A couple of months ago, I suggested a set of badges for asking questions. The responses were... mixed. The top answer can be summarized:
In practice, all this would do is encourage people to ask yet more stupid, worthless questions and we have quite enough of that as it is.
We believe that one of the main things holding back many of our beta sites is that when people have questions they aren't in the habit of asking on the site. Even our flagship site, Stack Overflow, doesn't get many questions from its most knowledgeable users. Perhaps they don't have questions, but far more likely they find answers without needing to ask. Our subtle bias against asking (questions => clueless) means we lose out on what might be our best source of excellent questions.
So we went back to the drawing board and designed a badge set that should not encourage worthless questions:
Asked a well-received question on X separate days, and maintained a positive question record.
In order to award badges, we need to define our terms:
- positive question record
(total questions - negative questions - closed - deleted)/total questions >= 0.5
It triple counts a question that is downvoted, closed, and deleted. If you ask one that hits that trifecta, you'll need to ask three better questions to dig yourself out. My own record of asking does not meet the criteria:
(44 - 0 - 12 - 12)/44 = 0.4545...
My public record looks a lot better; I had a bunch of questions from the beta period that have been subsequently (and rightfully) deleted. With care, I could bring my record into positive territory with 4 questions. The takeaway is that people can't sweep past indiscretions under the rug by deleting them. And they can recover from a bad start as long as they don't ask more bad questions.
well-received question on X separate days
A well-received question is one that's open, not deleted, and has a score > 0. If you ask at least one well-received question in a UTC day and none of your questions that day are deleted, downvoted, or closed, you get one more day of credit toward the badge. Whenever the badge criteria is checked, previous asking days are re-evaluated so that there's an incentive to fix downvoted and/or closed questions. The no-deleted-questions criteria is to prevent people from asking several questions at once and deleting any that aren't upvoted or answered to ask another day. (Though this is a losing strategy in the long run.)
My proposed badge names and levels:
Asked a well-received question on 5 separate days, and maintained a positive question record.
Asked a well-received question on 30 separate days, and maintained a positive question record.
Asked a well-received question on 100 separate days, and maintained a positive question record.
In addition, since some outstanding individuals ask on more than 100 days, the gold badge may be awarded multiple times. Over on English, Oishi-sama (now a community moderator) would have a remarkable 5 Socratic badges. Bronze and silver badges are only awarded once.
Neither the names nor the levels nor even the descriptions are set in stone. Please play around with this query to get an idea of how the badge works using our public data. Since the query does not account for deleted questions, it's a bit more generous than the actual badges would be.
This version of the badge set should encourage a habit of well-received questions over time and encourage people to fix poorly received questions.
I'd like to express my gratitude to the Parenting community for participating in our experiments.
Even our flagship site, Stack Overflow, doesn't get many questions from its most knowledgeable users. Perhaps they don't have questions, but far more likely they find answers without needing to ask.There are plenty of questions from experts. It's just that your idea of what "many questions" means has been utterly trampled on by the 500,000 per minute from newbies.