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Regarding the Lifejacket and Lifeboat badges, according to Glorfindel:

Do note that your own votes on the question don't count [toward the badge].

DavidG noted in a comment in the above question that this rule could slightly affect privacy:

  • When the Lifejacket badge is awarded while the question is at score +1, it's likely to mean that the badge winner had downvoted the question.
  • When the Lifejacket badge is awarded while the question is at score +2, it's likely to mean that the badge winner had not voted on the question.
  • When the Lifejacket badge is awarded while the question is at score +3, it's likely to mean that the badge winner had upvoted the question.

Is my understanding correct or incorrect? Should the Lifejacket and Lifeboat badges address this issue?

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No, it doesn't.

Your vote at the time the badge is awarded does not matter - we don't check to see if you later upvoted the post, we only look at the post score for the current score.

We only exclude the answerer's vote when checking what the score was at the time they answered the question. We want to encourage the answerer to upvote the question if they believe it was a good question - it doesn't make sense to exclude that part. We don't want to encourage users arbitrarily downvoting a question just to make their answer qualify later.

So for Lifejacket, your downvote to make the question -2 would not count. Your upvote to get the question up to +2 does count.

  • This seems to directly contradict the blog post which explains the badges. Could you ask the team which runs the blog to clarify it? – Peter Taylor Jun 19 at 8:27
  • @PeterTaylor sorry, I might be a little bit dense here, but how does it contradict the blog post? I think it rather clarifies it? – M.A.R. Jun 19 at 11:36
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    @Marshmallow, the blog post says "Don’t count the user’s votes on the question" without qualification. This answer says that it counts the user's votes on the question for some purposes but not others. – Peter Taylor Jun 19 at 11:50
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    @PeterTaylor the way I see it, the blog post uses the term "trigger", and it probably meant to indicate user votes are only initially not counted (as the question is first reaching -3) and this answer clarifies that the only thing relating to the future sequence of events is the question reaching a positive score, and later on the user's vote doesn't matter. – M.A.R. Jun 19 at 12:16
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    It could affect privacy: if a user earned a Lifejacket badge despite the question only being at -1 at the time it was answered, then it's known that the user upvoted the question. You could argue that there's no guarantee the vote is still in place later, but if the question hasn't been edited since the answer was posted, that vote is locked in and thus still present. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jun 19 at 13:39
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    "We want to encourage the answerer to upvote the question if they believe it was a good question " The problem is that this encourages them to upvote it even if it's not a good question, to get it closer to getting them a badge. The way to encourage them to vote on the post's quality, rather than for gamification reasons, is to not count the vote. – Servy Jun 19 at 13:59
7

Yes, it can disclose the answerer's voting choice if they voted on the question before answering.

If the user earned a Lifejacket or Lifeboat badge despite the question score only being -1 or -2 at the time they answered, respectively, then it's known that they upvoted the question. Additionally, if the user did not earn one of these badges despite apparently qualifying for it, it's known that they downvoted the question at the time they answered (the question scored -2 at that time, their answer got +5 score, but they didn't earn it since the initial -2 includes their own downvote for Lifejacket; substitute in the relevant values for Lifeboat).

You could argue that there's no guarantee that the vote is still in place by the time the badge is awarded. However, if the question hasn't been edited since they've answered, their vote will be locked in and thus still in place. You could also argue that one has to remember the original score at the time they answered, but if all the events occur days apart, it's easy to glean the historical vote score from the timeline or from archive sites.

The scenario you brought up in the question, regarding the later score, won't happen per animuson's answer, but if the score at the time they answered is known, and the question hasn't been edited since they've answered, it can be possible to tell if they've upvoted or downvoted in some cases.

  • I saw that too, but didn't want to emphasis on it too much because of the 5 minutes period during which you can undo and replace your vote. I also saw a scenario where one has many sockpuppets with 125 rep, massively downvote an otherwise good question until it reaches -3, post an answer, then cancel all the downvotes in the 5 minutes period, and you're now more easily eligible for the badge. But surely that wouldn't go unnoticed, despite all the votes being cancelled during the grace period. – Cœur Jun 19 at 14:01
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    @Cœur The SE team has stated that they will revoke badges in cases of "heinous cheating", so if you see that happening, flag for mod attention. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jun 19 at 14:02
  • users don't get notified on downvotes on their questions, so it would be probably hard to catch such voting dance for a normal user. I was more thinking of a backend/db verification for such patterns. (but maybe not worth the effort) – Cœur Jun 19 at 14:07

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