Disciplined Badge: Deleted own post with score of 3 or higher.

I don't see how this badge affects the community in a positive way, and it might be doing more harm to the community than good.

Even if this badge is moderated for abuse, it wastes the time of moderators for a useless reason: "Some guy deleted a good answer for this stupid bronze badge"

(Negative effects of this badge / Positive effects of this badge)
Is definitely over 1 and I think it should be deleted or stopped from being earned anymore.


To get the Disciplined Badge, you need to delete an answer which is not accepted with 3 or higher score, then undelete it a minute later. You will not lose any reputation this way and earn a free bronze badge, since it is legal and known, I advise everybody to do this.

  • 11
    You'd probably have to show some data that indicates that the badge is doing more harm than good before they'd consider removing it. I don't think I've ever seen a flag arise from this badge in nearly 5 years. Feb 16, 2014 at 17:03
  • true. well seems like it was a bad idea, how do I delete this now?
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:24
  • 3
    Not by replacing the content of the question with "nevermind" [sic]. See here.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:40
  • "best bet would be to edit your question, make it stronger" not gonna work in this case
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:44
  • 5
    I wasn't suggesting you could fix the question; just explaining why it can't be deleted (and prevented you from vandalizing it). There are multiple problems with the question; you're not really seeking any input, people may disagree with your assertion that the badge provides no benefit, and you apparently failed to do any research (see here and here).
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:57
  • 3
    Why do you continue to make trivial edits?
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 16, 2014 at 18:27
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    @AaronBertrand a couple more edits will probably bump this post into CW (see: The “I Get It” Reputation Problem)
    – gnat
    Feb 16, 2014 at 21:34
  • 1
    such a waste, 50 people voted on this stupid question while they could have actually helped someone. posts that get even 20 votes in a couple of hours are really rare on stackoverflow..
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 16, 2014 at 22:28
  • That's because very few good questions are asked these days, and questions that bad are closed and forgotten long before they get that much attention. Also, Stack Overflow is for solving technical problems; this site is more discussion oriented and as such has a lot more people devoting time to discussing how (not) to make the site better.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 1:08
  • 1
    @gnat unfortunate. OP should read this: Is doing repeated edits to something to force CW status abuse?.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 16:05
  • "this is not technically abuse" did i miss something important?
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 17, 2014 at 16:17
  • Apparently, yes.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 19:34

4 Answers 4


Someone deleting an answer with a +3 score is potentially not a good thing, if the answer actually added value and they're just after the badge.

I don't see much point in the badge myself. I don't see that the tiny amount of potentially good behaviour that could possibly be encouraged by it outweighs the potential loss.

The main for arguments given so far are:
Kate Gregory:

sometimes one of them is really not contributing anything


It encourages people to delete incorrect answers, even if they have a score of 3.

An answer with +3 is not likely an incorrect one and is likely to be adding some value. Even if that value is simply a different wording that a handful of people understand more than another answer's wording.

I'm not saying that we should have many variants of the same thing, of course, but arguably, it added value to at least 3 people, even if they just felt it added value to the site!
Is this not what user votes are for and are to signify?
If this is failing, then it's not the badges fault, nor can the badge rectify this, most certainly so being a one-hit-wonder!

If however the +3 answer is deemed as not valuable, then it should be downvoted, and then the user should edit it.

Either way, a "one off" badge shouldn't be the tactical approach to maintaining this issue. Downvotes, comments, and the user removing it due to downvotes are the key players here.

Clean up - does the badge cut it?

Sometimes old questions have over time gathered a few answers, often the answers are pretty much the same (certainly in terms of +value). In this scenario, perhaps deleting an answer with +3 to "clean up" the question is worthwhile.

However, we're not talking about how valuable site clean up is, or users removing dupe answers to help make a question less cluttered (etc).

This question matter was in relation to the specific badge being pointless, and if the above quoted responses are the only arguments for the badge, then the badge is pointless as it's only awarded once - that is, each user only does a "single clean up" once.

There must be better ways to approach this.

If you could win the badge multiple times, perhaps it would be of use for getting users to clean up.

Otherwise, while it may be argued to help, (and yes I'm speculating here) I would bet that there are a lot of people deleting a +3 answer only for the badge and where their answer was actually valuable.
Compared to the small number of users doing it because they thought their answer was not adding value and had a surprise when the badge was given?
It's surely no contest?

You have to also consider that a lot of the clutter and poor answers are simply made by people who do not care.
Users who won't clean up, regardless of a badge or not, and certainly wont be removing their precious +3 voted answers any time soon.

Proof of harm

This is tag specific, but in PHP tag, certainly these days, +3 on a basic question often signifies the answer one should be reading.

It shouldn't be removed.


Of course the badge being there could add some value even by an occasional user cleaning up to get the badge, but again, how many delete an answer which had value?

I still think the badge has more potential to do harm than it could good, especially as the good it can do is so insignificant.

All that said, I certainly don't think it warranted you (Esq) to be so, well, passionate, that you edited this question enough times to make it community wiki, nor to the extent that you argued with people as you did. e.g.:

such a waste, 50 people voted on this stupid question while they could have actually helped someone. posts that get even 20 votes in a couple of hours are really rare on stackoverflow.

  • 1
    Disagree, I had an answer on dba.se that was +8 before someone pointed out a major flaw. I've deleted many others that have had multiple up-votes. Not everyone who's voting is always a capable judge of correctness.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 1:12
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    I also don't buy your argument about the harm it does, for the same reason - not all up-votes are appropriate. I suspect a lot of people in tags like php or MySQL - given the general quality of the questions that have way more up-votes than they deserve - are likely just as generous to answers that don't deserve it.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 1:15
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    In other words, just because an answer is +3 does not mean it is useful, or that it should be kept around. Especially in cases where it's inferior to other answers but doesn't offer anything they don't. You haven't made a compelling argument, IMHO, that there is any harm at all.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 1:16
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    I agree that "not all upvotes are appropriate". However, this does not counter what I said. Your argument that a +3 answer might be poor does not make the badge some amazing resolve. I already stated that if a poor answer has +3 it should be downvoted, comments made, not a badge to get a user to remove it. Why would they remove it at +3? For the badge? What if they don't care about the badge? How do they know their answer is poor to delete it and get this amazing badge? What if they already have the badge? Hence my arguing the badge is mostly pointless, mainly as it can only be used once.
    – James
    Feb 17, 2014 at 2:19
  • My answer above is not black & white, & I used terms such as "likely" and "possibly", & I considered opposing arguments to most of what I wrote. Also, your entire argument is based on the premise that a +3 answer isn't necessarily good, and you gave an example of a +8 being poor. But how often is this true? In order for your argument to be even remotely valid, you'd have to argue that "most" +3 or more answers are poor, & this is surely not what you are saying? As said, in PHP tag, "mostly" a +3 answer is a good one, users shouldn't be tempted into removing said answer for a poultry badge.
    – James
    Feb 17, 2014 at 2:26
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    shrug I don't know why the fact that most +8 answers aren't poor makes the badge useless. I've already said all I'm going to say about this.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 2:35
  • @AaronBertrand Not sure what your argument is now. I thought you were arguing that answers with high up votes can be poor & so deleted? You stated "I had an answer that was +8 before someone pointed out a major flaw. I've deleted many others that had multiple up-votes" but now you state "I don't know why the fact most +8 answers aren't poor makes the badge useless". Surely if +8 answer is not poor the badge is useless because no-one would remove their answer? 1. so they don't lose their deserved rep, and 2. as it removes value from the question
    – James
    Feb 17, 2014 at 3:04
  • Thank you James. Well constructed argument. @aaron It is usually better to edit and improve the answer with +3 instead of deleting it. It might not be doing any harm, but its not doing any good either.
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 17, 2014 at 6:03
  • @Esq not if improving it just turns it into a duplicate answer.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 11:19
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    All people don't understand the same way, different answers for the same question can be applied to different type of new problems. Often enough, I see that the answer with 5 votes is clearer than the one with 50 votes. You want the guy with 5 votes to delete his good answer just because it wasn't voted enough?
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 17, 2014 at 11:54
  • @Esq that's not what I said at all. shrug
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 17, 2014 at 13:24
  • "An answer with +3 is not likely an incorrect one and is likely to be adding some value." - by that logic, who would ever want to close questions with 40+ upvotes? Feb 22, 2014 at 5:45
  • @DanDascalescu Are you saying an answer +3 answer in PHP tag is not necessarily a good one? Not sure what you mean
    – James
    Feb 22, 2014 at 13:07
  • What I mean is that your motivations are admirable (preserving content that adds value) but unfortunately SO is rife with deletionists that close questions then wipe them out. Feb 22, 2014 at 13:10
  • Yeah it happens, although a 1 year old question about a moderator deleting a 4 year old question, which the community mostly believe shouldn't have been deleted, does not falsify my argument that a +3 question in PHP tag is likely a good answer and shouldn't be deleted. In fact, I'm struggling to see the relevance TBH.
    – James
    Feb 22, 2014 at 14:42

I disagree. Often several people answer a question all at once. Some of the answers are short, some are long. They all get upvotes because they're all right, but sometimes one of them is really not contributing anything.

This badge rewards the person who says "never mind, my contribution here really doesn't add anything" and who does so not just "but it might earn me rep even though it's not great" but "but it has already earned me rep". Doing this makes the site better.

Sure, it can be gamed. (Heck, you can undelete the answer afterwards and keep the badge.) So what? Its mere existence teaches us there are plenty of reasons to delete an answer, not just "well I was wrong I should delete that."

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    There was one time I posted an answer that got 3 upvotes but a experienced user pointed out it was not precisely correct. Then, I deleted it to not mislead future readers (I felt disciplined). Feb 16, 2014 at 16:11
  • @Andre of course, you could have also made it more precisely correct. :-) Unless that would just turn it into another, existing answer. I think the more common situation is when the answer got a bunch of up-votes quickly but it turns out that it doesn't offer anything that another, earlier answer doesn't also offer.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 16, 2014 at 16:48
  • @AaronBertrand, agree. That occasion it was a question asking for shapefile boundaries in India's municipalities. What I had got was India's districts data (and they were also outdated). I could not improve the answer as I did not find the correct information. Feb 16, 2014 at 16:55

I don't see how this badge affects the community in a positive way

It encourages people to delete incorrect answers, even if they have a score of 3.

it might be doing more harm to the community than good.

I don't see why. I don't think that anyone would throw away 30 rep points or more just to get that badge. And if it's actually a good answer, then the OP would probably get more upvotes (and more rep) later, and most people prefer rep and not a bronze badge.

  • It also encourages people to delete correct answers which have a score of 3..
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 16, 2014 at 15:32
  • 1
    @Esq yes it does, and that's a feature, not a bug Feb 16, 2014 at 15:41
  • i did not post this as a bug, i posted as feature request (or removal in this case)
    – Esqarrouth
    Feb 16, 2014 at 15:42
  • @Esq that's just a saying. I mean that encouraging people to delete correct answers under the right circumstance is actually a good thing and one of the reasons the badge exists. Feb 16, 2014 at 15:49
  • @LowerClassOverflowian Huh? Can this only ever happen to any user once?
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 16, 2014 at 16:49
  • @AaronBertrand: You can only get the Disciplined badge once.
    – ProgramFOX
    Feb 16, 2014 at 16:56
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    @ProgramFOX Yes, I know that. What I was saying is that the behavior could still persist beyond that - the badge teaches you about a certain behavior, and hopefully you continue. I still up-vote good, competing answers, even though I earned the Sportsmanship badge years ago. If it weren't for the badge I might still be stingy and selfish.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:00
  • @AaronBertrand: It's still good behavior if you delete incorrect answers with a score of 3 or more.
    – ProgramFOX
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:02
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    @ProgramFOX ok, but that's not what I'm talking about at all. LowerClass suggested that this could only encourage the behavior to delete a correct answer once. And while I agree that may be true for some people (the badge seekers), I don't agree it's true for all - sometimes the mere existence of a badge reinforces a behavior long after the badge can no longer be earned.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:02

Here's an example that recently came to my attention (it got its 3rd up-vote in the last 24 hours) that shows why learning the lesson from the Disciplined badge can help guide future decisions that are better for the site. I answered this question from 2010:

How can I create valid connection string by using shared memory protocol to connect a named instance of sql server?

My answer is incorrect. I state that there is no way to force this behavior, as I was not aware - at the time - of the lpc: prefix. Two and a half years later, a correct answer was posted to the question. This was an answer I didn't even notice had been added until today.

I am surprised that my answer has three up-votes and no down-votes, and that the more correct answer - present for over a year now - only has two up-votes. This may be an indication that nobody needs the lpc: prefix to force this behavior, because it should happen without it.

That all said, just because three people found my incorrect answer useful, does not magically make it correct, or even useful. My alternatives are to delete it, or to edit it to make it correct (which would mean essentially changing it to say the same thing as the other answer). So I will be deleting it later today; I wanted to leave it up for now for posterity (in case anyone reading this is not 10k on SO). I did put a strike-through against the most incorrect statement in the answer.

This is exactly the kind of thing the badge is intended to foster. IMHO. Hopefully you agree that my incorrect answer should be deleted, in spite of having three up-votes. Many of us care a lot more about the integrity of the site and the correctness of answers than a measly 30 reputation points. Which don't even buy me a coffee stirrer.

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