The idea is to "award" temporal anti-badges for bad behaviour, which will be removed when some kind of penance has been done. [edit One could even include side effect which activate some constraints.] I'll post some examples as answers, feel free to add more.

edit Jeff replied

You never reward the wrong behavior. You ignore it. You only reward desired behaviors.

I think this may be fine for training a dog who actually should accept you as alpha male and desire your attention, however some people behave "wrong" not because they want attention but simply because a) they don't know better or b) they are indeed mischievous. While group a) should be easily correctable, group b) will take being ignored as sign that they are free to cause <dramatization> havoc </dramatization> as much as they desire. Certainly, they can get banned for that, but anti-badges would at least provide means to put someone on parole.

Consider this suggestion as user-ban's little brother

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    As others have said before, awarding badges (even the anti kind) is going to encourage bad behaviour, not discourage it. Not for everyone addmittedly, but there will always be some who try and get the anti-badges. Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 10:05
  • @Grant Croton: yes, and reading @Vivi's link makes a good point there. The anti-badge could of course be made invisible to the user himself and only visible for other registered users... But I guess that would not help much, either Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 11:47
  • -1: Already been suggested, already been rejected. Many. Times. Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 0:11
  • @Andrew Grimm: you mean like this? I understand that a permanent "trophy" is a bad idea, that's why I suggested a temporal marker with negative effects to the "achiever" Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 11:58
  • If you're going to make this a spot for all ideas relating to negative badges, then it should be Community Wiki
    – devinb
    Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 13:02
  • @devinb: right you are, done. However I start to regret having linked this idea to [negative-badge] since it is no real badge I propose... Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 13:35
  • This is great, except what's the point of earning the award if it just goes away?
    – anon
    Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 1:53

7 Answers 7



Badges exist to reward and encourage the kind of positive behavior we want in our community. But not everyone seems to understand that. It’s tempting to suggest “funny” badges which reward behaviors that, if you really sat down and thought it through, are actually negative.

Have you ever trained a dog? (not saying our users are dogs, but the principles are startlingly similar)

You never reward the wrong behavior. You ignore it. You only reward desired behaviors.

  • I rather thought of this as a punishment, maybe even removing e.g. downvoting permission temporarily. It's just like a limited ban... But no, I have no dog, nor a kid, so I won't assume I know better. But punishment seems better than a badge that could be abused (although basically I like that idea) Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 10:02
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    @tobias giving attention is a reward not a punishment Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 10:19
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    @Jeff: I bet you read this article: nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fashion/25love.html
    – Vivi
    Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 11:14
  • @Vivi: Hey, that's {intersting|disturbing|cute}, thanks for this link. @Jeff alright, this sounds convincing. Although I'm not sure it can applied in general Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 11:44
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    Pavlov is rolling over in his grave. No pun intended :)
    – user50049
    Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 13:42
  • Did... did Jeff just call us all his bit[redacted for those who read Meta at work]es?
    – Pops
    Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 14:11
  • @vivi lol, I HAVE read that one before, and even mailed it to my wife back when I found it. Good stuff. :) Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 21:08
  • @Jeff I thought some more... Your point may be true for dogs and spouses, i.e. for those who love you and consider non-attention as a punishment. However, pushing your point of view to the extreme, criminals wouldn't need be put in prison but simply be ignored since not paying attention would make them stop sooner or later. Uhm. No. That's why users can be banned, right? But anti-badges would be kind of a smaller punishment, say, parole. Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 7:22
  • (clarification to my first comment, I like the idea of that badge, not of abusing it) Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 11:55
  • @Tobias: Banning or suspending users is analogous to going to jail or prison. The analogy to negative badges would be forcing somebody to wear some sort of stigma (like Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter) for a while, which is not part of modern jurisprudence. Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 19:53
  • @David Certainly it shouldn't be that prominent, maybe just as small a note on the user profile page as when somebody is banned. And I'd rather think of comparing this to some kind of social-work-instead-of-prison. Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 10:09

Advertiser: More than 75% of answers being flagged as spam

As a side effect, linking in posts could be disabled.


Lazybone >25% of the user's questions are closed as duplicates

possible side effect: a big fat reminder to use the search first

  • Considering that negative badges are a perennial rejected proposal at meta stack overflow, I think you would be a deserving candidate for it. Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 0:10
  • @Andrew Grimm: I did not propose negative badges that can be show-cased as troll-trophy, but rather a little brother to banning a user Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 12:00

Crusher of dreams 75% of questions the user voted to close have (without edits of course) been reopened for good (i.e. are open and have no longer been voted to close by others or even got locked)

Possible side effect: reduce close votes, or limit to dupe-vote only

  • on the other hand, the name could be used for of the [status-declined] badge Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 12:03
  • What problem is caused by a few people whose opinion on closing questions is rather different from other people? Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 19:54
  • @David I didn't say this is necessarily a good idea, just an idea... Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 10:06

Linker >75% of answers are only one or more links without at least a useful comment or quote

Possible side effect: no more linking, or only answers with more non-linked text than linked text allowed

  • What exactly will stop a mischievous user from posting only 74% of answers being just one or more links?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 12:14
  • @Grace Note: downvotes I assume Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 7:41

Possibly instead of anti-badges, instead what if bad behavior got a certain related badge revoked? Like if you earned citizen patrol or deputy, raising too many false alarm flags could revoke the previously earned badges, for example.


Indifferent: More than 75% of downvotes unexplained (or at least upvoting one "-1 because ..." comment).

As a side effect, downvoting could be disabled or limited until the badge is revoked.

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    And don't forget to discourage my behaviour by unexplained downvotes ;7 Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 9:38
  • I love the reliability of meta's irony :) Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 11:59

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