This feature request was declined by the community for a good reason – on a regular SE site, posting controversial questions or answers should usually not be considered positive behavior.

On Area51, however, I consider controversial questions (i.e. many on-topic and many off-topic votes) highly important, because they pretty much draw the borderline around the proposed site.

Having many trivially on-topic questions and many obviously off-topic questions is all good and well, but might not really help define the site. The controversial questions, on the other hand, clearly show where certain decisions and definitions have to be made for the site not to grow out of hand.

Thus I suggest a badge for posting a question that has many (quantity to be determined) on-topic and off-topic votes. Name suggestions are obviously encouraged.


Firestarter (bronze) – proposed a question with 5 yes and 5 no votes

Flamethrower (silver) – proposed a question with 15 yes and 15 no votes

Pyromaniac (gold) – proposed a question with 30 yes and 30 no votes

Each may be awarded multiple times. The criteria is, of course, "at least X yes votes and and least X no votes", but I don't think the badge text needs to say that.

With limits on proposed questions, the bronze should be relatively easy to get, but the silver and especially the gold will be much harder. I anticipate many of the bronzes will have votes like +19/-5, which is still somewhat controversial and could indicate the question is more important in defining the site than +24/-0.

Fanning the Flames :(

  • I really like the silver name (and it was the first I came up with, so the most obvious to me), but I'm not married to it. A single-word name would be preferred. – Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 16:50
  • +1 because I like the concept and the bronze/gold titles, but I'm not feeling "Fanning the Flames." It contains three words, which is unusual, and it's not a noun, which is also unusual. Perhaps "Coalman" or "Tender"? I wanted the old rail term "Fireman," but that obviously conflicts with the more common usage of the word. – Pops Jun 2 '10 at 16:55
  • @Robert: That inspired flamethrower. Flamer might have negative connotations for some. (But screw all you PC people.) – Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 17:10
  • A fireman puts out fires, not starts them. :) I have to concede on Fanning the Flames, unfortunately. @pop – Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 17:12
  • @The Cat, that's exactly the misperception I was afraid of, and the reason I suggested "Coalman"/"Tender." The historical definition is here. (That said, I'm okay with "Flamethrower," though it makes me think of a weapon more than a person.) – Pops Jun 2 '10 at 17:30
  • Ah, I see. I was imagining the flamethrower units in some RTS games, which does describe people, but I'm okay with anthropomorphizing for badges too. @pop – Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 17:36
  • @jon: The first is compound word and that avoids multiple word badges. Thanks for catching the other typo. – Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 17:39
  • @The Cat: No prob. Is using a multi-word badge a bad thing? There are already a bunch of them that have two words. – Jon Seigel Jun 2 '10 at 17:42
  • I'd certainly like to avoid multiple words. If you discount the Famous/Nice/Good/Great formulaic ones, there aren't that many. @jon – Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 17:45
  • True, but I think a good name should override the need to keep it one word (I'm obviously biased in this instance, but I'm talking in general). If you look on SO, there are several multi-word badges aside from the Famous/Nice/Good/etc. ones. – Jon Seigel Jun 2 '10 at 17:48
  • @jon: I suppose it's not too big of an issue for me, besides length. In this case, Firestarter is better semantically than Fire Starter, anyway. – Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 17:56
  • Nearly perfect suggestion - I just think the numbers for silver & gold are too high. Try 5/10/15 for bronze, silver and gold. (For reference see question score issue here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/59674/…) – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Aug 21 '10 at 19:55
  • @Mark: IIRC, this was before one of the voting changes; I'm not attached to any particular set of numbers. – Gnome Aug 23 '10 at 5:26
  • @Gnome - great. I really like this. So how can we get this implemented? – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Aug 23 '10 at 8:13
  • @Mark: This [feature-request] post is how: vote it up. However, my impression is the people that would make that decision don't agree that controversy is a good way to find the limits of a site's definition (or perhaps they just don't want controversy at that point in the process)—so I doubt it will be implemented. – Gnome Aug 23 '10 at 8:49

Agreed on its value; I propose "Donnybrooker"

  • 3
    WTF is a Donnybrooker? – user102937 Jun 2 '10 at 16:41
  • @Robert: dictionary.reference.com/browse/donnybrook – fbrereto Jun 2 '10 at 16:44
  • 6
    If you have to look it up to understand it... – user102937 Jun 2 '10 at 16:44
  • 3
    ... then it's a suitable badge name, because learning is good. +1. – Pops Jun 2 '10 at 16:48
  • 2
    @Popular: Yes, because the world will be so much better because we all know what the word "donnybrook" means. – user102937 Jun 2 '10 at 16:50
  • 1
    @Robert: Actually, for a very small value of "so much"... I'd say yeah. – fbrereto Jun 2 '10 at 17:05
  • 6
    @Robert: How many people had to look up "Strunk & White"? <raises hand> – Jon Seigel Jun 2 '10 at 17:45
  • 1
    @Jon: I did. And I didn't like the name of that badge either. It doesn't describe the purpose of the badge at all. – user102937 Jun 2 '10 at 18:04
  • I did have to look up "Strunk & White" too. I still find it a nice name for the badge. – Pekka Jun 22 '10 at 14:26

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