The gamification of the review queues is often fingered as the culprits incentive for hastily completing review tasks.

The Steward badge is not currently used as any kind of metric, and from discussions I have seen would never be a reliable metric of user worth due to robo reviewers.

Lets just give take away the incentive for them to cause harm to the system.

It's been discussed that There is no shame in using "Skip" and I agree, if you are unsure of the correct action to take using skip is the correct action. So I see no harm in rewarding the user for not making a hasty judgement.

This may actually encourage proper reviewing for those who actually do want to help the community while trying to earn their badge.

Ultimately, I see no harm in making the badge easier to achieve if it mitigates the harm caused by poor reviews. The amount required for the badge could always be increased.

I actually much prefer Gnat's idea to my original thought as it achieves a similar goal, while keeping the value of the gold badge - which is what people are objecting to.

  • 18
    I see no harm in making the badge a little easier to achieve, but you could skip 1000 questions in the Stack Overflow close queue in all of 3 minutes
    – mhlester
    May 20, 2014 at 16:11
  • Badges are still a nice incentive, something to work towards, for people who don't just want to collect shiny things. If some magpie user wants to blindly click a button for 5 minutes, it wouldn't bother me if they got their gold - at least they wouldn't be impacting the system.
    – Amicable
    May 20, 2014 at 16:21
  • 14
    If you take away all value and meaning of the gold badge, you might as well just get rid of the badge.
    – animuson StaffMod
    May 20, 2014 at 16:24

3 Answers 3


I think Skip should (and could) be used to make a badge harder to achieve and teach reviewer a good habit along the way, like:

awarded for 1000 reviews and no less than 25% skip actions

Above means, fewer than 25% skips would block receiving a badge.

Per my experience, a healthier dose would be like 50% skips, but for teaching purposes, 25% could probably be just fine.

Note how has an additional requirement somewhat similar to above:

you must have voted on at least 600 questions and of all your votes ever cast, 25% or more must have been on questions.

Have to admit, my own voting habits were rather heavily tilted on answers at first. This changed right during my first hunt for Electorate badge, which taught me to vote on questions.

Hopefully additional requirement will teach (at least some of) reviewers to be less reluctant to Skip.

  • 4
    This is the best idea so far, it maintains the purpose of the badge while still alleviating the problem caused by gamification.
    – Amicable
    May 21, 2014 at 8:12
  • @mhlester as far as I know "no less than 25%" means opposite: "fewer than 25%" skips would mean no badge. I learned that wording and associated math from Electorate badge, and I am about 200% certain that I know what it means and how it works. If you want to vote down, you better pick some other explanation or no explanation at all than this one
    – gnat
    May 21, 2014 at 21:57
  • 1
    Gah! You are absolutely right. I misread. Now that I realize that I do fully support this and think this is a great idea. My apologies! Vote locked unless you edit the post, at which point you've got my +1
    – mhlester
    May 21, 2014 at 22:01
  • @mhlester I overreacted because I still remember that pain when I discovered that I need to vote on like 100 or 200 more questions for my first Electorate, it was quite a... discovery and it helped me remember that math and wording very well. Of course, later on, I realized how helpful this push was (I love voting on questions now) but that old pain is really hard to forget :)
    – gnat
    May 21, 2014 at 22:06
  • @gnat do you want to go ahead and post this as a separate feature request?
    – Amicable
    May 22, 2014 at 8:18
  • @Amicable not (yet), it would take a bit of time and effort to build a compelling motivation part for this feature. I would like to, but can't tell when I have enough time for this. If you could do this instead, I would appreciate
    – gnat
    May 22, 2014 at 8:30

A steward is one who assumes responsibility for the care/maintenance of something - in this case a review queue. Someone who ignores the content and mashes on the "skip" button is not exercising stewardship and to my mind such a person is not deserving of the Steward badge.

An argument could be made that someone with a certain number of actioned reviews who has also frequently used the "skip" button to pass over things they're not unsure of should be granted a different badge ("restraint"? "responsibility"?) for not merely spamming junk actions in the queue to get the steward badge, but frankly I don't see the value in that either.

Badges should be at least somewhat difficult to obtain - particularly gold ones. They're not a reward just for showing up.

  • Additional gamification won't help negate the damage done from the existing gamification, which is why I prefer Gnat's idea. In principle I agree with what you're saying about gold badges, I just think in it's current state it is doing significant harm.
    – Amicable
    May 21, 2014 at 8:26

Obviously giving away gold badges for three minutes of work is pretty extreme. But the objective of your request still does have merit.

I think the right thing to do is reinforce the positive effect skipping has (fewer erroneous reviews), while still encouraging the actual reviewing.

I propose allowing a small number of skips to count toward the steward badge - no more than 10%. That way you're still required to review at least 900 posts, but the quality of your reviews are likely to be higher, and so arguably still "worth 1000 reviews"

  • If it would be possible to implement this programmatically I wouldn't have too much of an issue with it - provided the totals aren't user-visible. (This is one of the cases where I think transparency in how the badge is obtained actually hurts quality: Someone who has 900 reviews may fill the rest with skips. Someone with 100 skips may go back to spamming lousy reviews to get the badge)
    – voretaq7
    May 20, 2014 at 20:34

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