In my place of employment, if someone goes above and beyond to help you, you can nominate them for an award. That award comes with a plaque, as well as a bonus check. It really promotes a positive work environment, and gives incentive to continue to do the best you can do.

I was wondering if something like this can/should be implimented on SE. Obviously not a monetary award, but could we have the ability to nominate someone for a "cookie". A special badge that they could have. A hat they can wear. A unicorn or a piece of toast for their profile. Whatever it may be. For you jocks out there, think of the "Stargell Stars" from the 70's-era Pirates, or high school/college football teams that have stickers on their helmets. Just something that says, "Hey, this guy stuck with me and got me a great answer", or "This guy exemplifies what SE is all about".

I envision it as something where it is submitted to a peer review with a high rep floor. 10K or something. People who obviously know when someone has gone "above and beyond". Similar to reviews, it has to be approved by 3 or 4 or 5 people.

All this is wide open to policy tweaking, I'm just trying to lay the idea out and see what people think.

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    Another review queue? Let us empty the close votes one first and get back to you. – Frédéric Hamidi Dec 17 '13 at 19:32
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    "Obviously not a monetary award" I disagree. Throw money at me. – Geobits Dec 17 '13 at 19:33
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    If the laudable behavior comes in the form of an answer, you can give the user a bounty. (Or, if they didn't supply an answer, and you're really dedicated to it, find a great answer from that user and award the bounty there. I'm less enthusiastic about that, though, since the bounty isn't actually related to the answer.) – apsillers Dec 17 '13 at 19:33
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    @Generic, remember to dodge ingots. – Frédéric Hamidi Dec 17 '13 at 19:34
  • @FrédéricHamidi - On SO, maybe. But I'm talking about across the site. Not all queues are that large. – Johnny Bones Dec 17 '13 at 19:34
  • @apsillers - Good idea, but if you're relatively new and don't have much rep, there's nothing to give. – Johnny Bones Dec 17 '13 at 19:36
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    I love it! We can call the cookies "badges", and any time the user posts a good question or answer, we can give them points. We can call that "reputation" or something shnazzy like that. – n00b Dec 17 '13 at 19:36
  • @Johnny, true. Despite my best efforts, I still tend to consider Meta as the "per-site" meta for SO for some reason. – Frédéric Hamidi Dec 17 '13 at 19:37
  • @n00b - C'mon, man. I'm talking about "above and beyond". Think outside the box for a minute. – Johnny Bones Dec 17 '13 at 19:38
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    I've long thought it would be cool to have something like this - although not so much for individual situations, than for longstanding little recognized service to the site that is not rewarded by badges and rep. Like, really good edits all the time and stuff – Pekka Dec 17 '13 at 19:41
  • @Pekka, we already have kind of this: the diamond. Longstanding service to the site could culminate into nomation for a moderator position, I suppose :) – Frédéric Hamidi Dec 17 '13 at 19:42
  • @Frédéric true. But I know plenty of users who'll never be a mod who would deserve the recognition. – Pekka Dec 17 '13 at 19:44
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    That would become politics-based instead of merit-based in, oh, about two minutes. Unfortunately. At minimum, the positive voters should be public, so people who give out frivilous gold stars/attaboys/unicorns or form rings will at least be noticed. – Monica Cellio Dec 17 '13 at 20:01
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    @MonicaCellio You think it'd be merit based for a whole two minutes. What an optimist. – Servy Dec 17 '13 at 20:03
  • @Servy: on a small site, rolloout at 4AM average-user timezone, and I didn't actually say that it would last that long -- just that it wouldn't last longer. :-) (Besides, it'd take people a minute or so to figure out the nomination UI, during which time they'd ask five MSO questions about it.) – Monica Cellio Dec 17 '13 at 20:20

To an extent, a high reputation and a bunch of badges already say "this guy exemplifies...". By creating another badge-of-honor for that and allowing only high-rep users to award/vote on it, it just seems like a high-rep-user ego-boosting circle.

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  • To an extent, I agree. But it can also be done by attrition. A "Purple Heart" (no disrespect to any military personnel here), if you will, isn't given to everyone who finishes the war. – Johnny Bones Dec 17 '13 at 19:44
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    True, but that's what badges are for, specific circumstances that aren't covered by rep. Some are rarer than others, just the same as medals. For instance, everyone who finishes the war is given a campaign medal for it. Many(but not all) are given commendation medals, etc. – Geobits Dec 17 '13 at 19:47
  • Yes, and you can make a point that the "Great Answer" badge says the person is an asset to SE. I'm just thinking about the people who you sometimes see go back and forth and try different things and stick with it and eventually get an answer that the OP can use. It just seems like there should be something that recognizes that effort, to ecourage more people to make that effort. A lot of times people drop off a question because they don't have an immediate answer and they're hunting for upvotes/checkmarks so they move on. – Johnny Bones Dec 17 '13 at 19:51
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    I dunno. I feel that if an answerer has to go through that much effort, going back and forth with the OP, odds are it wasn't a clear, specific question to begin with. There are exceptions, but what exactly should the standards be for it? If there's nothing concrete, then we'll be flooded with nominations. – Geobits Dec 17 '13 at 20:04

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