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I propose the Stack Overflow Awards. The SOA would be kind of like the Oscars/Emmys/ESPYS/etc, in that it awards Stack Overflow individual members with recognition and more importantly with a svg/gif trophy that they can proudly display next to their thumbnail picture.

There would be between 8 - 16 categories. Any more or less would likely be too little or too many. Each category would have the winner, a runner up, and an honorable mention.

Some example categories would be:

The Most Upvoted Question of 2013:
The Winner: user0230232!
Runner Up: user320323!
Honorable Mention: user328323!
The Most Downvoted Question of 2013:

The Most Viewed Question of 2013:
The Lease Viewed Question of 2013:

Editor in Chief of 2013: (Awarded to whomever has the most accepted edits with no more than .5% rollbacks and no more than 5% declined suggested edits)

Top Reviewer: (most reviews within maximum acceptable audit fails)

Most Talkative: (most comments with minimum of 50 answers that year)

Most Consistent: (visited the site every day for a year and at least left one comment or one answer or one question every day) More than just 3 could win this

I'll leave it at that. Post your ideas and opinions on the SOA's below.

I'm thinking February 20th or 21st would be a good day to have the ceremonies.

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    We already have badges, the top leagues, and the Winterbash. Why do we need another ranking? Note that the Winterbash is there to bridge the Christmas dip in activity (bring in more activity during a period of very little traffic), badges promote positive behaviour and the top leagues drives competition already. Where does this all fit in? – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '14 at 10:41
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    This actually sounds more fun than winterbash, except that skeet would probably win everything – Richard Tingle Jan 8 '14 at 10:43
  • Oh no, not on my watch.. +1! – Leeor Jan 9 '14 at 19:09
  • Most downvoted question -- this is hilarious! – Graviton Nov 2 at 0:44
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We sometimes send top users some gifts when an entire site reaches a milestone, such as graduation, certain year anniversaries, etc. Most of this is automatic.

The problem with that is, top users tend to stay top users, and other consistent but perhaps not as prolific contributors don't receive much of this. That's part of the reason that I began holding the fun impromptu swag contests both here on meta and in chat.

I like the idea of recognizing the people that come to the site every day, spend an hour trying to keep the place clean and provide us with some nice contributions - people from a broader sampling of our extremely long tail.

I don't think this is the way to do it, though. As Jonathan answered, we'd be actively rewarding behaviors that we do not want, and encouraging people to do things for the sake of getting prizes, rather than the simple interest in doing them. Even the hats during our winter bash celebrations are carefully designed to have users do more things that we really want them to do. Some folks just go through the motions, but most put honest effort into it.

I am 100% open to ideas that help us identify and reward the people that give us slow, steady and consistent quality that will likely never appear even in the first 30 pages of top users. I'd also love to recognize shining stars that hit the ground running on our sites and quickly join the ranks of great contributors. If you've got ideas for that, post them here. If you want to talk about them first, my email address is in my profile.

I'm going to decline this one, however. Your heart is definitely in the right place, I like how you're thinking, but the mechanics you've come up with just won't work very well.

Try again, and I'm not kidding - keep going.

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No thank you!

The good things are already rewarded

The things you've listed here that have a constructive merit already have plenty of rewards in rep and/or badges. They don't need more accolades, or a contest or title.

Having a yearly contest for it, anyway, would just see many of the same names popping up regularly in certain spots. So it would just be naming the elite as being elite, which we already knew! They're awesome already.

For the rest of us, having year-round rewards of badges and rep is probably more fun, and the competition is... a little bit irrelevant!

By the way, people in the top rep leagues get free swag from Stack Exchange Inc. for helping the site.

The rest shouldn't be rewarded at all

Some of the rest doesn't matter, some of it isn't worth celebrating (leaving enormous amounts of comments, or being consistent), some of it would be crummy to celebrate (most downvoted question), and some of those things would be bad to encourage (leaving enormous amounts of comments).

I would not want to see any of these activities rewarded, much less would I rather encourage people to do those things to game the system for a reward.

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