To obtain the Explainer, Refiner and Illuminator badge, one has to post an answer to a question and edit it within 12 hours. I fully agree that the edit should not happen later – because some people would start editing old questions just for the sake of the badge. However, I fail to see why the edit may not happen earlier (than 12 hours before the answer).
When those badges were proposed, the only reason given for this was:
Strictly-speaking, we could count any edit up to 12 hours after the answer is posted and still accomplish this, but "within 12 hours" seems easier to explain.
Well, let me try my best at explaining the alternative (taking Refiner as an example):
now: Edit and answer 50 questions (both actions within 12 hours, answer score > 0)
new: Edit and answer 50 questions (edit at most 12 hours later than answer, answer score > 0)
It’s a little bit longer (but still shorter than Populist) and you might consider it a little bit more difficult to understand, but I do not think it’s that bad.
But why would this be a good thing?
- Suppose a question arrives just before I go to sleep. I have enough time to salvage it, but answering is more difficult. So I sleep, go to work, do some chores and once I am ready to answer the question, 12 hours have passed and my good work does not count for the badge. This is obviously disappointing. Of course, this is an extreme case, but when duty or Morpheus call, 12 hours can pass rather quickly.
- In situations such as the above, the current system encourages bad behaviour such as delaying an edit until one actually answers the question or making a pointless edit after answering the question.
- Sometimes one comes up with a good answer to a question much later or the answer itself only comes up later (because the world changed).