"Voted on 600 questions and has better than 3:1 answer/question vote ratio" is the current text.

"Voted on 600 questions and 25% or more of total votes are on questions" is my proposed text. (Or should it read "or less"? I'm still not completely sure what is intended.)

"Better" in the original doesn't indicate which way is preferred (and it's not clear to me one way or the other is better, merely that a certain threshold is the requirement for this badge). This is even slightly shorter, in both characters and as displayed for me in a proportional font, which should help for a badge with one of the longest current descriptions.

  • 18
    I can't believe I have voted over 6600 times and missed this badge! And it isn't easy to see how far I have to go (or whether I should be voting on questions vs answers). Jan 2, 2010 at 16:41
  • There's another possible ambiguity with comment votes. (I've assumed so far they are counted entirely separately.)
    – Gnome
    Jan 2, 2010 at 17:57
  • 6
    +1 - I'll admit I thought I was slightly confused as to the criteria for this badge until I read the possibilities here... now I have absolutely no idea what you have to do to get this badge - lol...
    – John Rasch
    Jan 2, 2010 at 18:05
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    What about downvotes? I probably downvote questions more often than I downvote answers, since I think it's more important to bury the crap questions than bad answers (which are usually edited or deleted after their shortcomings are pointed out, anyway).
    – Ether
    Jan 2, 2010 at 18:43
  • Re downvotes: it appears they count in the statistics just the same: e.g. look at the Community user (stackoverflow.com/users/-1/community), who doesn't even have 600 upvotes in total but received the badge.
    – Ether
    Jan 2, 2010 at 18:57
  • downvotes or upvotes are valid. Note that RichB has this badge on Meta, and check out his voting stats.. Jan 3, 2010 at 0:58
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    The wording is now (2010-01-03 08:37 -08:00) 'Voted on 600 questions and 25% or more of total votes are on questions'. This is a gold badge. What good behaviour is it rewarding? It seems to be rewarding people who vote on questions and penalizes those who vote on answers. Well, I suspect I'm unlikely to get the badge; I vote for answers, not questions - I was under the illusion that they were much more important. Jan 3, 2010 at 16:39
  • Jonathan: there is another meta question discussing that, this feature-request was only to get the wording clarified without changing the meaning of the badge.
    – Gnome
    Jan 3, 2010 at 17:57
  • @JonathanLeffler I don't know if you're still active, but I'm commenting on something you wrote six years ago! Questions are very important, and "good" questions, which means respecting the basic rules of grammar and supplying details and sharing your research, makes for a happy Q&A website. It means users who prefer to answer, will keep on doing so, LQ questions "suck" the life out of older users, until they become disenchanted and abandon the site. So upvote good questions, too! Jan 4, 2016 at 11:54
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    @Mari-LouA: I'm still around. Yes, good questions are important and rare. I up-vote good questions; but I (still) up-vote more answers than questions, and my stats are sufficiently skewed that I'd need to spend months only voting on questions to earn this badge. Jan 4, 2016 at 15:25
  • @JonathanLeffler Never give up hope of earning the badge, you might be closer than you think. Thanks for replying so soon, I was prepared to wait a couple of months :) Jan 4, 2016 at 15:39
  • @Mari-LouA: Symbolically, if someone has given Q votes on questions, A votes on answers, and adds q more votes on questions and a more votes on answers, then to get the badge, (A + a) <= 3(Q + q). With Q ≈ 2200 and A ≈ 20800, and assuming a = 0, I'd have to do about q >= (A + a - 3Q) / 3 ≈ 4750 question votes with no answer votes, which at 40 votes per day max, is nearly 4 months solid question-only voting. It's unlikely to happen — it's not impossible, but it is very improbable. I'm certainly not holding my breath for it to happen. Jan 4, 2016 at 15:57
  • Yikes! No, I wouldn't hold my breath either if I were you. I know how difficult it was for me to earn that badge, it drove me a bit potty tell the truth, but I always UV questions but hitting the 25% mark was challenging, to say the least. Jan 4, 2016 at 16:02

6 Answers 6


I see several interpretations here. (I've no idea which is correct, but I'll share my guess after listing them.)

Voted on 600 questions and has better than 3:1 answer/question vote ratio

  1. Voted 600 times, 25+% of votes were for questions.
    (Assumes "better than" a 3:1 ratio means <=3.)

  2. Voted 600 times, <=25% of votes were for questions.
    (Assumes "better than" a 3:1 ratio is 3+.)

  3. Voted on 600+ questions, and voted on at least 3x {number of questions voted on} answers. For example, if you voted on exactly 600 questions, you won't get this badge until you've voted on at least 1800 answers (or more if you keep voting on questions).
    (Assumes "better than" a 3:1 ratio is 3+.)
    discounted; see update

  4. Voted on 600+ questions, and voted on no more than 3x {number of questions voted on} answers.
    (Assumes "better than" a 3:1 ratio means <=3.)

Any other interpretations?

I'm guessing #3 is what is intended. It is a gold badge, after all. But what exactly is meant by "better than" is still ambiguous.

Update: In light of this question from this user who apparently got the Electorate badge with a grand total of 1276 votes (current count only)... interpretation #3 is hereby incorrect.

  • Maybe you should stop reverse engineering and wait till the guy who implemented it jumps in ;) What was his name again... Jan 2, 2010 at 15:45
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    nah, speculating is fun. i'm sure he'll jump in when he's ready; this was just a thought experiment of the "what does it mean" variety. Jan 2, 2010 at 17:56
  • Your example in the update is the best proof that the badge description is outright wrong. Remember, a 3:1 ratio is not the same as a fractional 3/1: it's actually equivalent to fractional 4/1. (However, the user doesn't have enough total votes for this incorrect calculation either.)
    – Ether
    Jan 2, 2010 at 19:04
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    @Æther: well, 3:1 only converts to 4 if you're taking a total number of parts and discarding any interesting info about their relationship. 3:1 is equivalent to fractional 3/4 (three parts of a total of four) for some conversions of ratio to number; for others (think unit conversion, or multiplying recipes), 3/1 is a perfectly sane equivalence. but i don't think the badge description is wrong, just extremely ambiguous to the point of utterly misleading ... Jan 2, 2010 at 20:28
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    #4 is correct, and I updated the description in the database. We want people to vote for a lot more questions, so if your ratio of answer votes is too high (eg you have voted for FAR more answers than questions) you can't achieve the Electorate badge. Jan 3, 2010 at 0:56
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    @Jeff - #4 seems counter-productive to me. Aren't people just going to start voting on questions exclusively, just to get their ratios down? I think the 600 question votes would be enough incentive to get people to vote on questions, without having to set up a ratio which may stop them from voting on answers entirely. I much prefer interpretation #3, for what it's worth. It requires a total of 2400 votes, which seems gold worthy, but doesn't have the negative behavioural modifications.
    – womp
    Jan 3, 2010 at 4:58

Hmmm... not sure how I'm ever going to get this badge (or how far away from it I am). I tend to vote for any question I find interesting (and well-asked), and any interesting answers. There are more answers than questions, so I think my ratio is shot to heck. :-(

Then again, who needs to be in the electorate if you have the (hopefully benevolent) [♦ dictator] badge ;-p </joke>

  • I was thinking that people with whacked ratios, such as Jon Skeet, may not, due to max votes/day, even get this badge for another year or more. (Obviously a dedicated effort could get it in less time, but I'd hope this badge doesn't become the sole reason to vote.)
    – Gnome
    Jan 2, 2010 at 17:05
  • I strongly agree on the well-asked criteria. I'm much less likely to vote up if it's not well-asked, yet lacking that is rarely a reason to vote down for me. Of course, 90% of questions are crud, because 90% of everything is...
    – Gnome
    Jan 2, 2010 at 17:09
  • Without more detailed statistics on your profile page (whether visible to just you, or to everyone), it's not possible. Sadly, repeated requests for more such statistics have been turned down. It's unfortunate the data dumps (and stackql.net) are not more current, or this information would be reasonably easily calculable to those who are interested.
    – Ether
    Jan 2, 2010 at 19:05

I'm all for clarifying the wording.

I'll also take this moment to share a few thoughts on the badge itself. Taken literally:

voted on at least 600 questions

would mean 600 votes for questions, not counting votes on answers.

better than 3:1 answer/question ratio

means more than 3x as many votes on answers as on questions. I'm not sure that's what is intended, but that's what the text says. You might dispute the word "better", but with a literal reading it could only mean a number greater than 3 for the ratio.

That means you need at least 2401 votes to get the badge: 600 on questions and 1801 on answers. Now I know this is wrong based on the update to quack's answer, but it is accurate based on a strict literal interpretation of the text. The actual definition probably just reverses the meaning a "better".

So taking this interpretation, is this a useful badge? As the stated purpose of badges is to encourage specific positive behaviors we need to consider what behaviors this badge encourages. In this case, it seems clear that the badge is intended to increase votes on questions. In that respect, I think might do okay, but I don't know that it will have a lasting impact unless it's effective at creating good voting habits as well.

My main complaint is that this is a one-time gold-level badge. I'll grant it's "bigger" than a silver, but it doesn't quite live up to what I think a gold should be. If you really want to encourage voting on questions long term, I think you're going to need some kind of ongoing incentive. A recurring silver badge for every 250 or so question votes might just about do it.

Also, one additional side effect of this badge is that it will shift some reputation from question answerers to question askers. I think a lot of people consider this to be a bad thing.

  • Somewhere else (I forget where) the comparison was drawn that "better" can mean less, as in "better than 75% mortality rate".
    – Gnome
    Jan 2, 2010 at 22:46
  • I just saw quack's update, so a lot of this changed. Jan 2, 2010 at 23:07
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    @Roger: It was here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/34340/… :) Jan 2, 2010 at 23:15
  • consider carefully. 600 votes is a LOT. If you used all your votes, every day, on nothing but questions, it would take you 20 days. And that's assuming you never voted on a single answer -- every answer vote potentially harms your odds of getting Electorate. Jan 3, 2010 at 4:19
  • @Jeff: "every answer vote potentially harms your odds of getting Electorate." - That's a funny statement coming from someone who just said that Electorate doesn't discourage voting on answers.
    – mmyers
    Jan 4, 2010 at 15:54
  • I know at least one user who is only voting on questions now until they get the badge. (It's not me... I already have it. I mean one other user.)
    – womp
    Jan 6, 2010 at 4:07

With all due respect, I think that the attempt to clarify this badge has only led to more confusion (at least for me) Here's what I see on AskUbuntu currently I'm assuming it's identical across the Stack Exchange family of sites:


When I read this with English as a Primary language, my immediate perception is that I must vote on 600 questions and at least 150 of these votes must be on questions. That would seem impossible to avoid achieving. Given that I've voted on 600 questions, clearly 150 of those votes would have been on questions.

If I have correctly parsed the information in this post and @Kendra comments, I think the intent would be better served with the wording "Cast 600 or more non-comment votes with at least 25% (minimum 600) of the total votes being on questions." if the intent is to provide clarity.

If the intent is obfuscation however the current approach succeeds admirably in my humble opinion.

  • 2
    I can live with If the intent is obfuscation however the current approach succeeds admirably ...
    – rene
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:02
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    Here's a link to the meta post with full descriptions of each badge, specifically the answer with this badge in it. Maybe that will help you come up with a better suggestion? (I don't have one myself, but I do agree that there is a lot of confusion with the current wording.)
    – Kendra
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:07
  • @Kendra thank you for your time. I'll keep working on it. Having the word questions twice in the same sentence is questionable in this instance...
    – Elder Geek
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:26
  • @rene Do you think "Cast 600 or more non-comment votes with at least 25% (minimum 600) of the total votes being on questions." is an accurate assessment of what earning this badge entails?
    – Elder Geek
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:31
  • 1
    It doesn't need to be accurate, some badges need to be gamed. Giving an mathematical precise explanation ruins the surprise when you earn one. Badges are like hats but without the seasonal aspect to it ...
    – rene
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:37
  • @rene In my humble opinion, if clarity on the requirements of this badge wasn't a desirable outcome, A) This question wouldn't exist nor would a table be required here. Everything I've read across the Stack Exchange sites I've visited led me to believe that Stack Exchange was a place where accuracy and precision were appreciated. Have I been Trumped?
    – Elder Geek
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:51
  • Well, if everything was clear we didn't need meta in the first place. As everything is designed here, so is the intention for some unclear rules. The discussion of these rules is off-topic on main, which is why meta came to existence. Precision is appreciated to a certain level.
    – rene
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:55
  • @rene My apologies, I didn't realize that having an unclear description of a badge requirement was a rule. I'm sorry if I've transgressed or offended you in some way. Can you clarify at what level precision is no longer appreciated so that I can be sure not to exceed that? :-)
    – Elder Geek
    Feb 17, 2017 at 23:19
  • If I'm going to tell you we wouldn't have these kind of lovely comment exchanges. I leave the rest to your own judgement and experiments. That is part of the fun. Enjoy! :D
    – rene
    Feb 18, 2017 at 8:10

I have to admit, this is still one of the more unclear and poorly-written badge descriptions; it is almost a poster child for the pitfalls that come when one tries to write more tersely than is really practical in English. That said, I do think a fairly plain, unambiguous description could be written that would not be much longer:

Cast at least 600 votes on questions and have no more than three times as many votes cast on answers as on questions

This would be a two-line description in the badge list, but it would be in good company there among dozens of other badges.

If brevity is really so greatly desired, though, I have another alternative:

Cast at least 25% and 600 of your total post votes on questions

This compares favorably in length, detail, and of course disambiguation with the current version:

Vote on 600 questions and 25% or more of total votes are on questions

(It is not what I would call clear; it's rather obtuse on first sight, but I don't believe it's easy to mistake the meaning for any other possibilities; it is either completely opaque to the reader, or well understood, with little possibility of unnoticed error.)


How can this badge even be calculated, given that voting histories are not tracked? I was under the impression that there was no record of what I voted for: votes are tracked by their targets (questions and answers have votes), but user data is only saved for the number of votes in total, other than downvotes which are visible in my recent activity (as well as negatively affecting my reputation).

So, to rephrase: how is this tracked in the database? Just how much information about my voting history is saved?

  • interestingly, the item after this one on the front page right now touches on this subject: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/34323/… ... check the answer comments where Jeff talks about being unwilling to expose such history... given that, i'd say your impression of no record saved is just plain incorrect. Jan 2, 2010 at 18:47
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    You can view old questions and your votes are displayed to you; they must be saved somewhere. Plus preventing duplicate votes requires tracking some past history. (Preventing dupes doesn't require tracking up or down, and that's seemingly not required for this badge either, but it does track that, because it displays it to you.)
    – Gnome
    Jan 2, 2010 at 18:55
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    @Roger: you're right: I can see what I previously voted on, so that information must be saved. I conflated "this information is not in the public data dump" with "this information is not saved at all" -- two very different things.
    – Ether
    Jan 2, 2010 at 18:59
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    Voting history is not exported in the monthly data dump. That would be bad. But it is saved in the actual database used by the site. Jan 2, 2010 at 21:46

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