Stack Overflow has quite a lot of tags with small number of questions.
Most of the time, it's very hard to get even a bronze badge for tags with less than 500 questions and it's literally impossible to a get silver or gold badge (there are just not enough questions and views to do so). On top of that, the number of views and upvotes in these small tags are quite low most of the time. So, users doesn't get too much reputation for their efforts either.
As result, users are disincentivized from participating in small tags.
Does it make sense to introduce a badge for being one of the top 5 answerers for small tags as an incentive for activity in small tags?
- a bronze medal for being in top 5 answerers for small tag
- and silver medal for being a top answerer for small tag.
- definition of small tag: tag with more than 100 questions (we don't want to start giving badges for answering one question in a 5-questions tag) and less than 1000 questions.
BTW waffles in this (kind of unrelated question) question Remove the 25% requirement from the "Unsung Hero" gold badge wrote:
The concept here is to give these "poor users" that participate in tags that are not wildly followed or upvoted or happen to answer less popular questions some extra incentive to keep on making Stack Overflow better.
And I believe that's exactly what will be accomplished by such badges.
Kind of related question:
Update 1 (Amount of small tags on Stack Overflow)
I did a StackExchange query and found that there are about 7k of tags with 100 to 1000 questions (it looks like this is a little bit too broad) and about 3.5k of tags with 200 to 1000 (this is more reasonable).
Update 2 (Efforts to get to top 5 for a small tag)
Just to put it in perspective. I work on two-three tags like that. I spend about a year actively investing in them: - closing bad question - retagging questions - answering questions (including doing some research to do that).
And I got to top 5 for all them. However, it wasn't a piece of cake. As I mentioned, it took me a year, I had to answers 40-50 questions (in some cases 25% of total number of questions in tag). So, it's definitely not "everybody gets a trophy".
Update 3 (Gaming the system)
Concerning badge hunters. I believe it will be reasonably hard to game the system here. As example, it will require creation of new tag, retagging or posting there hundred questions. Getting upvotes on these questions to get to the top. I would say it's too much work for getting one bronze medal. There are way simpler methods to do so. As example anybody can write up 100 semi-trivial questions and wait until they will reach reach 1k and 2.5k views.
Update 4 (Quantification of the problem and the solution)
I can't image the way how you can quantify decrease in activity on StackOverflow because of such problem and changes which will bring new badges.
Actually, I believe huge amount of features on SO is implemented based on feeling of multiple people vs actual statistical proof.
The only statistic which I can show is that there are several thousands on such tags and people who work on them.