After posting this question: Is the Area 51 badge Great Question achieveable? now I'm wondering if the whole Good / Great Question badge idea is appropriate on Area 51.

This is because the votes essentially stop after 20. Since the goal is to get to the commit phase (requiring 5 on topic and 5 off topic questions, each in turn requiring 20 votes), it makes it

  1. very hard to get either badge and
  2. not a very good target.

Surely the badges (for those interested - see comments in question link above) are to encourage the desired behaviour. These badges look like a carry over from other sites like this one.

Perhaps they should be replaced by simply a Top 5 badge i.e. "Question was one of 10 that defined a Q&A". So maybe a silver badge if there is one question and a gold if a contributor has submitted both an on and off topic question for one Q&A.

Seems more appropriate to me. What do others think?

  • 1
    Because it's not static, the order might change over time – Ivo Flipse Aug 6 '10 at 20:14
  • 3
    @Ivo - that's a good point - I guess you'd have to wait until the Commitment phase started and all the votes were final and top 5 questions were known. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Aug 6 '10 at 20:26

I'm not sure how to search for highest-voted questions within proposals, but from my experience, the highest score seems to be somewhere between 30 and 40. I managed to snag a 31 in one, and IIRC it was the highest-voted one in the proposal.

(Coincidenally, I just got the badge for this today, even though the proposal is now in beta and was in commitment for several weeks?)

Anyway, I think the threshold for "good" question should be the same number of votes it takes to count as an example - 20. Very busy proposals may result in lots of badges, but most proposals today aren't that busy. A "great" question means that people continued to vote on your question even after it was deemed "good enough". I say that 30 is a reasonable number for that; even the most popular proposals never seem to reach 40 votes for any given question, and typically the top-voted posts are just above 30 and there are only a small number of them.

So, I think that lowering the limits a bit is better than switching to a ranking system (which as Ivo points out could get confusing):

  • 10 votes - Nice Question
  • 20 votes - Good Question
  • 30 votes - Great Question

If that sounds self-serving then all I can say is that I don't personally care that much about badges, especially on Area 51.. I'm just basing these numbers on the actual voting patterns I've seen so far. Some questions really are popular enough to edge past the magic 20 milestone, but only slightly, because once a proposal picks up enough steam to see any questions voted up to 20, it's only going to be a short time before it reaches commitment.

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  • I like your suggestion - I think it is well thought through. I still prefer mine because the badge is then more in line with the goal of the site (there is no point continuing to vote beyond 20) but yours is a good alternative. Thanks for taking the time to answer. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Aug 8 '10 at 16:31

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