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My apologies for tooting my own horn a little here, but I thought I should provide a concrete example of what inspired me to post this.

A little over a year ago, I posted this answer. When I wrote and posted it, over 5 other answers were already there, and the top few had already accumulated quite a few upvotes. (I'm certain it was well over 20.) To my surprise, the OP accepted my answer well before it had accrued many upvotes, if I recall correctly. (This is backed up by the fact it was accepted only 6 hours after being posted, when the other answers had been there for the better part of a day.)

This felt like an achievement to me, something to be a little proud of: the OP found my answer the most useful even though there were quite a few other answers and several of them had accumulated more upvotes than I dared hope mine would. I fully expected that answer to sit toward the bottom of the list for the lifetime of the site.

This also seems like something the site wants to encourage: users should post answers when they feel they have a significant amount of useful content to add or if the disagree (constructively) with the most highly upvoted answers, even if they don't think it's very likely that it would eventually get accepted.

To that end, I would like to suggest a badge along these lines. We already have a badge that's somewhat the reverse of this: Populist, which rewards users for outscoring the accepted answer. This badge would be given for posting an answer that is accepted when it has a much lower score than the most highly upvoted answer.

Details and thoughts:

  • It would need to be evaluated at the time of the accept, rather than later on. This would make it independent of the number of votes given later on.
  • Could be limited to posting the answer later than the one with the most upvotes.
  • Depending on the required difference between votes, it could (and probably would if the math allows it) almost always be accompanied by a Populist badge for the highest voted answer. I'm not sure if this is a problem/concern or not. It doesn't seem like a big one to me. (The reverse, Populist being accompanied by this badge, would not be as common an occurrence.)
  • I have no thoughts about the required number or ratio of votes. I leave that to be determined by Stack Overflow staff or suggested by others. Obviously, the answer should have at minimum a non-negative score.
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    Another detail: Your answer must not have a negative score. We don't want to encourage posting bad answers which later get accepted. – angussidney Feb 5 '16 at 23:42
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    @angussidney Good point. Edited in. Worth noting is that the Populist badge requires that your post have a minimum score, but having thought a bit, that makes a lot less sense for the badge I'm suggesting. It could feasibly require a minimum score on the other answer, though. – jpmc26 Feb 5 '16 at 23:48
  • @DeerHunter I'm not asking for this out of selfishness. Badges are there to reward and encourage good behavior. Posting an answer that's good enough to overtake a highly upvoted answer seems like something worth rewarding. It just happens that it occurred to me because I experienced it. If this doesn't get implemented, that's fine. I just thought I'd put the idea out there for the staff to think about. By the way, you're violating the Be Nice policy ("assume good intentions," at least until evidence suggests otherwise). – jpmc26 Feb 7 '16 at 17:22
  • If you feel I'm violating the site's policy, flag the comment that offends you. – Deer Hunter Feb 7 '16 at 17:29
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The OP can accept your answer for a number of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with behavior that should be incentivized by badges.

A) Your answer is incorrect and the OP is dumb.

B) Your answer helped him the most in his particular case, while the most upvoted one was too general.

C) The OP disliked the naked truth sharply exposed in the most upvoted answer, and preferred to accept your answer with its sweet lies out of spite and/or delusion.

D) The OP has an ongoing feud with the author of the other answer.

E) The OP misclicked an accept mark.

  • Don't these problems apply equally to the Populist badge, and probably all other answer based badges? – jpmc26 Mar 7 '18 at 22:40

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