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The description for the reversal badge tells me:

Provide an answer of +20 score to a question of -5 score. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

Roughly only 300 users have earned the "Reversal" Badge on Stack Overflow over a period of years. It's hardly ever awarded and is not very common. It is one of the badges that has been awarded the least out of all the badges. I mean look at the gold badge "Populist" on Stack Overflow, it has over 17k users that have it. Why on Stack Overflow, only 300 on "Reversal"?

What makes this badge so hard to get?

closed as off-topic by Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog, Glorfindel, Pierre.Vriens, Jenayah, Pika the Wizard of the Whales Aug 14 at 0:14

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question." – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog, Glorfindel, Pierre.Vriens, Jenayah, Pika the Wizard of the Whales
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    I'm confused... The description page for the badge states how to get it, can you please explain what part of the description is unclear? meta.stackexchange.com/help/badges/41/reversal – Catija Jun 25 '18 at 23:31
  • The nature of what it's awarded for make it uncommon. – curiousdannii Jun 25 '18 at 23:44
  • It's probably not one of the badges that people attempt to shoot for consciously, but rather one that users generally just end up earning during their normal course of using the site. It's not listed as a badge one can track in their profile. Unsung Hero is another example of this type of badge; no one here on MSE has earned it. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jun 26 '18 at 0:07
  • @Catija I said that in the context of what type of questions would you might be able to earn the badge with. – user393523 Jun 26 '18 at 1:40
  • That's going to depend on the site. Are you talking about MSE specifically? Your numbers seem to imply that. – Catija Jun 26 '18 at 2:01
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    You're talking about how rare the badge is, at 990 awards, but a) that's not that rare for a gold badge on a site of this size and b) MSE is by far the site with the most awards of this badge. SO has only awarded it 291 times, whereas most other badges on SO seem to be roughly two orders of magnitude more common than MSE. – Nathan Tuggy Jun 26 '18 at 2:11
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    I still don’t understand the nature of your question. You’d be able to earn this badge with questions which have a net score of -5 or lower. What else are you looking for with “what type of questions might you be able to earn that badge from”? As long as the post is <= -5 and your answe gets >= 20, you get the badge. – Dan Bron Jun 26 '18 at 2:43
  • @DanBron i mean the actual type of context that the question has. like the content in it. – user393523 Jun 26 '18 at 2:44
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    @itstoobadilostmymainaccount Any content. The rule doesn’t care. Why do you suppose the content of a question should make it easier or harder to post an answer which people agree with? – Dan Bron Jun 26 '18 at 2:46
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    @itstoobadilostmymainaccount I doubt it. I think it’s simply a hard thing to do, and one that won’t occur often on a statistical basis. Which is why it’s a gold badge. Some badge had to be the rarest and/or hardest. Turns out it’s this one. – Dan Bron Jun 26 '18 at 2:55
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    Re your edit: on SO it's technically not the rarest, or even the second-rarest, or even the rarest gold badge. Illuminator (94) is rarer still, and that's not counting Sheriff (36, although admittedly this requires winning a mod election). For that matter, there's one silver badge that's rarer than Reversal – Nathan Tuggy Jun 26 '18 at 3:12
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    Duplicates won't get you a question ban, but generally speaking your questions lack research. Most of them could be answered by reading the help center and/or the FAQ. I agree that this could be a decent question (the current version, that is) with an answer that is not obvious to non-established users, but by now people here might think "hey, there's that new user with a long name asking a question without research (see the first revision!) again, let's downvote". – Glorfindel Jun 26 '18 at 18:37
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    If your questions are consistently being marked as duplicates, and you now have a question ban, perhaps you should take it as an indicator that you need to search for an answer to your question before posting. If it's a common question that other people wonder about, chances are that it's already been asked. – GentlePurpleRain Jun 26 '18 at 18:38
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    Stack Exchange has been around for 9 years or so; that means most questions about it have already been asked in one way or another. A new user might be able to pose one or two genuinely new ones, but not five in two days. Even the veterans here would have problems to come up with five really new questions. – Glorfindel Jun 26 '18 at 18:41
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    @GentlePurpleRain exactly. One of the side effects of a question ban is that the affected user now has ample time to discover the intricacies of the Stack Exchange search function. – Glorfindel Jun 26 '18 at 18:44
14

The description for the reversal badge tells me:

Provide an answer of +20 score to a question of -5 score. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

Now, most questions with a score of -5 or below have that score for a very valid reason (on non-meta sites), they are of low quality, show no effort, or is a broad and/or opinionated question. A good majority of these downvoted questions are also good candidates for closure. As such, many of these questions get closed, preventing people from answering them. Even if you manage to stumble across the question before it got closed, adding an answer would only result in you getting downvotes for encouraging answers to a poorly thought question.

Another possible criteria could be popularity. Questions that recieve lots of downvotes are hidden from the front page, meaning that it will recieve fewer views, and less chance of your answer being seen.

It takes an exceptional skill to provide a useful answer to a question that attracts non-useful answers. It also takes incredible luck to have enough eyes on a low quality post to actually get 20 upvotes (assuming you dont get downvoted at all) on such a post.


This situation is, of course, different on Meta as votes also indicate disagreement along with the reasons on other sites. An idea can be unpopular, but still worthy of a great answer to explain why such said idea is a bad idea. That's why getting the Reversal badge would be considerably easier on Meta.

  • @itstoobadilostmymainaccount this answer has not yet earned the reversal badge. Why? Ask yourself that. This answer has nothing at all to do with your question earning downvotes, but its upvotes does prevent you from deleting your own post. – Mari-Lou A Jun 30 '18 at 18:05
  • @Mari-LouA I guarantee that by the end of the week Unitato will of earned reversal. – user393523 Jun 30 '18 at 18:20