Before you rush to say "No, that's a terrible idea! We have it as silver for a reason and you're going to accept that reason or else we'll taunt you a second time!" listen to my reasoning first.

So we have three tiers of badges for number of votes on an answer; Nice/Good/Great Answer for 10/25/100 votes respectively. Then we have the Enlightened badge for being the first to answer and get accepted with 10+ votes. That's a silver badge and may I point out that 10 is 25 divided by 2.5. Obviously. So let's take a look at the gold tier.... 100 votes divided by 2.5 is 40. Lo and behold! we have a badge that you get for having an accepted answer with 40+ votes. The Guru badge. But it is silver not gold. Wait, what? That can't be right. No, it says right there, it is a silver badge.

As far as I can tell, gold badges are supposed to be strictly harder than any silver counterpart and, usually but not always, the progression should go bronze-silver-gold. Now it seems to me that all that needs to be done to make the Guru badge the gold counterpart of Enlightened is to add the requirement that yours be the first answer. As it stands, I understand that Guru can't be gold without adding that requirement because it is possible to get the Guru currently without getting Enlightened. But one must see how this would fill a needed niche. It would balance out the Gold badges for answering with those for asking and it would provide gold badges associated with being an accepted answer and not just an answer among the crowd.

Guru already carries 2 out of the 3 requirements that the gold tier counterpart of Enlightened would have. It is 4 times the number of required votes of Enlightened and the answer has to be accepted. I find it quite interesting that the people who made this badge considered the timing of the answer to be the one distinguishing feature that separates gold from silver. As it is, you get a silver badge. But if we required your answer to be the first answer, oh then you'd deserve gold. No question. Now I won't argue that there is something to be said for the timing and that being the first answer and getting accepted is more significant than being the second answer and getting accepted. But this is kind of ridiculous; the Guru badge meets all the conditions of being a gold-tier badge except for the timing of the answer. So what I'm suggesting is that we give it the respect it deserves. I suggest we either add the requirement of being the first answer to Guru or remove it from Enlightened. But either way, they are so similar and so fitting (10 is to 25 what 40 is to 100) that I feel I will get less disagreement from this suggestion than from most other badge-change requests.

Also, this could easily be made into a 3 badge system if another bronze badge is added at 4 votes; although this badge would be ridiculously easy to get and I don't think it is as good an idea as simply making Guru into the gold counterpart of Enlightened.

So that's my suggestion. Let's have Guru be made into the gold counterpart of Enlightened by adding the first answer requirement to Guru or removing it from Enlightened (removing it from Enlightened would also help to deal with the Fastest Gun in the West problem).

  • 1
    Guru has nothing to do with being first. Why the need to make this a gold badge? Dec 8, 2014 at 15:51
  • Exactly what behaviour would a gold version of Guru promote or reward, where that behaviour is currently lacking (e.g. we'd like to see more of that behaviour)? Remember, badges are not just there for you to hunt; badges are drivers, not goals. Dec 8, 2014 at 15:55
  • @MartijnPieters As I mentioned, Guru would have to be modified to include the first answer requirement in order to be made gold.
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:56
  • 2
    And I disagree with there being a void .. glaringly present. There is just one 'accepted first answer' badge. There are lots of other badges that don't come in twos or threes. And there is a flip side to enlightened: people that hunt them might actively do harm with bad initial answers just to be first to have posted, in pursuit of this badge. We don't need more of that behaviour. Dec 8, 2014 at 15:57
  • I saw how you want Guru to be made gold, that is not what I am asking. I am asking why you want that. And I want you to tell me how it would benefit the site (e.g. what good behaviour would it reward). Dec 8, 2014 at 15:58
  • @MartijnPieters Why do I want it? I want it because the requirements for it to constitute a gold badge are so close to being fulfilled that it would be nice to just make it gold. I don't know how it will benefit the site, but I also don't know how the existence of the Enlightened badge benefits the site. I suppose it would benefit the site in a similar way. My motivations are purely in the pursuit of consistency
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 16:57
  • But there is no such consistency elsewhere. You picked an arbitrary standard to aim for. Dec 8, 2014 at 17:03
  • @MartijnPieters Okay, so I also included the possibility that the first answer requirement is dropped from Enlightened, which would still make Guru gold-worthy. What is the problem with that suggestion?
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:07
  • 1
    But why the desire to make Guru a gold badge? It is not that hard to obtain. Dec 8, 2014 at 17:09
  • @MartijnPieters I'm from Physics.SE. There, 110 Guru badges have been obtained. 274 Famous Question badges have been obtained. Clearly, Guru is more difficult than Famous Question, which is a gold badge, so its level of difficulty is not less than that required for a gold badge
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:12
  • I'd like to also point out that we have 44k questions and 70k answer. So proportionally, the badge is much harder to obtain
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:14
  • Nowhere is it stated that all silver badges must be easier to obtain than all gold badges. I have a pile of 37 Guru badges on Stack Overflow, if those were gold they'd make up 2/3rds of all my gold badges. They are not gold badge material. Dec 8, 2014 at 17:29
  • 2
    @MartijnPieters Congratulations on the impressive collection of Guru badges. As I said, I have no motivations for making this a gold badge beyond trying to rectify a perceived inconsistency. To that end I argue in favour of making Guru gold. If you disagree with me on the grounds that it is too easy to acquire, that is your prerogative, but your reasoning of "not all gold badges are harder to acquire than silver badges" would apply to that point as well. I'd also like to point out that ease of acquisition is not relevant so long as it is sufficiently harder than any silver counterpart
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 18:02

3 Answers 3


To be honest, I had this proposal but deleted it because it wasn't supported. Later I agreed, however, that making the Guru badge gold wouldn't be right.

Then we have the Enlightened badge for being the first to answer and get accepted with 10+ votes. That's a silver badge and may I point out that 10 is 25 divided by 2.5. Obviously. So let's take a look at the gold tier.... 100 votes divided by 2.5 is 40. Lo and behold! we have a badge that you get for having an accepted answer with 40+ votes. The Guru badge. But it is silver not gold. Wait, what? That can't be right. No, it says right there, it is a silver badge.

(I emphased the key phrases)

One of the reasons why "Enlightened" is the silver badge, while "Nice Answer" is bronze and "Guru" isn't gold, but silver is that it requires the answer to be first, not only be accepted. Answering first is actually more difficult than answering second and so on. When you are going to answer a question and see that it has already an answer, a first answer, it can (and sometimes does) become a tip, a kind of ground for you.

Note that "Guru" doesn't require to be first at all, so you can see that someone already answered and, basing on your knowledge, Internet and the existing answer(s) can write more in-depth answer than other ones.

Yes, requirement for being as first answer is removed, instead your answer must score 4 times more votes. And sometimes it is even more simple than providing a first answer scoring more than 10 votes, because you are in hurry. Remember also that answering first and scoring the score of forty gives you a bonus: you get both the badges :)

  • Yeah, I actually focused on this point in paragraphs 3 and 4
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:50
  • Yep, but your final proposal is... to make "Guru into the gold counterpart of Enlightened".
    – nicael
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:53
  • Answering a question with a score of 100 gives you 3 badges. Getting more than 1 isn't a valid reason. Also, nothing prevents you from giving a placeholder answer first and then using the internet and other sources to update it afterward. You can make edits based on other answers too. It is surprisingly easy to get a first answer and later update it to a great answer that would get the forty
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:55
  • And my final proposal assumes that the necessary changes would be made; ie add the first to answer requirement to Guru
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:55
  • "nothing prevents you from giving a placeholder answer first. You can make edits based on other answers too." - No, thats not a right thing to do at all. Cheating is the name of it. I guess it could be punished.
    – nicael
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:58
  • @nicael: What? Since when has updating your answer based on others insight considered cheating? There's a whole thread about how it's actually okay to do that, separately shog9 advocates it.
    – Kyle Kanos
    Dec 8, 2014 at 16:10
  • @Kyle Cheating is creating a placeholder answer.
    – nicael
    Dec 8, 2014 at 16:42
  • Perhaps this suggestion may not be as nice on larger sites like SO or superuser. I'm used to medium-sized and smaller sites where the difference made by taking the time to answer well or by updating an answer doesn't mean you will no longer be the first answer. But it occurs to me that whatever actions the Enlightened badge rewards could surely be rewarded again with a gold level badge. If this change would make users more likely to put in placeholders (which I agree is cheating in the manner you are imagining it) then does Enlightened not already encourage that behaviour?
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:03
  • 1
    @nicael: If by "placeholder answer" you mean posting a few characters just to get the first post, then I'd agree with you. Otherwise I disagree and so does most of the network.
    – Kyle Kanos
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:07

Guru as currently defined is very hard to get on smaller sites. Your change would take that badge out of circulation entirely on such sites for all practical purposes.

Guru is hard enough to get (outside of large sites) that perhaps it should be gold with its current definition. But we shouldn't redefine it out of reach; either leave it alone and ask for a new gold successor to Enlightened, or promote Guru to gold with no changes, or just shrug and carry on.

  • I feel for the smaller sites, I honestly do. Trying to maintain equilibrium between small and large sites is always so challenging. Perhaps, though, removing the first answer requirement from Enlightened and making Guru gold would be more palatable and beneficial for small sites?
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 18:16

Why not make a new badge?

Currently, Guru is much easier to get on a high traffic site than on a more moderately trafficked site. This makes it look like a silver badge but only on a couple sites.

So you could make the gold badge have to be rare and get rarer over time. The simple thing would be to make it a percentage (e.g. a top 1% answer). So the requirements would be

  • first to answer
  • accepted
  • top scoring

You could call this Soothsayer which would indicate both prescience (answering without the benefit of other answers) and eminence (the respect of one's peers).

Note: while I suggested top 1%, I don't actually know what that percentage should be. It might be .1% or .01% to make the badge appropriately rare. It might even make sense for the criteria to be more complex than a percentage so that it becomes more difficult faster.

Yes, this would make the badge easier to get early in a site's existence. Of course, that's true of Guru as well. Good posts naturally add more votes over time. So a post that gets a +10 early may eventually get up to +40 as more people find it via search.

  • So you propose leaving Guru as is and adding a new badge that fulfills those three requirements?
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2014 at 18:03
  • Yes. That would sidestep issues of the flag being too easy to get on Stack Overflow and also avoid taking away existing Guru badges that don't meet the criteria.
    – Brythan
    Dec 8, 2014 at 18:06
  • -1, i don't think that having the requirement change over time is a good idea.
    – Scimonster
    Dec 8, 2014 at 18:53

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