This badge, which I'd nominate as a silver, would be awarded for every 5 accepted answers a user has with no votes. There should probably be a 24-hour window after acceptance before this badge is awarded.

Why do this, you ask? Well, one of the much-belabored issues of the SO model is that rep is more easily accumulated by facile participation in shallow, accessible, popular topics, while successful handling of difficult, high-expertise-required issues often enough goes unrewarded. This badge attempts to act against that tendency, interpreting someone who writes a lot of accepted-but-not-voted-on answers as actively helping people solve "unpopular" problems — likely, in large part, problems from new, low-rep users who lack even the power to upvote a good answer to their question, and so may go ignored by more rep-oriented users.

Assuming that behavior is a desirable sort of participation, it attempts to provide recognition, and thereby incentive, for it.

Originally I was thinking of this badge in terms strictly of upvotes, but it seems appropriate to disqualify questions from counting toward this badge if they receive downvotes; the idea is to reward helpful answers that go mostly unrecognized, not to reward bad answers. So I've modified the qualification from "no upvotes" to simply "no votes".

  • 19
    That would be... at least 8 of those badges for me :) Errr... let me think... YES! I'm for it.
    – VonC
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 21:27
  • See for instance this answer: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/686/…
    – VonC
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 21:29
  • 13
    I'd rather have it a one-time badge when you reach 5 (or 10), instead of getting one for every 5.
    – mmyers
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 15:56
  • 7
    What about bronze/silver/gold badges: "Unrecognized" for the first, "Unsung Hero" for N accepted answers, and "Unappreciated Exemplar" for M accepted answers?
    – fbrereto
    Commented Dec 19, 2009 at 0:38
  • 4
    I would also extend it to answers where the only person to vote on the answer is the question poster - often poster upvote and accept an answer.
    – Justin
    Commented May 25, 2010 at 8:17
  • I'm not against the idea, but one can also generate this situation for answering badly phrased questions from drive-by users, which provides a rather different, though not necessarily bad incentive. If you want to focus it, consider adding question at +2 or higher to the requirements. Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 1:35

8 Answers 8


I actually like this idea. It also made me think of another badge idea.

Purple Heart - Accepted Answer with a negative score.

  • 53
    Um, I dunno 'bout that. Typically if you have a negative score (depending on how negative it goes) you probably have a terrible answer.
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 18:37
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    You probably had at one point in time a terrible answer, it may have been improved since for it to be (and remain) accepted.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 18:52
  • 7
    Usually an accepted answer gets negative points, only after it is accepted. I would assume it is because it is not really correct/informative. Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 20:54
  • 14
    I've seen questions where the accepted answer was, simply, wrong. If the accepted answer has a negative score, it's likely to be seriously deficient, and I don't want to see a badge awarded for it. Commented Aug 7, 2009 at 20:37
  • I actually have one of these! It was a case of trying to be the FGITW and posting a hasty/sloppy answer the first time round... I did edit the answer afterwards to address the issues. Oddly enough, it was accepted after it already had a negative score, otherwise I would have just deleted it. Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 0:36

I like this idea. Pretty sure I've had a fair few quick answers accepted with no upvotes, or with an upvote only from the question asker, on SO. Also like TheTXI's suggestion!

Suggest that it should be no upvotes OTHER THAN ONE FROM THE QUESTION ASKER (if this is recorded?).

  • 9
    Oh, it's recorded - WE ARE ALL KNOWING AND ALL SEEING :) Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 4:10
  • 4
    For the badge to be properly "Unsung" it should include the asker not voting as well.
    – fbrereto
    Commented Dec 19, 2009 at 0:32
  • 8
    In what kind of situation would a person not upvote an answer they accepted? You'd be ignorant, rude, or you wouldn't really like the answer, would you? I consider one-vote answers unsung. It's just the asker and the answerer, all alone in the world. :-)
    – Owen S.
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 18:05

We now have a gold unsung hero badge, it goes to any user that has more than 10 accepted answers with zero score.

As long as least 25% of the total accepted answers are zero score answers.

This also excludes any recent answers (so only deals with answers that are older than 10 days)

Sorry Jon Skeet, no badge for you :)

  • 6
    Why the 25% of all your answers qualification?
    – Gnome
    Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 7:26
  • 2
    @Gnome, the concept is to reward people who are not normally rewarded, if somebody has 1000 accepted answers on SO its quite likely they will have quite a few zero score ones. The users who have the unsung hero badge are outliers, they keep on answering questions correctly and don't get votes on them in general cause they are some obscure topic.
    – waffles
    Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 7:30
  • 1
    It turns out (I have two shiny new badges this morning) that the questions can, in fact be shallow and far from obscure... they can also be from new users and just "not interesting".
    – Murph
    Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 9:54

I agree that this is a good concept but I don't necessarily agree it is a good idea. We should be giving more badges that encourage giving upvotes. I don't want a situation where I have to consider if my upvote will have a BAD effect on what the user wants. I want to ALWAYS ALWAYS upvote people.

  • 6
    Well, i'd think you'd still vote up any answer you saw and thought was good. This badge would be a small consolation prize for answers to obscure questions that no-one ever cared about but the original author and one person with an answer...
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 18:35
  • after how long would this apply? What would the timeline on this bed? If you ask a question, and get someone to immediately answer it, then accept their answer before anyone upvotes it... would that count?
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 18:51
  • No, it would have to go without upvotes for at least 24 hours. (And of course you'd have to have 4 other accepted answers that had gone without upvotes for 24 hours.)
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 20:42
  • And then after that, it could get upvoted 4 times and that's fine?
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 21:02
  • Yeah. It wouldn't count for purposes of any future badges, though. Like, my thought is that you'd get 1 badge at 5 of these answers, another at 10, and so on. If you got your first one and then one of the answers got upvotes, now you only have 4 qualifying questions and you need 6 more to get your second badge.
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 22:06
  • I still feel like my original point stands, (or at least, it stands for me) I think the badges should be skewed towards encouraging votes. Perhaps more badges related to answering/upvoting answers on old questions, but not something that relies on NOT voting.
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 12:29
  • Yeah, you do have a point, but I'm not sure it actually implies that the badge is a bad idea. What it winds up meaning is that the badge inherently discourages you from gaming for it, because it's arguably more beneficial to get the upvotes than the badge. It just rewards a long-term pattern of behavior that isn't otherwise rewarded (or is rewarded minimally).
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 14:46
  • 1
    @devinb: really? Encouraging votes? The site is about answering questions, not getting votes. This would encourage someone to answer a question, regardless of the outcome. There's plenty of other rewards for getting votes.
    – Robert P
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 0:25

I like the badge in that it sounds 'fun', but I'm not sure about what behavior it encourages (and that's what badges are about after all). I suppose you could say it adds an incentive to answer questions for users with <10 that can't also upvote your answer. On the flip side, it might also encourage someone to accept your answer without voting for it because they know it will contribute to your badge.

  • Has there ever been a badge suggestion for each 100 votes? I mean... I suppose it could/would be gamed... but... y'know... it would encourage voting!
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 18:57
  • I'd hope that it encourages answering questions in obscure, low-user-density topics, too.
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 15:45
  • 1
    I assume that the "100 votes" badge would be shot down, since if they wanted people to vote as much as possible, there wouldn't be a daily vote limit.
    – beska
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 18:07

I like the idea of the unsung hero, but I wonder how this badge would play out...

Let's break this down. First lets consider the goal of the site(s) we are participating in. The goal is at once to provide fast answers to those in immediate need, and to provide 'trusted' answers to those searching the web for questions that other websites might not offer, or might not offer for free. The questions/questioners you are referring to probably fall into the second category.

Next, consider how we answerers are incented (if this is a word) to do this. We are given points when others like/respect(upvote) what we think, and we are awarded points when we aid the people that ask for help(are accepted). We are also deducted points when the answers we provide are not on target or are misleading(downvote).

We are also given badges when we (1) do things that indicate we are learning the facets of the system - ie first accepted answer, (2) do things that show we are respected by the community over simple upvotes - ie 10+ upvotes on an accepted answer, or (3) do things that show you are loyal - woot! badges,etc. Most of what we do after we tackle (1) badges emanate from the quality or timing of our answers(ie, (2)). Which category would an Unsung Hero badge fall?

How would this new badge 'incent' activity?

  • Would it promote answering questions that we have an active interest in? Probably not, we'd answer anyway.
  • Would it promote looking over items that are fringe that already have an answer and an upvote? Probably not. An upvote generally indicates the willingness of others to vote.
  • Would it discourage looking over fringe items that have another semi-correct answer with no vote? Potentially.

The goal to earn this badge is to have no votes on your answer, at least for 24 hrs, but still be accepted. That does not seem to be the site's best interest. It is in everyone's best interest to strive for more upvotes on their answers, not less. The upvotes will tell the casual user that 'everyone' thinks you have the right answer.


How about we give the badge for 5 accepts with no more than 1 upvote, that way if only the asker upvotes and accepts, that post is still eligible.


I like the concept for the badge. But I might be more inclined to tie it to views of the question rather than upvotes. A good, accepted answer is likely to and should have upvotes. But that doesn't mean it is necessarily getting recognized the way it should, which it sounds like is your intent. You'd probably have to do some real analysis of voting patterns to truly determine what would be appropriate.

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