Lets be honest with ourselves does it really matter that people are gaming badges/rep?

Surely if someone is so obsessed with rep that they are willing to go to any length to get it, that's their problem?

I use SO to get questions I can't find the answer to answered, I don't care if the person who answers it has 1 rep or 100,000 rep. If the answer is correct thats all that matters.

If it's wrong I'll vote it down, if it's correct or kind of correct I'll vote it up and maybe comment on it.

Most of the badges could be gamed, but some person some where having "all teh badgezors" is no skin off my backnose. I don't care so long as when I have a question someone is willing to answer it.

I'm all for the community, I answer questions when I can and when it's not already been answered, I up/down vote things as I think is appropriate. Usually I'm motivated by making the community a better place, sometimes I'm motivated by making my rep a round number (I was so chuffed when my rep hit 1337) but I really don't care about who has what badges, sure I feel a little fuzzy inside when I (legitimately) get a badge, because I can see that I have benefited the community in some way, I'm not worried about the penis measuring that seems to make so many people go off the rocker. Who cares if people have more rep than you or don't legitimately have badges?

Fair enough more rep leads to higher levels of privilege but badges don't mean squat, if someone has low enough self esteem that the only way they can get their kicks is by getting virtual badges to put on their virtual sash well they have bigger problems that badge gaming. And why should we care?

6 Answers 6


No, it doesn't matter. That's why we discuss it, endlessly: because the results are irrelevant.

  • 1
    Best answer yet tempted to mark it as the correct answer but I don't want to kill this discussion. Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:49
  • 1
    Noooo, you should accept mine, because I game my rep for ending in 0, and it currently ends in 5, so I need the accept. Shog9 clearly does not care about the aesthetic appeal of his rep, so to heck with him.
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 19:32
  • 3
    @chaos: i've spent 11 months trying to break myself of the obsession over keeping an even reputation number, and then you throw this at me? Bah!
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 21:03
  • 1
    You down with OCD? Yes, yes, definitely, definitely down with OCD, definitely.
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 22:52
  • Chaos your rep is currently 760. i don't want to cause you undue stress, so i'll just accept this. Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 9:15
  • Thanks, Omar. You're a gentleman and a scholar.
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 14:55

Gaming rep matters some, because there are administrative privileges keyed to rep. Gaming badges matters not at all.

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    Thats what I think. But you do have to game the rep an aweful lot to get admin priveliges, and somone is going to notice. Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 14:54
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    Omar: Post 300 questions and get them upvoted once or twice each and you've just gained yourself the ability to close vote.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:28
  • You can add one vote to close, you need 4 votes to close a Q closing a question gains you what? Nothing. Besides if a question is wrongly closed an admin can reopen it. Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:45
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    Well hell, now that you make it sound like that, let's just give everyone all the editor privileges when they first start out since it is so easy to clean up after everyone.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:59

It definitely matters. Badge gaming has lately killed /review. See also The current review system encourages fake reviews; some people upvote everything rather than actually fixing problems.

After all, you could also see it from the other perspective on: offering badges for /review has been a bad idea as /review is not a game at all.


The only badge that I see which could be "gamed" and provide some sort of real negative impact on the site would be the taxonomist badge. All other badges are generally either pretty innocent enough, or if you game something (i.e. a quick flagging of a post for a badge) the negative effects are minimal. Taxonomist badge on the other hand can have some pretty drastic effects, but even then it is usually caught fast by moderators who are monitoring the tag changes.

  • 4
    Enlightened badge can be seen as a major driver of the fastest-gun effect. But that also makes it a driver of getting people rapid solutions to their problems, so I figure it balances out.
    – chaos
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 14:56
  • 7
    I'm going to suplex the next person who brings up taxonomist "gaming" with ZERO PROOF OF ANY KIND. Well, you know, I heard that bad stuff happens.. sometimes.. somewhere.. to some people.. that I heard of.. this one time.. Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 14:59
  • Jeff Atwood: I am not saying that it has ever actually happened. I am just saying the possibility is out there (and I even said that it is unlikely due to our moderators being on their toes).. I could have sworn that I remembered one instance of someone going and doing a mass retagging, but this was months ago.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:02
  • chaos: I don't see the FGITW as a problem. If you are first and correct, I don't see it as a problem. It just sounds like you're pretty damn good at what you are doing.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:02
  • 5
    @Jeff Atwood: I'm going to retag everything with "Suplex" to game the Taxonomist badge. Come and get it, punk. Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:05
  • this is Pesto and I, now youtube.com/watch?v=wqKFadyJxwg Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:11
  • 1
    Wait are you are beating him up becasue he won't put on the sun glasses? or is he beating you up becasue you won't them on? What do the sunglasses represent? are the demons that you can see with the sun glasses supposed to represent people gaming the taxonomist tag? Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:17
  • @Jeff: Yeah, but I make those glasses look good. Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:20
  • The sun glasses help me see stupid people better. And all the invisible ponies.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:22
  • Am I missing the fat guy crying and hiding in the dumpster or was there more to the joke?
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 15:25

Badges are an administrative way to get users to participate in certain types of functionality. Whether a badge is designed to encourage good behavior or to get users to try certain features, "gaming the badge system" still accomplishes that goal.


You can't stop people gaming the system, simply because there is a system and some people have to try.

All you can do is make it not worth their while. In the case of badges it probably isn't worth changing anything. In the case of rep Jeff has already taken action to prevent voter fraud and will do so again should the need arise - see here and here

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