Yesterday I brought a new user to Stack Overflow.

Just when I was about to privately answer yet another programming question I decided to do it. She was kicking and screaming at first, but then she realized how cool Stack Overflow is and now we're both happy.

So, how about a badge that would reward bringing new members who will become active users (i.e. get 200 rep)? Name doesn't really matter.

  • 3
    Do we really want to encourage more people to join Stack Overflow? I think not.
    – Welbog
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:07
  • 3
    200 -> 10000 would make the suggestion better.
    – P Shved
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:08
  • 1
    Sure we do. First of all SO is an ad-supported business, secondly — more people will hopefully produce better software.
    – sneg
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:10
  • 3
    How do you propose that the system would reliably identify who introduced the new user to SO and that the "new" user isn't really you in disguise?
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:10
  • When person is registering new account he should be able to find another user and point him as the one who brought him there. Require reputation for new users should prevent cheating.
    – sneg
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:12
  • 14
    I hate users. They're always putting bugs into my software!
    – Welbog
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:13
  • I think a minimum amount of rep + a time limit would be better. Maybe something like 500 rep within 6 months.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:15
  • 4
    @sneg -- for a person bent on getting the badge, getting 200 rep for a sock puppet wouldn't be hard.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:17
  • 3
    200 rep is just a first idea. The detailed requirements owners can figure out. How about the main idea itself?
    – sneg
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:22
  • @Jon Only 7% of registered users have 500 or more reputation... And that's counting everyone. Even 200 is pretty high. The vast majority (88%) has less than 200 rep points. And again, that's counting everyone. 10k is totally ludicrous, only 0.3% of users. Commented Sep 16, 2010 at 15:16

4 Answers 4


If you could reliably detect that the person was introduced by another individual and the amount of rep the other person had to gain was substantial enough to discourage people from trying to do it with sock puppets -- say 1000 rep within a year -- then it would be ok. One suggestion would be to be able to send an email with a coded invite to another individual's email address, assuming its not already registered. The coded invite could be used to tie the new registration (assuming it happens) to the person who sent the invite.

Personally, this wouldn't change how I use and recommend SO, but I do see it as a positive behavior that SO might want to encourage with a badge.

  • 2
    To come up with a reasonable rep requirements for a new user I think it is needed to do a little statistical analysis of current users, like how soon on average people reach 1000 rep, how many are just mostly reader and so on.
    – sneg
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 16:46
  • But Jeff despises email :( Commented Mar 13, 2010 at 20:56
  • 1000 period is a ridiculously high number. 96% of all users have less than 1000 rep, that's counting everyone. Commented Sep 16, 2010 at 15:12
  • ok, but that 4% is still aroudn 10K users. It's a moot point now, though with the new Announcer, Booster, and Publicist badges -- which are based on unique IPs from a shared link and not at all on rep.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Sep 16, 2010 at 15:40

You have to be a bit careful when you encourage/reward people for referrals. People become overzealous and it leads to abuses/spam in other public forums. Sites that have affiliate/referral programs often have big problems with their name becoming associated with spam.

I know that badges don't have the same value as cash payments but, still, the potential is there for people to start spamming public forums to rack up the badges.

"Join Stack Overflow. Tell them DaemonDOOdz327 sent you."

  • Good point. Then maybe private invite through email is better.
    – sneg
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 17:02
  • That's why I'm suggesting an SO-generated email with an encoded invitation -- specific to both the email address specified and the user sending it. This could be rate-limited (as is everything else) to discourage it being used for such spam. It could also verify that the person isn't already a member before being sent.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Mar 12, 2010 at 17:02

A "Real Job" Headhunter Badge

How about a badge if you've hired somebody off of jobs or careers?

That's certainly something we should encourage!

(I originally was going to say "real headhunter" badge but "real" headhunting doesn't seem so great.)

  • I like this, but it's off-topic for this question. -1, but would upvote if it were a standalone feature request.
    – Pops
    Commented Sep 16, 2010 at 14:47

Well, we don't have exactly this, but Area 51 has some badges that are darn close.

alt text

We do have: Announcer, Booster, Publicist.


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