With all the buzz around this new “Saving-the-frigging-world-o-meter” People Reached stat in the new profiles, I think we're due for some new badges! What say you? Perhaps something along the lines of:

  • Impressive - Reached ~500k people.
  • Impactful - Reached ~1 million people.
  • Monumental - Reached ~2 million people.

* Badge names and numeric values for illustrative purposes only.

  • 8
    Oh hmm, what are these encouraging?
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 19:46
  • 2
    @MARamezani Answering the high traffic questions. Maybe that is good, maybe that is bad.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 19:46
  • Too bad I vote-capped. Nevertheless, this could result in more whining about why "technical" questions don't get answered...
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 19:49
  • 1
    "You can see roughly how many times an actual human being – very likely one looking for help – found your contributions here." They would encourage your wide-spread, helpful participation. (Mouseover the stat in your profile for a better explanation than the blog post.) Maybe you're more of a jack-of-all-trades kind of person? That would benefit you since it's a largely, more general participation badge. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 19:49
  • 2
    For reference: meta.stackexchange.com/a/244305/2915
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 20:04
  • 2
    How would this work with lower-traffic sites? Stack Overflow enjoys millions of views a month but the smaller sites simply don't see the traffic. Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 22:48
  • "Impressive" is a good name for sure: this user is a member for less than an hour, and already has reached ~22k people. ;-)
    – Arjan
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 13:55

5 Answers 5


I also like this idea. This will encourage people to ask more good-quality questions and write some very nice answers.

Like other badges like Famous Question or Publicist, it's primarily on luck and making smart choices. Of course, it's quality that matters though. In the haste to earn these badges, some people will avoid new and old questions altogether. They will go straight to some really popular question and answer it. Simple. Traffic will go up for popular posts and down for those who are not so lucky...

The advantages though are amazing. No one really seem to care a lot about how many people they helped, just their rep count. For people needing encouragement to make posts, these badges should help them out a lot. Anyways, like a lot of these badges, you have to do something to get the badge, which is by helping out people via posting.

There could be some improvements though. Not every one can be Jeff Atwood (yet), who has helped 2.7m people. The number of people helped to earn the badge is kinda high. Not even Nick Craver could get that badge. I suggest lowering the amount of people helped and maybe changing the names of the badge:

  • Bronze Badge - Hometown Hero - Helped 5k people

  • Silver Badge - Sidekick - Helped 50k people

  • Gold Badge - Superhero - Helped 300k people

  • 2
    I don't think 1m is that hard to reach - I have it on SO and less than 15k rep. Still, some queries showing how many people have various "helped" stats and correlating to how many people have current gold/silver/bronze badges might help to work out numbers. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 23:25
  • 2
    @KateGregory SO isn't a good baseline for deciding what's hard. For calibrating badges across the network we should throw out the trilogy (at one end) and the youngest betas (at the other) and use the rest to set levels. Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 14:28
  • I agree, I don't think 1m is that hard to reach. I have 2.1m on my main site with just over 15k reputation. I thought the whole point was something that wasn't easy. (I do agree with @MonicaCellio though, we should average it over many sites so we get a fair, and reachable, metric)
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 15:06


We have to work out the fact that badges such as those proposed here do not scale accordingly to sites traffic before creating new ones.


The traffic varies highly from one site to another. Unless there are different requirements for badges on all the different sites, maybe according to their registered population, we can't have a badge that would work out well on all sites, being either too hard or too easy to obtain on most sites.

For example, the numbers in op's question would fit well on stack overflow, even though I feel the gold and silver badge are too low (many, many people would gain the silver badge right on badge implementation).

However on music.stackexchange, they are skyhigh, almost impossible to get on such a small traffic site. The higest reputation user there would not even get the silver one.

Wrap-up: No, no new badges unless they have adaptive numbers, and I think we should wait to see how things go out with the new stat before doing this.

That being said, Monica point's out that we have other badges that present this problem. I'd still favor not adding new badges to the lot and waiting for a solution before creating new badges.

  • 12
    We already have badges whose difficulty varies by site. SO may be swimming in gold badges, but Great Question/Answer have never been awarded on some other sites (and not just young betas). Calibrating badge award levels to site size/activity is a larger problem than just this proposal, and if it's going to be tackled it should be tackled in a general way. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 22:13
  • 1
    Am I understanding that you are saying that badges are already adaptive? I just compared the badges from music and so and they present the same requirements, even though music have way less traffic @MonicaCellio Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 22:25
  • 8
    No, I'm saying that all our badges are static now, but the difficulty of earning them varies wildly by site. (We may never see some of the gold badges on some sites.) So I'm saying that that problem already exists; it's not unique to this proposal. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 22:37
  • 1
    Pretty late response, but after putting more thoughts to this, how does the fact that other badges have this flaw encourages the creation of new ones? Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 13:27
  • 3
    The fact that other badges have this flaw should neither encourage nor discourage the creation of new ones. While we would both prefer that badges be adaptive for site conditions, realistically it's not going to happen. Blocking new development to first pay down technical debt only works if everybody agrees there's debt that needs to be paid down; I don't think that's true here. So you would prevent new badges entirely while I would say "could be better but don't block on that". Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 14:07

I like this idea. Like Famous Question, it is to some extent a matter of luck, but not entirely. A "pls send me the codes urgent" question will never earn Famous Question, no matter how lucky the author is. You need a quality description of, or answer to, a problem that recurs a lot.

I know, you never know what that problem will be. My highest voted answer on SO is for How can I tell if I have Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2010 installed?. Four years ago I would not have guessed this question had legs. But is has almost 30k views, and 84 of those people have paused to toss me an upvote. Lucky or not, that question is filling some sort of need in people's lives. Similarly, I have almost 40k views on SU for How do I turn OFF Windows Narrator? though only 7 upvotes. I'm guessing a lot of people type that exact string into Google. (I've only asked 5 questions on SU and two have Famous Question which tells me that SU has amazing traffic, and that I ask fairly common questions but I either ask them early or phrase them well.)

And like a number of other traffic and vote based badges, there is something you can do to help yourself get the badge. You can share links to your questions and answers and drive traffic to the site and to your contributions specifically. In this way the badge encourages good behaviour. It also gives the "People Reached" stat some value and causes people to look at it more often and watch it grow.


Given how the value of people reached is calculated (details in the stat announcement post) and that by nature it is dynamic - meaning the value can go up or down, and quite significantly at times (though that is rather unusual), I feel this isn't suitable for a badge.

  • 2
    Well, one can claim it would be similar to tag badges, that come and go. Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 15:59
  • 2
    Or like Nice/Good/Great, where future downvotes make the post no longer eligible but we don't retract the badge. (We check before awarding it again, but we don't take it away in the meantime.) Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 16:17

If so they should be somehow tied to reputation or more directly votes. For instance, a person with 1 million reach needs only add an answer to about 15 already existing questions.

Either a hard limit (ie, 500k people and 5k rep) or only those questions where their answer has at least x votes are counted towards this badge (ie, 500k people for questions where the user's answer is voted 5 or more, or is one of the top five voted answers to the question).

Or make it very meaningful and only count numbers where their answer is accepted.

I don't think any concept but the rep+helpful will be acceptable, though, since you'd have to show the number actually used for the badge. I may have 5 million users helped, but a much lower number once you only count those where I'm voted 5+.

I can't speak towards whether the badges have reasonable limits as described in the OP - I'd get all three on SO, but only a bronze here. Might be reasonable, might not.

  • 2
    +1 (I'll do it tomorrow) I perfectly agree! A lucky passer-by can simply reach hundreds of thousands of people with answering a famous post, while a better teacher dies trying. So, there should be more merit to earning such badge than simply being lucky.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 20:00
  • @MichaelIrigoyen Formula is at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/244534/… (unless they've updated it since, but some of those conditions still apply).
    – Troyen
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 22:41

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