My idea :

Every user will have his "Referral link" (for example: https://stackoverflow.com/referral/1952862) and can publish it in different places, share it with friends, etc. For each registration of a new user using his referral link he will receive e.g 10 reputation points. My idea will encourage users to promote our network and we'll earn new users.

Badge requests :


  • Type: Bronze

  • Description: Invited 1 user with a reputation higher than 50

??? (I haven't got an idea for a name)

  • Type: Silver

  • Description: Invited 25 users with a reputation higher than 50

??? (I haven't got an idea for a name)

  • Type: Gold

  • Description: Invited 100 users with a reputation higher than 75


If you're giving me downvotes please tell me why!


For everybody who downvoted my question :

Do you not understand? If we will get new users, our network will earn more on advertisements and will be more popular!

  • 11
    Noooooo no no no no! Stack Overflow is not a social network. -1
    – Doorknob
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:07
  • Aside from Doorknob's point, you wouldn't be able to invite users that have 50+ reputation anyway as they'd already be members of the site to have gained that rep in the first place.
    – JonW
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:09
  • On Meta people downvote questions because they do not like the suggestion, and upvote for those suggestions they do like.
    – JonW
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:12
  • If the idea behind this is to promote Stack Overflow then I'd say that's not really necessary. Just do a search on Google. Jul 29 '13 at 9:13
  • 1
    @JonW - He mean: User joined and earned 50 rep after his invitation. IMO Jul 29 '13 at 9:13
  • 1
    What's wrong with the announcer/booster/publicist badges that you believe this will fix?
    – Oded
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:15
  • That badges are for sharing questions or answers, not inviting users
    – anon
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:16
  • 1
    Ah, but that's because the main assets of the Stack Exchange sites are questions and answers, not users. Jul 29 '13 at 9:17
  • @FrédéricHamidi But without users there will be not questions and answers !
    – anon
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:18
  • 2
    @Ty221 But there are users...
    – Doorknob
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:19
  • 3
    I'd rather have the site's content pull users in (and with its Google strength that's likely to happen), than have some arbitrary "I know you, you know me" mechanism do so.
    – Bart
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:20
  • 3
    Again. It's not about making the users the product. The product is still the questions and answers. From what I've seen the SE network doesn't exactly have a problem drawing new users. It has a problem drawing quality content.
    – J. Steen
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:24
  • 1
    Quality questions and answers are bringing in users. Or at the very least visitors. So that's what we have to focus on.
    – Bart
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:28
  • 2
    You already have sufficient means to tell others about this great site you know. There is no need for an entire mechanism that gets you rep and badges. And as I've argued before, dragging users onto the site might not be the best approach to begin with.
    – Bart
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:33
  • 2
    @Ty221 Why is being (even) more popular a good thing? For the larger sites of the network (i.e. Stack Overflow), I'd say we should be looking for ways to become less popular (in certain circles, at least).
    – yannis
    Jul 29 '13 at 10:17


Stack Overflow is not a social network. Users gaining rep for... knowing people is not right - rep is a measure of how much the community trusts you, and how much knowledge you have contributed to the site.

Also, I don't see the point in this. We already have a LOT of users, and a LOT of new users coming in daily. Also, SO is pretty much the most well-known programming Q&A site there is. We usually rank in first or second when you Google a programming problem. We're not about to have a new-user-deficiency or anything.

  • 3
    Agree with all of this except your closing line. All sites need new users and fresh blood, otherwise it just gets stale and eventually dies out.
    – JonW
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:16
  • @JonW - Edited.
    – Doorknob
    Jul 29 '13 at 9:18
  • Yes, just imagine how stale Stack Overflow would go if we didn't have 3500 new questions posted on Android programming every day...
    – Cody Gray
    Jul 29 '13 at 11:32
  • LOL...the first thought that popped into my head when I read this question was: There's already a very effective mechanism for promoting Stack Overflow to new users. It's called "Google".
    – Adi Inbar
    Feb 23 '14 at 21:38

SE is not a social network. It's not about who you know it's abut what you know.

There are enough ways to game the reputation system already without adding more ways to earn reputation without actually demonstrating knowledge or ability to write good questions and answers.

Site promotion is good, but the "unit" of measure for this should be related to questions and answers. Signing somebody up is not an end in itself. On the other hand posting a link to a useful question or answer you have created will already net you a reputation bonus. This mechanism makes it advantageous for you to both author quality posts and promote their exposure to new users.

Promoting users over content would tend to cause the content to suffer. If the goal was signing up new users and getting them above a certain rep level, you would be motivated to upvote their content even if it was bad content even if it was junk. The reputation system needs to be independent of as many factors as possible so that it is a proper incentive to write good questions and answers, not find ways around doing that.


You propose two things: a reputation award for the person doing the referring, and a family of badges for referrals. Most of your question is about the latter, but I suspect the former is why you have all those downvotes.

Reputation is earned for what you do on the site. (The association bonus is the only exception, and its rationale is different.) Vicarious bonuses because you got somebody else to do something (in this case, join and earn rep) are out of line. When a user joins and participates, that user earns rep and those contributions benefit the site. The fact that you're the person who whispered "hey, check out SO" in someone's ear really doesn't matter to the site.

Badges, on the other hand, are harmless. We have a similar set of badges already (Announcer etc), so the principle is sound, but it's not clear what the additional benefit of your proposed badges would be. I'm not opposed to badges, but I don't think a strong case has been made either, so it doesn't seem worth the developer time now. That could change if there's a good argument and the effort is low.

  • This is a five-year-old question that should never have been bumped in the first place. The main problem facing SE nowadays is not attracting new visitors or new members but fixing the diaspora of disenchanted veteran users across the entire network.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 25 '18 at 6:07

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