is in the bag, beyond being a good little SOpedian, what are my motives? I still clean up questions, but not as much as before.

Am I the only one? Would a higher level S&W badge motivate SOpedians to continue S&W cleanups of SO?

  • 14
    I like it. I want it. I gotta have it! – Tom Ritter Jul 1 '09 at 16:19
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    I'm all for any idea that retroactively awards me a gold badge; I'm pretty sure I'm well past 1000 edits. :D – mmyers Jul 1 '09 at 16:21
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    Good on you, mmyers. For now, you'll have only our silent thanks. – Stu Thompson Jul 1 '09 at 16:22
  • BTW, S&W is up to 298 now... I finally just got mine! – gnostradamus Jul 1 '09 at 17:04
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    If I could edit here, I'd change "please with" to "pleased with". – user1228 Jul 1 '09 at 17:21
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    "strunk-n-whiter"? "high-strunk-n-white"? – Assaf Lavie Jul 1 '09 at 18:23
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    We could take a cue from Final Fantasy and call it "Strunk & Whitaga". =) – gnostradamus Jul 1 '09 at 18:50
  • If I could edit here, I'd change "please with" to "pleased with", "club at with" to "club with", "be cleaning" to "by cleaning", "struggeling" to "struggling", "tenancies" to "tendencies", and "Questions" to "questions". – mmyers Jul 1 '09 at 19:50
  • all done, mmyers! – Stu Thompson Jul 1 '09 at 20:58
  • I didn't even know SO awarded badgers! I'd like a wolverine too, please. Seriously though, I think the 1000 mark as a gold badge would be an excellent idea. Complete the editor trio. – Quinn Taylor Jul 7 '09 at 4:03
  • @Quinn: If you think that is the only error in the above post, then you need to look again ;) So far, only mmyers is up to the task.... – Stu Thompson Jul 7 '09 at 5:08
  • Tabs are lovely, dark and deep... spaces are teh evil, codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001310.html – beggs Nov 12 '09 at 7:08
  • @mmyers: Yeah! I see you finally have edit privs on MSO. (And you have my SO mod vote.) – Stu Thompson Jan 15 '10 at 19:30
  • So, did an answer ever come in? Is this being considered? – Otaku Mar 25 '10 at 21:38
  • 1
    Well, I see status-completed, but no new badges.. any word on what its going to be? – Tim Post Jul 9 '10 at 9:31

11 Answers 11


Yes, brilliant idea Stu! A Copy Editor badge, awarded at 1000 edits, is what we should do.

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  • 4
    "Copy Editor", eh? What a good name... ++ for you AND the OP! – Shog9 Jul 1 '09 at 16:25
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    Be forewarned that if you can win multiple of this badge, they'll have to implement the numerical shorthand just for RichB, like rep for Jon Skeet. – Rob Allen Jul 1 '09 at 17:01
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    @gnovice: You're onto something there. How about a Narcissist badge for someone who answers 50 of their own questions with at least 3 upvotes each? – Jeff Yates Jul 1 '09 at 17:55
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    Editerminator ! – Sampson Jul 1 '09 at 19:49
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    FWIW... Editing is one of the indicators I'm looking for when voting on a candidate for moderator: a badge specifically for editing other people's posts would provide a nice way to check for this. – Shog9 Jan 15 '10 at 17:36
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    I'd like to see the badge earnable repeatedly - per 1,000 edits or so. Or a badge at 1,000 edits, and another at 5,000 and repeating. Or thereabouts. – Jonathan Leffler Feb 15 '10 at 6:50
  • According to the Help Center, Copy Editor is awarded at 500 edits. – DavidRR Jul 12 '14 at 16:34
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    @DavidRR The badge didn't exist when I asked this question some five years ago. – Stu Thompson Jul 15 '14 at 1:36

Status completed:


New gold badge for people who edit more than 600 entries.

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  • Are all edits counted or are some like tag-only-edits excluded? Just wondering as i thought i'd have that many edits on SO. – Georg Fritzsche Jul 9 '10 at 10:13
  • its the same as strunk and white ... will have to digg up the conditions – waffles Jul 9 '10 at 10:33
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    Found them. Well, it seems like i have a lot more tag edits than most of the people in Jons list :) – Georg Fritzsche Jul 9 '10 at 11:10
  • Is it a bad sign that this rewards criteria that only two people have met, when one of them is Rich B? – Kip Jul 9 '10 at 13:31
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    Sweet. Though I still think it should have been 1000 edits. ;) – mmyers Jul 9 '10 at 14:40
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    The query to get your count is here: odata.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/qt/5157/… – Ether Jul 12 '10 at 4:00
  • @Ether Nice; I tried to do this once and wrongly concluded edit information wasn't available in the dump – Michael Mrozek Jul 13 '10 at 19:49
  • The link is to the Talkative badge you know – Anthony Pham Feb 14 '15 at 16:50

Senior Janitor?

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  • 2
    Oh...I like where you are going with that. How about "Grammar & Spelling Engineer"? – Stu Thompson Nov 12 '09 at 9:58
  • ...or if you are Spanish, Señor Janitor. :) – Ether Mar 9 '11 at 22:54

I'm hoping to revive this idea. We have no official word from The Powers That Be about this.

Editing is very important on the sites, and those that do it often should be rewarded

Name proposed:

Editor in Chief

Also, I think 1000 is a good number for the award.

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  • J. Jonah or Perry? – random Nov 12 '09 at 5:55
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    J. Jonah - Spiderman Rocks – jjnguy Nov 12 '09 at 5:58
  • Spider-Man comes with a hyphen. – random Nov 12 '09 at 6:00
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    Why don't you edit my comment? :P – jjnguy Nov 12 '09 at 6:03
  • J. Jonah - Spider-man Rocks! – jjnguy Nov 12 '09 at 6:03
  • +1 for bumping. But I still like Copy Editor best. – Stu Thompson Nov 12 '09 at 6:50
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    "Editor in Chief" has connotations of official authority that don't apply. – Gnome May 15 '10 at 21:02

This sounds like a pretty good idea, but I think that we should limit it to edits to the content or title only, not to your own posts, and only edits that haven't been rolled back. I think after 1000 of those you deserve a gold badge.

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  • Edits to your own posts don't contribute to Strunk & White anyway. But I think edits to tags do. – ChrisF Jul 1 '09 at 16:29
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    I do believe that is the way the S&W already is. Edits to tags and your own posts do not count. – Stu Thompson Jul 1 '09 at 16:30
  • You're right. I was going to simply say "rolled back edits don't count", but for clarity I also included the requirements for S&W. – Kyle Cronin Jul 1 '09 at 16:35

Not really an answer, but below is the edit statistics for Stack Overflow from the beginning to 2009-10-31 (corresponding to that Data Dump), top 20 + Jon Skeet.

Update 1: note that only the last edit for a question or an answer is counted (undercounting) and retagging is counted (overcounting wrt. the badge). This is a consequence of how the Data Dump is organised.

It does not include edits to the users own questions and answers. It is in a form where it can be directly copy-pasted into a Windows command-line window and the user pages will open in the default browser (e.g. Firefox or Opera). The full list is available (494 KB, 5023 users with 1 or more edits), but please only paste a small subset of that file... (all disclaimers apply)

rem 1th place. Editor with ID 5640 did 3315 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/5640

rem 2th place. Editor with ID 8817 did 1951 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/8817

rem 3th place. Editor with ID 63550 did 1695 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/63550

rem 4th place. Editor with ID 3043 did 1672 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/3043

rem 5th place. Editor with ID 76337 did 1576 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/76337

rem 6th place. Editor with ID 15168 did 1509 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/15168

rem 7th place. Editor with ID 21234 did 1302 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/21234

rem 8th place. Editor with ID 135152 did 1176 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/135152

rem 9th place. Editor with ID 14444 did 906 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/14444

rem 10th place. Editor with ID 16587 did 878 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/16587

rem 11th place. Editor with ID 1288 did 849 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/1288

rem 12th place. Editor with ID 13531 did 815 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/13531

rem 13th place. Editor with ID 12855 did 815 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/12855

rem 14th place. Editor with ID 31615 did 804 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/31615

rem 15th place. Editor with ID 49246 did 763 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/49246

rem 16th place. Editor with ID 1450 did 745 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/1450

rem 17th place. Editor with ID 56338 did 716 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/56338

rem 18th place. Editor with ID 100754 did 693 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/100754

rem 19th place. Editor with ID 811 did 688 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/811

rem 20th place. Editor with ID 1 did 684 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/1

rem 51th place. Editor with ID 22656 did 322 edits...
start http://stackoverflow.com/users/22656
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  • 4
    Ok, I guess 1000 is a fairly reasonable level then. If even Rich B doesn't have 5000 edits... – mmyers Jan 16 '10 at 0:53
  • And I guess I don't edit as often as I thought. But what would the numbers be in the December dump? – mmyers Jan 16 '10 at 0:54
  • How exactly are you extracting this? The only thing I see in the data dump that could quantify edits is post.xml's LastEditorUserId, which only shows the most recent editor of a post. Using only this will under count edits. – Stu Thompson Jan 16 '10 at 7:57
  • @Stu Thompson: see comments to Svante's answer (to this question), meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1524/… – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jan 16 '10 at 14:21
  • You linked to this question :P – Stu Thompson Jan 16 '10 at 16:18
  • @Stu Thompson: yes, I linked to a place inside this question, Svante's answer. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jan 16 '10 at 17:17
  • Doh! OK, yeah, saw that comment earlier. Ta. – Stu Thompson Jan 16 '10 at 20:01
  • I'm pretty sure that's a fairly radical undercount of edits made by me (15168) on SO. Even assuming you disallow edits to my own answers and questions, I'd be rather surprised to find that my total edits was as low as that. 'Last person to edit' - maybe. ISTR asking for an advanced or repeating editors badge - per 1000 edits or thereabouts. At 5-10 edits per day over 18 months (500 days, say)...I'd expect to be in the multiple-thousands range in total. – Jonathan Leffler Feb 15 '10 at 6:48
  • @Jonathan Leffler: thanks for the input. I will review the process that was used to extract this information. I could have made a mistake. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Feb 15 '10 at 20:16
  • Hubris precedeth nemesis, of course. The difference between about 3 edits per day over 500 days and the claimed 5-10 edits per day probably isn't as radical as I'd like to think. I think I do a lot of editing - often just simple typo fixing or cleaning up a question with a tag such as "Improve 'Use of English'". But in the cold light of the next day (OK - not much light - it is 20 to midnight here), maybe I am over-stating what I've done. I'll be interested to see the checked result. What was the site used before meta.stackoverflow.com? I think that was where I requested a super-S&W badge. – Jonathan Leffler Feb 16 '10 at 7:41

Okay, here is an updated query I just made for the Data Explorer format. (Note: this is a very heavy query, so please have mercy on the server if you plan to edit and execute.)

Since the data dump does not contain revision history, the following applies:

  • The query only counts edits where the last editor is the user in question (this could hide one or more edits on a post)
  • The query does not account for edits that were rolled back
  • I'm pretty sure the QuestionEdits number does include retags, not only qualifying edits; the AnswerEdits number should be pure, though

Here are the top 25 usual suspects results for data to the end of June 2010:

User Name         QuestionEdits AnswerEdits TotalEdits 
----------------- ------------- ----------- ---------- 
skaffman          6598          41          6639       
Peter Mortensen   2624          3136        5760       
Jon Seigel        4520          10          4530       
John Saunders     3585          285         3870       
brian d foy       2384          660         3044       
Geoffrey Chetwood 2045          661         2706       
OMG Ponies        2300          49          2349       
marc_s            2273          68          2341       
Joel Coehoorn     1840          201         2041       
Jonathan Leffler  1331          659         1990       
Bill the Lizard   1560          165         1725       
SilentGhost       1533          148         1681       
BalusC            1562          102         1664       
sth               645           742         1387       
John Topley       937           375         1312       
starblue          1171          21          1192       
Pascal Thivent    1111          54          1165       
Sinan Ünür        565           486         1051       
George Stocker    906           124         1030       
Peter Hosey       965           56          1021       
mmyers            795           224         1019       
Georg Fritzsche   936           67          1003       
AnthonyWJones     972           21          993        
Svante            625           299         924        
Roger Pate        713           130         843        
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  • note execution is cached, people can go nuts :) – waffles Jul 8 '10 at 5:20
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    also note, the query we run is somewhat different as we have full access to post history which is missing from the data dump , so the usual suspects are somewhat different, eg shog9 is in the list ... the data dump only catches the last edit – waffles Jul 8 '10 at 5:22
  • @waffles: Yeah, I put a few caveats in my post there on query execution and what's actually included/not included in the results. Although I'm #3 in this list, I'm curious how many of the question edits are actual edits and not just retags. – Jon Seigel Jul 8 '10 at 5:29

I still think this would be a nice badge, and would like to suggest Galley Slave as an alternate name...

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The badge name could be Gnome:

A gnome works behind the scenes to tie up little loose ends, adding ISBNs of books that people mention, tracking down the authorship of "someone once said" quotes, correcting broken links, fixing formatting, and fixing misspellings. [paraphrased]

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I propose "Hart Rules Your Head"

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I like the idea too, although 1000 seems a bit low to me.

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  • Perhaps. 5000 seems too high, though, and there aren't any nice round numbers between them. Is edit information available in the data dump? If so, someone could check how many people would get the badge and any given level. – mmyers Jan 15 '10 at 17:43
  • I've been over the public data dump more than once, and can't fathom how someone could pull a user edit count out of it. – Stu Thompson Jan 15 '10 at 19:33
  • @Stu Thompson: it is not a problem. Use field 'LastEditorUserId'. If the count is not to include a user's edit to his/her own questions and answers then check that the value is different from OwnerUserId. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jan 16 '10 at 0:04
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    @Peter Mortensen: That will surly undercount edits. Many, many posts have more than one editor. – Stu Thompson Jan 16 '10 at 7:58
  • Also, it is not clear to me if this value is set when tags are edited (which does not count towards a S&W badge, but does show up on the question/answer as the last editor.) – Stu Thompson Jan 16 '10 at 8:01
  • @Stu Thompson: yes, you are right about undercounting the edits because of more than one editor. Only the last editor is in the Data Dump. It would be interesting to known the distribution of the number of edits. E.g. what percentage has only one edit? Regarding retagging: I have checked now and the retaggings are in the dump as edits so overcounting happens wrt. the badge. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jan 16 '10 at 14:09
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    @mmyers: are you really serious that "there aren't any nice round numbers" between 1000 and 5000? Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three such numbers. (1024, 2048, 4096.) – ЯegDwight Feb 13 '10 at 20:39
  • @RegDwight: Yes, but they don't have all those zeroes after them. ...Man, I think I just lost a lot of my geek points there. – mmyers Feb 13 '10 at 21:36
  • @mmyers - they all end with zeroes in binary. or hex. or octal. ...now turn in your geek card and write out every odd number between 0x3E8 and 0x1388 a hundred times on the blackboard. – quack quixote Feb 15 '10 at 7:58
  • @~quack: Ok, I did it in C. Do I get my card back yet? – mmyers Feb 15 '10 at 21:13
  • @mmyers: depends. did you use arithmatic or bitwise operators? – quack quixote Feb 16 '10 at 4:04
  • @~quack: They optimize to the same machine code, so I wouldn't worry about it. – mmyers Feb 16 '10 at 4:15

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