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Several badges are effectively a "negative" tag on a user. For example, Peer Pressure is a permanent mark that a user had a post with unusually high numbers of downvotes at one point; the fact that they deleted it may be encouraging, but if they'd baited other users to delete it (or better still, edited it so that it attracted upvotes to cancel out the downvotes), there'd be no such black mark in the user's profile.

There are some other similar badges:

  • the Fanatic family (indicating that a user wastes time on Stack Exchange continuously rather than taking breaks), which could potentially cause problems for future employment (I know that I intentionally have to take a break every now and then rather than risk getting anywhere near being awarded the badge, in case it causes trouble for me in future);
  • Famous Question, on many sites, is an indicator that you submitted a question that's excessively subjective and not a good fit for the site (these questions tend to get more views), and the badge can be followed to find the offending question in question;
  • Promotor/Investor without a matching Altruist/Benefactor can give the impression that you don't award bounties, making your future bounties less valuable (and can happen naturally if no answers are given to the question); this is a lesser issue because it's not permanent, but it can still be an issue temporarily
  • Tumbleweed implies that a user has asked a low (but not "very low") quality, uninteresting question, which is typically a bad thing
  • The Publicist family implies that a user has used Stack Exchange referral links; this is (perhaps unsurprisingly) seen very negatively by many people outside Stack Exchange

Finally, the badge that prompted me to ask this question:

  • Scholar, on a site where accepting answers is deemed to actively drive away users from the site (source: 1 2)

I recently accidentally misclicked on an "accept" button (on my own solution, at that!), and got the Scholar badge, even though I've been arguing that accepting answers is a bad thing for the Code Golf site (basically because we expect every question to have multiple good answers, and accepting one makes other people feel like their contributions aren't wanted), and although I undid the accept as soon as I realised, the badge is now stuck there permanently, making me look somewhat hypocritical. (I guess I could delete and recreate my account; getting back to 20k rep might be fun. However, it would likely cause confusion as a result of all the disassociated posts, and I'm not keen on causing that much harm to the site.)

I can see several potential fixes to this problem: allowing users to opt out of receiving specific badges just like they can opt out of receiving Winter Bash hats; allowing users to recalculate their badges to remove ones that they no longer meet conditions for (thus allowing users to redeem themselves from, say, Peer Pressure or Scholar badges, although probably not Fanatic); or at least warning users before they do something that will gain a badge that they may not want. Do we need to do something to deal with this problem? If so, what should it be?

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    This is mostly, quite frankly, nonsense – Cai Jun 23 '17 at 8:08
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    So many wrong, biased and just nonsense assumptions. Sigh. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jun 23 '17 at 8:09
  • @ShadowWizard: I have a very hard time using Meta Stack Exchange because this is the reaction every time I come here; people tend to assume that any Stack Exchange site that doesn't work identically to Stack Overflow should work more like Stack Overflow. For example, some sites have a policy of deleting incorrect answers (because they tend to get upvoted higher than correct answers), but pointing that out tends to lead to people telling you that the policy should change, rather than actually getting suggestions to fix the problem you were asking about. This is a similar situation. – ais523 Jun 23 '17 at 8:11
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    "For example, some sites have a policy of deleting incorrect answers (because they tend to get upvoted higher than correct answers), but pointing that out tends to lead to people telling you that the policy should change" - I would prefer such policy on Stack Overflow. – Tom Jun 23 '17 at 8:16
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    @ais523 the example you gave about site which is "against" accepting answers is where they are against accepting trivial answers. And even so, having the badge is not "mark of shame". And if it is and one is being taunted for having the badge by high rep users or moderators, that site should be closed or taken out of Stack Exchange. Stack Exchange encourage accepting answers, period. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jun 23 '17 at 8:16
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    @ShadowWizard: You're missing some context. That site has an objective criterion for deciding which answer is the best (this is one of the requirements for a question to be ontopic). Trivial answer normally get the best score by this criterion. I don't think anyone's even considered the idea of intentionally giving the tick to answers that are "objectively" not the best. (As it is, we try to merely discourage upvoting them, but voting is a mess on that site anyway; it needs heavy moderation because vote count isn't a good indication of quality or even correctness.) – ais523 Jun 23 '17 at 8:21
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    @ais523 still, doesn't matter what rules site has, it's part of Stack Exchange. Stack Exchange encourage accepting answers, and I'm sure that taunting users or shaming them for doing that is against the basic spirit of Stack Exchange, thus should be reported to the team via the "contact us" form, and they can handle the shaming users. And if that doesn't help, I'm ashamed such site is part of Stack Exchange and like I said before, I would rather see it closed or kicked out of the network. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jun 23 '17 at 8:26
  • On Chem SE I have a promoter badge without altruist, because I didn't get an answer. – Unitato says Reinstate Monica Jun 23 '17 at 10:36
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    I think you're radically overestimating how many people care (either positively or negatively) in the slightest about the badges you've earned. – Servy Jun 23 '17 at 15:51
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Several badges are effectively a "negative" tag on a user.

No, they aren't. They may be seen as such on CodeGolf, because CodeGolf, while using the SE software does not use the SE philosophy of answering a valid, real question with a best answer (or short: Q&A).

It's fake questions, that have many competing answers, where you cannot objectively choose a correct one, or in the absence of that, even only the one that helped the asker solve his problem.

Don't get me wrong, that's certainly fun. But CodeGolf needs a voting software, not SE software. The fact that SE software implements a subset that can double as voting software and we're all mostly software people wanting to have fun, does not mean the SE software should change it's philosophy for one Stack that does not even subscribe to said philosophy.

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I think you're getting things kinda wrong, or at least taking an excessively negative. It's worth remembering the bigger picture - that someone actually has to spend the time going through each and every badge and make a value judgement on them. If a potential employer is doing this, you already passed at least the first few rounds of weeding out employees.

the Fanatic family (indicating that a user wastes time on Stack Exchange continuously rather than taking breaks), which could potentially cause problems for future employment (I know that I intentionally have to take a break every now and then rather than risk getting anywhere near being awarded the badge, in case it causes trouble for me in future);

It just means you pop in once a day consistantly. It's actually one of the least difficult gold badges to get. If an employer is so concerned over what I do in my spare time I'd be worried.

Famous Question, on many sites, is an indicator that you submitted a question that's excessively subjective and not a good fit for the site (these questions tend to get more views), and the badge can be followed to find the offending question in question;

erm, no. It means a lot of people were looking for and found it. And a good question often has broad value outside the OP.

Promotor/Investor without a matching Altruist/Benefactor can give the impression that you don't award bounties, making your future bounties less valuable (and can happen naturally if no answers are given to the question); this is a lesser issue because it's not permanent, but it can still be an issue temporarily

Both these are badges for a single event. It's a non issue.

Tumbleweed implies that a user has asked a low (but not "very low") quality, uninteresting question, which is typically a bad thing

I grant this one can be annoying, but it's more of a fun badge. Also, impossible so far for me to get :(

The Publicist family implies that a user has used Stack Exchange referral links; this is (perhaps unsurprisingly) seen very negatively by many people outside Stack Exchange Citation needed. It also means the place you used the link has a lot of eyeballs.

I'd also note codegolf is an outlier. And questions with no selected answers isn't how SE works. We've spread out a bit from our initial model, but that does not make the "many possible correct answers" option a norm.

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