I would like to propose that whenever a badge is awarded an additional rep reward is also given (bear with me this isn't just an attempt to get more rep for my badges).

Context of rep

In almost all cases rep is given for subject level knowledge, well researched questions receive upvotes and accurate answers receive upvotes; both requiring subject level knowledge. The only way to gain rep without having subject level knowledge is editing and that’s a slow process at +2 a time.

However; rep opens up increasingly more tools. First convenience tools like comments and posting images then voting and then increasing levels of moderator tools.

Context of badges

Badges on the other hand are awarded for a wide variety of reasons, some subject level like Great-Answer but many are for correctly using the abilities you already have such as Deputy for raising 80 helpful flags or Steward for reviewing.

Badges are shiny and fun to collect but (apart from a few specific ones for moderator elections) have no other effect.


I believe that someone having previously been awarded the Marshal badge for raising 500 helpful flags is a good indication that they'll do a good job of close/reopen voting. Rep with badges would support this.


The main purpose of stack exchange is and always should be answering questions. For these reasons some restrictions should probably be placed on this.

  • Bronze badges should probably get 0 because they are too easy to get.
  • Perhaps a limit should be set on badge based rep (similar to edit based rep) or a ratio limit of badge rep to normal rep (probably too complicated)
  • Perhaps a minimum rep should be required before you start getting badge based rep to avoid people having high rep without ever having posted a well received question/answer (although this can already be achieved with editing)
  • Its also probably excessive to additionally reward badges that result from rep-generating activities, such as Great Answer
  • Easily gamable badges certainly shouldn't generate rep
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    Wouldn't users already have achieved rep increase as a side-effect of earning the badge? – user102937 Sep 12 '13 at 17:26
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    @RobertHarvey Some yes, others no. Reviewing and flagging badges have no rep side effects, in fact the entire moderation sub category has no rep side effects. But you're right additionally rewarding a Great answer badge would be a bit of an icing on the cake – Richard Tingle Sep 12 '13 at 17:27
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    My main concern would be the badge grinders; it's bad enough when someone shoves through 50 bad edits in the review queue, or does 250 questionable reviews, just to get another shiny badge, I don't want them getting rep on top of that. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Sep 12 '13 at 17:32
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    @LBT True, but presumable we want the behaviour that the badge creates (i.e. good edits), otherwise the badge wouldn't exist at all. If people grind through creating 100 good edits then thats a good thing. Bad edits getting approved is a seperate problem – Richard Tingle Sep 12 '13 at 17:33
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    Valid point; good luck fixing the approval system though. Another thing: this would require a finer detection of shady behavior. I can get rep from just getting the Stellar Question badge? Awesome, I'm going to create 100 sock puppet accounts and start favoriting all my questions. Forget voting rings, I'm going to have a Favoriting Ring. And a Comment Up-voting Ring. The only way I'd be up for this is the Deputy and Marshall badges, since that requires some level of moderator approval in the first place. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Sep 12 '13 at 17:46
  • @RichardTingle if they do that, they get 200 rep, surely that's enough? Then they can take a break 'til tomorrow. – hayd Sep 12 '13 at 17:48
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    @LBT what about getting your sock puppets to view your questions to get the Famous Question badge – psubsee2003 Sep 12 '13 at 17:49
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    @psubsee2003 -- shhhhhh. I don't have that one... yet. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Sep 12 '13 at 17:56
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter Can't really argue with that. And skeet's against me! I'm doomed – Richard Tingle Sep 12 '13 at 18:13
  • @LBT that's why it's better to remove the whole badge system. They have no use and only promotes abuse for the people that get excited about getting one. – Michael Sep 12 '13 at 21:59
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    @Michael Im enclined to agree, the seeming pointlessness, ahem, of badges was what inspired this question – Richard Tingle Sep 12 '13 at 22:02

I think your basic premise here is a bit flawed:

The only way to gain rep without having subject level knowledge is editing and that’s a slow process at +2 a time.

However; rep opens up increasingly more tools. First convenience tools like comments and posting images then voting and then increasing levels of moderator tools.

This is certainly true, but why do we want to make it easier for people to solely participate in the non-Q&A activities?

When someone joins a site, their goal shouldn't be editing, flagging, commenting, etc. It should be asking and answering questions, at least to start with. Later on, as people become more familiar with the site, they can (and are encouraged to :)) move on to helping out with moderation activities, but by then they should already have access to the tools they need.

We have 100+ sites. If someone really wants a place where they can just edit posts and leave comments, surely they can find at least one where they're also familiar with the topic.

| improve this answer | |
  • I suppose the perspective im looking at it from is that I wouldn't elect a moderator based on their answers to java questions. Id elect them based on their flagging/voting to close etc etc. So I was suggesting bringing the demi-moderator selection process (aka high rep users) more into line with that – Richard Tingle Sep 12 '13 at 18:27
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    You also probably shouldn't elect a moderator who doesn't at all participate in the Q&A parts of the site. The point isn't just to pick people who can flag with some degree of accuracy, although that is a part of the puzzle. It's to pick community members who are interested in helping run the site. You can't be a productive member of a Q&A site without actually doing the Q&A. – Adam Lear Sep 12 '13 at 18:29
  • O of course, im in no way suggesting getting rid of rep for q&a. Far from it. But im trying to balance the other side – Richard Tingle Sep 12 '13 at 18:33
  • @RichardTingle I know you're not suggesting that. I'm saying that we don't need to make it easier to gain rep without participating in the primary purpose of a Q&A site. There's enough folks willing to backseat-moderate as it is. – Adam Lear Sep 12 '13 at 18:36
  • As someone who's been somewhat active on SO and who's primary activity is asking questions (and answering them when I feel equipped to do so), many of my gold and silver badges come from viewing popularity of questions (i.e. Famous Question = 10,000 views). To the best of my knowledge there aren't any rep. points awarded for posting very popular questions, and I think doing so would add value and be in keeping with your goal. – Chaya Cooper May 3 '17 at 20:43

It's a nice idea, but I'm against this for reasons stated in the comments which I'll summarize here:

  • we don't need to reward badge grinders with reputation; they usually do enough harm as it is, and I don't want to give them more privileges for that
  • people could create all sorts of goofy voting rings, from favoriting questions to upvoting comments
  • you have a lot more minutia to be stored in the system: "Question X had 25 favorites, so now the owner get +25 reputation. Time to update the database and set the flag on the question for the user so we don't accidentally award them +25 rep later on when the question fluctuates between 24 and 26 favorites"

Yes, badges exist to encourage good behavior, but badges should be a nice byproduct of maintaining the site, not the end goal like it is for badge farmers.

Even giving reputation for the Steward and Marshall badges could possibly cause problems; what if people find out that you can get rep for flagging items, and then go flag-happy. Moderators already have a full plate as it is, they don't need a deluge of new flags from users trying to get extra reputation.

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  • Presumably those minutia already exist in the system for the purpose of badge assignment – Richard Tingle Sep 12 '13 at 18:08
  • @RichardTingle - Yeah, I thought of that after I posted it; I'll leave that point in for the time being. Another thought, though: the reputation earned from badges being awarded would have to be taken into account for reputation recalculations. Although is reputation recalculation even a thing anymore? – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Sep 12 '13 at 18:13
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    The first bullet point is enough to discount this feature request. Badges are only there to encourage positive behavior, and that makes the majority of them extremely easy to game. Badges do not represent trustworthiness in this system. – animuson Sep 12 '13 at 18:17

I think this is a great idea for SOME badges. Certainly the Booster, Publicist, Copy Editor, Reviewer, Steward, Deputy and Marshall badges are worthy of a little rep boost, but anything easy to gain through shady means probably shouldn't be awarded the extra prize.

EDIT: To clarify (as per hayd's comment), I'm pointing to badges that are difficult to sockpuppet, and show a level of dedication to making SE a better place. Badges can be added/removed from my list, but my point is if you put that much effort into the site, you're probably doing it for a good reason and deserve the extra prize.

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  • why are they worthy? This doesn't really offer any argument. – hayd Sep 12 '13 at 17:57
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    Why does sharing a link that a bunch of people view (Booster, Publicist) deserve reputation? You didn't contribute anything unique to the site or improve the quality of information here. Others have also stated that this could open us up to new ways of people gaming the reputation system via sock puppets. – Brad Larson Sep 12 '13 at 17:57
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    Maybe not Reviewer and Stewart, if only to deprive robo-reviewers. Good reviewers should earn Deputy/Marshal, Strunk and White/Copy Editor as side-effects of reviewing after enough time. – Anthony Neace Sep 12 '13 at 17:58
  • @BradLarson - I think because it brings attention and recognition to the website, it's worth a boost. You're already getting a silver/gold badge for it, so the rep boost is a nice bonus. That would take a LOT of sockpuppets to get those badges, if someone was that hell-bent on gaming it they'd do it anyway. – Johnny Bones Sep 12 '13 at 18:00
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    @JohnnyBones or a simple proxy service that will run the URL through 10,000 different IP addresses for you. Then all of a sudden I just got a reputation bonus for typing a URL once and not actually attracting any new visitors to the site. – animuson Sep 12 '13 at 18:21
  • @animuson - If someone is THAT desperate for 500 points, give it to 'em... I think people are looking at crazy scenarios. The badges I mentioned are not easy to earn, and the number of abuses would be about as close to nil as you could get. People are gonna game badges, but that shouldn't punish those here who are honest and dedicated to making this a great website. – Johnny Bones Sep 12 '13 at 18:30

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