Old unanswered questions are becoming a huge problem, and we need all the tools to better attack them.

We have been toying with the idea of a new badge for answering a question one month later and being the first answer with a score of 2 or more. (assigned retroactively) - odata query

But this so called "glate answer" badge, would need a slightly better name.

Any suggestions?

  • 3
    Would this come with a way to easily find those questions too? – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 8:17
  • @Roger, I'm hoping to account for that with the new front page redesign, agree we need to make this easier to find – waffles Nov 1 '10 at 8:19
  • Ah, I had missed the redesign. – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 9:01
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    Pardon me asking, but why is this a huge problem? Having some noise in the "unanswered questions" list is slightly annoying, but I don't see it as a major problem. Could you please elaborate? I did comment on bemace's suggestion. – Mads Elvheim Nov 1 '10 at 10:48

Because it looks like the necromancer badge, you could consider the following:

  • bronze: Revival, 30 days 2 upvotes
  • silver: Necromancer, 60 days 5 upvotes
  • gold: Reanimator, 100 days, 5 upvotes???
  • 6
    Revival is an Awesome name – waffles Nov 1 '10 at 8:13
  • Though this badge suggestion requires the answer to be the first, whereas Necromancer is for any answer. Revival with a first-answer requirement that isn't there for the others (with Reanimator at a score of 15) seems fine, though. – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 8:13
  • on this topic, a reanimator like badge would need more conditions ... otherwise look at the list odata.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/q/13486/reanimator – waffles Nov 1 '10 at 8:18
  • @waffles: >= 15 on that query gives 431 answers and >= 20 gives 252; compare to 1,335 Great Answer badges on SO currently. Why exclude CW though? – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 8:26
  • @Roger, I don't know ... looking through these wiki answers, I don't even understand why they are wiki ... odata.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/q/13494/… – waffles Nov 1 '10 at 8:55
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    @waffles: Yes, many questions are made CW under the old "compromise" of "doesn't belong here, but we'll allow it as CW instead of arguing", which I hope stops. I've been commenting to that affect: If you think a question should be made community wiki for any other reason than to allow more users to edit the "community-owned" posts, then what you really want is to close the question. – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 8:57
  • And many of the rest are CW because that feature was misunderstood, which is why it's now removed for questions. – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 8:59
  • @Roger that was my idea :) – waffles Nov 1 '10 at 9:03
  • @waffles: You mean the compromise? It worked at the time, but I think SO and the other SE sites would be better — now — without it. :) – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 9:07
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    @Roger, I mean stripping the option for CW questions ... I am only seeing a handful of flags every day to make questions CW ... I think it is working fairly well – waffles Nov 1 '10 at 9:10
  • @waffles: I understood your first answer requirement to mean that the question should have no answers for 100 days, then you come in, answer it, and it gets 5 upvotes. If I understand the OData query correctly this is not what you meant? – Jan Fabry Nov 1 '10 at 9:31
  • @Jan: The question is only about a single badge which does require the answer to be the first posted on that question. The query in the question reflects this. Necromancer (an existing badge) does not require the answer to be first, and I'd suggest neither should a Reanimator badge, as reflected in that query (though it should require more than 5 votes). – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 9:38
  • @Jan @Roger it's actually looking for the first answer to score 2 or more. Which may not be the first answer on the question – waffles Nov 1 '10 at 9:43
  • @waffles: Ah, I misread (twice). I suppose that makes sense, but wasn't obvious to me from the English description either. How about "Posted 30 days later and the earliest answer with a score of 2 or more" for badge description? – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 9:48
  • @Roger: I understand that Necromancer works differently, but since waffles seeks a solution for old, unanswered questions, I was thinking he only wanted to affect questions on the "unanswered" list. Maybe define it this way: an answer that removes a question from the unanswered list after it has been there for more than 100 days, and gets 5 upvotes or more. – Jan Fabry Nov 1 '10 at 9:54

If there is a gold version of this badge, it has to be called "Deus Ex Machina".

. . . a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object.


  • 2
    The problem is the word "contrived", which is absolutely essential to the definition of Deus Ex Machina. – Robin Green Nov 2 '10 at 8:26
  • @Robin Green That's not a bug, it's a feature. The absurd mental picture it gives of someone descending from the heavens and answering dead questions is why it's good. – TCPMAN.EXE Nov 2 '10 at 15:26
  • 1
    Otherwise we'd be sitting here quibbling about how summoning a human spirit is essential to the definition of a necromancer. – TCPMAN.EXE Nov 2 '10 at 15:46
  • Could also be confused with Deus Ex Machina (deus.com.au), the Australia motorcycle company. – Dhaust Dec 7 '10 at 1:44

What about 'scavenger' - for picking around in the remains of a dead question.

Now i consider it, 'Garbage-Collector' might be a better name...

  • Calling the question (or something else?) "garbage" may not be desired. This badge would be used on every site, rather than just SO, where "garbage collector" will be taken literally instead of referencing the programming tool. – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 16:10
  • 1
    Heh. For some reason this made me think of "Just Pinin' for the Fjords". Long, I know. – TCPMAN.EXE Nov 1 '10 at 17:25

I'd go for Zombie-Killer :D Alert, alert, dead question walking...bang!

  • Don't forget the double tap... – Paddy Nov 1 '10 at 16:27
  • @MartW, or Zombie Army perhaps? – Nemo May 1 '15 at 21:11

Necromancer (silver); existing, included for comparison
   Answered more than 60 days later with score of 5 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

(Removed "a question" from description.)

Revival (bronze); name credits to Gamecat
   Answered more than 30 days later with earliest answer scoring 2 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

Reanimator (gold); name credits to Gamecat
   Answered more than 90 days later scoring 4 or more with earliest answer scoring 2 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

Necromancer retains its current (slightly different yet still useful) meaning.

A query shows 473 retroactive Reanimators; compare to 1,335 Great Answer and 54 Reversal badges.

Both Revival and Reanimator require an answer which would remove the question from the unanswered list — this feels like the main goal of the badge request. (However, neither yet deals with accepted answers, so answers may qualify for questions that did not appear on the unanswered list.)

All Reanimators also earn a Revival badge (similar to Nice→Good→Great), but also encourage answering older questions (90 instead of 30 days) and require a "slightly better" answer (itself scoring 4). I arrived at four by playing with the query; this may need tweaking, but answers to older questions often don't attract much attention.

Both Revival and Reanimator have a race condition: answering an "unanswered" question could bring attention to it and thus upvotes for older answers — resulting in disqualification to the newer answer. Similarly, you could later be disqualified by earlier answers reaching a score of 2, which won't remove the badge but may make it much harder to collect multiples.

All three badges should apply to CW answers. Only 13 of the 473 Reanimators are CW.

  • I'm not sure a gold badge is even needed, but if there is one along the lines of Revival, it should concentrate on answers that were posted as a result of viewing "unanswered" questions. Perhaps Reanimator could be silver and identical to Revival, except for a longer time frame than 30 days? – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 10:39
  • If it's not obvious, I'm concentrating on the badge descriptions and mechanics, rather than the actual names; change those to whatever. – Gnome Nov 1 '10 at 16:12

How about Late Bloomer? I like this because it kinda goes hand-in-hand with the plant theme of the Tumbleweed badge (i.e. a question that is still unanswered after a month likely earned a Tumbleweed badge, and the good (but late) answer to it earns a Late Bloomer badge).

I had first thought of Ugly Duckling, but that sounds like it has a bit of a negative connotation.


How about an Exorcist badge.

Deleting or voting to delete a question that is up for 6 months, receives large number of views but zero votes and zero answers.

The original problem is that there are too many Unanswered/Tumbleweed questions. Badges should focus on moving these out of Unanswered, by either...Answering, Deleting, Marking Dupe? </my2¢>

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