I'm reasonably active in the scala tag on Stack Overflow, which has a limited number of users and hence available points, ability to get guru badges etc. There's one particular chap, Daniel Sobral, who just gives the most amazingly long, detailed, well-formatted answers he deserves some particular special recognition in my opinion as he provides a completely disproportionate amount of effort and input, well above the call of duty and well above anyone else in the tag!

Some examples of Daniel's answers:

These are just in the last few days: he's been at this for months! The suggestion for how the new badge (which needs a better name!) would work would be based upon some metric for what proportion of the answer-load they carry for a given language tag and how many votes they have got as a proportion of the total votes in the tag. For example - Daniel has got something like three times the number of points/answers when compared with anyone else.

Obviously this would only apply to tags with, say, >200 questions in them. I guess that the main argument against this badge is that there are already tag-specific badges. The trouble is, these do not take into account (AFAICS) either the overall level of activity in the tag (or relative lack of it). And they don't address the disproportionate nature of some people's contributions

As the badge needs a name people feel comfortable with, the only ones I can think of are:

  • niche-master (thanks to gnovice below)
  • elephant-in-the-room (doesn't really sound like a positive thing!)
  • purple-heart
  • beyond-call-of-duty
  • burj-tower (http://www.burjdubai.com/)
  • above-and-beyond
  • Score of 544, in 133 answers for Daniel. The next highest has a score of 222 in 27 answers. Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 14:52
  • 2
    burj-tower seems like trying to compensate for something. Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 14:58
  • @Brad - thanks for the stats - I have asked 3 times as many questions as anyone else so perhaps this just comes down to the reasonably simple: should I buy Daniel a drink? Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 15:11
  • @Brad - so Daniel has provided 133 answers out of a total of 518 questions: extraordinary! Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 15:27
  • 1
    Oh great. I'm going to be a subjective tag niche master.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 16:45
  • 3
    The Scala tag is cool enough for me, but, anyhow, the collection tutorial is a cut&paste from the SID. I can't, and don't, take credit for it. Commented Nov 17, 2009 at 16:34
  • 2
    Power-law distribution says that there should be as many users in fringe tags are there are in the few most popular ones. SO should be encouraging activity in the long tail rather than skewing incentives toward the top tags. Take the Generalist badge, for example. Great idea but why on earth limit it to only popular tags? Someone earning the same score down the shoulder of the curve is not as valuable? Must we actually write a Foursquare plugin so somebody can become "the mayor" of a niche tag? Ironically, these are the tags and users who see the ads and pay for the site.
    – T.Rob
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 19:45
  • 2
    I find it disturbing that the first answer is eight full screens and yet it is locked as "it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site". In other words, "Yeah, we'll take it, because there's almost nothing better on the web and it brings a lot of traffic here, but we're a question-and-answer site, darn it, so we'll express our distaste for it publicly and prominently." Seems like the author got two black eyes and a binary 132 for all of his hard work.
    – John
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 20:21
  • Related question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/197015/…
    – Nemo
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 15:21

6 Answers 6


I understand the above-and-beyond concept, but I don't think it should be called purple-heart. The real world award is for combat wounds which I think is different than what you are describing. I'd hate to diminish the military award with trivial or misplaced use. Can we call it something else?

  • Of course - I was just thinking of something which went beyond the call of duty - certainly didn't mean to cause any offence Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 13:08
  • @oxbow_lakes NP, and thanks for adding tag name discussion. Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 13:25

I think this is an interesting idea (for obvious reasons if you look at my most active tag on SO). How about the name Niche master?

  • I like niche-master Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 16:03

For a badge like this, I like:

  • beyond call of duty
  • niche expert
  • outstanding teacher

I like the idea of this, but I think it would only work if one could be nominated by their peers, because I don't think something like this can be measured simply by upvotes.


Just to point out how much things can change: [scala] currently has 93,492 questions, roughly 80% answered. It's definitely not a niche tag anymore. And yes, Daniel was the first to get a golden Scala badge.

Anyway, determining what is and isn't a niche tag is hard. Keeping something like that up-to-date yet still useful would take a tremendous amount of time.

I'd like this to be feasible, but I don't think it is. So I'll suggest declining this .

And yes, effectively it was already declined. After all, the request is over 10(!) years old.


How about:

  • surpassing
  • excellence in service
  • dedicated
  • tag-expert
  • zorro
  • unsung hero
  • shadow warrior
  • perennially helpful dude
  • 1
    Haha! I work with someone called Zorro and your suggestion is most appropriate. Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 15:05
  • 1
    Hahaha, +1 for Zorro
    – Heather M
    Commented Nov 13, 2009 at 15:22
  • 5
    Unsung Hero is already taken. Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 20:29
  • @ShaWizDowArd - didn't know that one was :)
    – warren
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 21:13

I understand the request and think Daniel has done a smashing job.

However, I feel this is mostly covered by other badges ("good answer", "great answer", "scala badges" and so on)

  • 9
    The point is that less-popular tags are very unlikely to get any of those badges due to lack of upvoters.
    – SLaks
    Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 22:52
  • @SLaks, it is less about popularity and more about "tag impact", for example the tag that gets the most upvotes is haskell at the moment. So the question is, should we introduce another badge, beyond, "tenacious / unsung hero" to compensate for the poor "crystal reports" answerers. I am not fully convinced.
    – waffles
    Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 23:23
  • 3
    There are a number of ways in which the site skews toward more popular tags, even to the point of imposing a silent tax on fringe tags. I'm not nearly as concerned about badging as I am more practical matters such as there aren't enough people in my pet tags to even get a synonym created. Even after asking twice I can't even get moderator help. Anyone curating fringe tags is forced to manually retag whereas a popular tag can get synonym votes - the silent tax. If SO nurtured fringe tags rather than taxing them, they might be a better pipeline for bringing new communities to the site.
    – T.Rob
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 19:32
  • @SLaks is that really a less-popular tag? By now he has "scala SCORE 16,552 POSTS 1,875 POSTS % 91" and got a gold badge in February 2010 already.
    – Nemo
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 9:24

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