Poking around the people's profiles to see how the new activity page looks I keep seeing things like this:

0/1 have positive record

It looks strange to have a 25/5 progress on a badge, but the dialog explains that what this user is missing is a positive record of asking. The formula is:

(total questions - negative questions - closed - deleted)/total questions >= 0.5

If you look at this user's questions, it's hard to see how his asking record could be anything but exceptional. According to SEDE his asking record is 0.875. The problem is that he asked many of his questions in the early days of the site that were well-received, but later deleted. Some were deleted after the question was migrated to another site.

My suggestion is that we change the asking record formula:

(total questions - negative questions - closed - early deleted)/total questions >= 0.5

The early deleted variable counts only questions deleted within 60 days of being asked. I picked 60 days because it's the dividing line between being able to keep reputation and losing it. After looking through the list of people who would get the Curious badge on Stack Overflow with this change, I noticed a few things:

  • Many of them have self-deleted questions on their record. Often these are questions that were asked and basically ignored. After a few months, the original asker went back and deleted their question. It's hard to know what happened in each individual case, but my guess is that they never found a solution to their specific question and worked around the issue instead. (I have a few of those, but I'm not courteous enough to delete them.)

  • These users don't tend to ask the same question over and over again. I ran a similar test that excluded self-deleted questions. That group included a lot of cases of people asking a question, not getting an answer after a day or two, deleting the question, and asking the same question again. This strategy doesn't work if you wait two months to delete your first question.

  • Two mods (George Stocker and Gordon), Tim Post, and myself are on the list of users who would get a Curious badge under this system. On Meta Stack Exchange 5 current employees would be newly eligible for the badge. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, these are curious users.

  • I did some spot check on the lower end of the reputation scale. Every user I looked at fit my model of the ideal recipient of the Curious badge; they asked mostly upvoted questions with few closed questions. This change would add about 3286 new Curious badges on Stack Overflow, so there will certainly be a few exceptions I didn't find. But I think they are more than balanced by the clearly deserving users who will be awarded new badges.

Proposal: For the Curious, Inquisitive, and Socratic badges, don't count questions deleted 60 or more days after asking as deleted for the purposes of calculating asking record. These questions may still count as negatively scored or closed, if applicable. Days that include deleted questions, no matter when they are deleted, do not count toward the days asked criteria.

Modified Proposal: For the Curious, Inquisitive, and Socratic badges, don't count questions deleted or closed 60 or more days after asking as deleted or closed for the purposes of calculating asking record. These questions may still count as negatively scored, if applicable. Days that include deleted or closed questions, no matter when they are deleted or closed, do not count toward the days asked criteria.

On Stack Overflow, that would add about 665 Curious badges, including two more for moderators (casperOne and 0x7fffffff) and one for an employee (Oded). On the opposite end of the reputation scale my spot checks are a bit muddier. Instead of a small number of deleted (and usually closed) questions, this list turns up users whose latest questions still aren't all that interesting. Even so, on balance a few extraneous bronze badges seem worthwhile in exchange for acknowledging truly curious users.

  • Just btw, you are browsing dev-only page, because this new activity page is rolled out only on Meta, while you are seeing it on SO :) When will this page be rolled out on SO?
    – nicael
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 19:26
  • 8
    Would it make sense to apply the 60-day timeframe to closures too? As in, only count the closure against them if it was closed within 60 days of posting the question? It sounds just as unfair to count questions against users that were asked long ago and the scope or quality requirements changed since they were asked.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 19:32
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    To add to @animuson's comment, it also happens that perfectly well-posed questions get closed as duplicates of newer questions if those newer questions receive a more canonical/comprehensive answer. (Which is another argument for discounting questions closed after 60 days.) Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 21:25
  • 3
    @animuson: I updated the question to reflect your idea. It makes a great deal of sense. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 23:45
  • What about duplicates in general? Are they going to count as closures? While there are certainly bad duplicates (poorly asked or poorly researched), there are certainly good duplicates as well. It would be a shame to punish someone because they asked a good duplicate. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 12:28
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    @psubsee2003: We considered making an exception for duplicates when this was originally proposed. From what I've seen looking at how this badge has worked, I don't think we need that exception. Good askers tend to ask unique questions and the occasional "oops" duplicate doesn't hurt that much. But there are a number of people (especially on Stack Overflow) who ask the same question day after day. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 15:07
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    Just out of curiosity (har har), did this change just happen? It seems myself and a few others suddenly received badges in this series in the last couple hours despite having no question activity for quite some time.
    – Jason C
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 0:10
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    @JasonC: Yes. I believe Jarrod implemented the modified proposal that excluded deleted and closed questions older than 60 days. Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 0:20
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    The formula you give is equivalent to downvoted + closed + deleted <= 0.5 * total_votes. Maybe give that as an equivalent measure?
    – Joe Z.
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 0:35
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    @JoeZ.: Total votes doesn't play into the formula. Maybe you meant total_questions? If so, yes, that's equivalent. Conceptually it's a ratio of "good" questions to total questions. (Well, sorta. A downvoted, closed and deleted question is triple voted.) The goal of the criteria is to prevent certain types of abuse. One idea we had was to not penalize for self-deleted questions, but that doesn't work since some people ask a question, delete it if it's not answered, and ask again. Those folks aren't really "curious" so much as persistent. Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 0:43
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    Sorry, yes, I meant total_questions. The reason I ask is because I had a somewhat hard time wrapping my head around a ratio that involved total_questions in the numerator and denominator, and I believe my formulation has the potential for less confusion because all the variables are independent.
    – Joe Z.
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 0:46
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    Secondly, you're not entirely correct in that question when you say it takes three new, issue-less questions to dig yourself out of the triple-count. It actually takes five (plus the original three-strike question, for a total of six), since each new issue-less question only balances out 0.5 counts against the record, if you look at my version of the formula.
    – Joe Z.
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 0:59
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    At the very least can the badge show you how close you are to a positive question record? Right now it just says "need positive question record" which is really annoying: stackoverflow.com/users/2197700/anubian-noob?tab=topactivity Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 17:46
  • Why is this marked as status-completed? Commented May 11, 2019 at 17:40
  • @Stormblessed: Because the modified proposal was implemented. (Though re-reading this question, I can't for the life of me remember writing it. Four years?!?) Commented May 12, 2019 at 5:00

1 Answer 1


some time ago, but closing the loop here. We don't penalize (count) closed or deleted questions if the closure/deletion happens more than 60 days after question day.

Here's basically the logic we use:

-- counts by userid, date
Count(*) AS Total,
Sum(Case When Score < 0 Then 1 Else 0 End) AS Negative,
Sum(Case When Score > 0 Then 1 Else 0 End) AS Positive,
Sum(Case When ClosedDate Is Not Null and datediff(day, CreationDate, ClosedDate) < 60 Then 1 Else 0 End) AS Closed,
Sum(Case When DeletionDate Is Not Null and datediff(day, CreationDate, DeletionDate) < 60 Then 1 Else 0 End) AS Deleted

-- counts by userid
Cast((Case When Cast(Sum(Total - Negative - Closed - Deleted) as Float) / Sum(Total) >= .5 Then 1 Else 0 End) as Bit) AS HasGoodRecord

This is also documented in the meta post What are the badges I can earn on each site, and what are the exact criteria for earning each badge?

  • Is it intended that a question that has a score < 0, deleted within 60 days, and closed is counted 3 times? So, for example, if a user has asked 8 questions, 3 are deleted, 2 of which have a negative score, and 1 is closed, and then they also have 2 questions undeleted questions with a negative score 1 of which is closed, you would end up with (8 - 4 - 2 - 3) / 8 = -1 / 8 = -0.125
    – Larnu
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 16:01
  • Example data and results: db<>fiddle
    – Larnu
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 16:15
  • Maybe looks a little funny and does double count some posts, but I think all three of those pieces of information are different channels for telling us a post might be low quality. i.e. There's a higher penalty for a question that is both downvoted and closed, instead of just one or the other. Some posts will meet multiple criteria, but others will not. Bar is at 50% though, so should give some room for generally good question askers.
    – KyleMit StaffMod
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 18:14
  • "There's a higher penalty for a question that is both downvoted and closed, instead of just one or the other." I would agree, if it weren't for the fact that most questions that are negatively scored (especially in more recent years) do end up closed, and/or then deleted by the roomba or OP. It's not really a 50% ratio when you only count a question that is well received once, but one that isn't up to 3 times. It adds significant weight to something that doesn't have a score >= 0. The fact you can have a negative percentage of positively received questions isn't how ratios should work.
    – Larnu
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 18:21
  • Wasn't neccesarily justifying - just doing some forensics and documentation to explain how it's currently working. There are roughly 9M questions that fall into this bucket, 47% of which have only a single reason (negative, closed, or deleted), 32% have two, and 20% have all three.
    – KyleMit StaffMod
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 22:20
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    Some posts are missing. It says I'm at 0.666, but I don't hvae badge. After manual check, it seems to ignore some deleted questions
    – Elikill58
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 7:25
  • 1
    Can a similar thing please be implemented for the edit and answer badges? Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 17:59

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