Related, but not equivalent to Badge request: gold badge: niche-master

Earning rep asking or answering questions in the less popular tags is much harder than earning badges on popular tags.

That makes it more difficult to earn the tags badges (or many other badges).

How about compensating users that are not in the mainstream with a badge appointed to those who got more than xxxx rep points in questions and answers tagged ONLY with low traffic tags(*)

Changing the xxxx for real values allows a (bronze-silver-gold) scale.

This also tends to promote (lightly, I reckon) the participation on those tags.

(*) Low traffic tags could be defined as a percentage of questions with that tag less than xx% of the total questions.

  • 2
    IMHO you should remove 2. While we want to promote people to answer less-popular tags, we don't want to discourage them from regularly participating in the mainstream tags. – John Jan 29 '11 at 22:45
  • I agree with @John. Even if you participate in many low-traffic tags and only one mainstream tag, you might very easily lose your badge to rule 2. Most often the mainstream tag will account for the majority of your reputation - especially if the low-traffic tags are very low-traffic. – sepp2k Jan 29 '11 at 23:05
  • @John Agree. Removed. – Dr. belisarius Jan 29 '11 at 23:19

The purpose of reputation is to show how much the site trusts you; it's approximately how much you are willing to work for the goals of the site (i.e., no badges for bad behavior). The purpose of badges is to promote certain patterns of behavior that are more beneficial to the site. The purpose of tags is to provide a mechanism for categorizing the questions, making them easier to find (particularly when it comes to search engines admittedly; new visitors often seem to not grok them at all).

So, starting from that, how would promoting the use of more different tags (the net effect of awarding badges for using more obscure tags) make things any better for SO? There is benefit to the use of common tags where possible (as it means that users are more likely to come across the question) and yet there is also benefit to exactly describing what a question is about in a SEO-friendly fashion. Which should we promote? (Is it sufficiently well promoted by existing mechanisms?)

Speaking personally, I'd love to get another badge (and I've received quite a large fraction of my rep from lesser tags so I'd likely benefit from something like this) but I do question whether balkanizing the questions like this would be a benefit to SO. Perhaps we don't need new badges, but rather better encouragement to try to get the badges that already exist. In a low-traffic tag, getting even a bronze badge can be very difficult, requiring answering significantly more questions than the number of votes required by the badge rules. In a high-traffic tag, getting the badges is much easier. If there was some scaling of the tag badge requirements by number of questions in that tag (the best metric I can think of) then at least the site could be said to no longer penalize experts in particular areas, just because they're not focussed on or ...

  • I think my proposal may work almost the same way by reducing the goals in getting the tag badges in low traffic tags. But perhaps the inhomogeneous requirements will result in confusion and convoluted rules. That's the reason for proposing a new badge instead of modifying the current ones. As for the gaming tagging questions with non popular tags, I guess the risk is low, because everyone knows that your question is better exposed and more prone to get rep points if it fits one popular tag. – Dr. belisarius Jan 30 '11 at 4:49
  • +1, because you are proposing a valid alternative for the basic objective. – Dr. belisarius Jan 30 '11 at 4:52

This is basically what Tenacious (used to be Tireless, was renamed) and Unsung Hero are for, though:


  • You may get Tenacious in high traffic tags for accepted answers that don't deserve voting up because of its quality. The proposal is about promoting high quality (so requiring rep gained) for questions and answers in low traffic tags. – Dr. belisarius Jan 30 '11 at 5:42
  • @bellsarius: High-quality won't necessarily translate to upvotes in really low-traffic tags though. If you and the asker are the only ones who looked at the question, it won't matter how good your answer is. So Tenacious is nice in those cases. And while you might get that badge for low-quality answers that get accepted anyway (so you don't get it when you've been downvoted IIRC), that's certainly not the intention and I'd argue that low-quality answers don't get accepted often enough for this to make a difference (and if they do, they're usually downvoted). – sepp2k Jan 30 '11 at 13:50

Just because a tag only shows up 200 times, does not mean people are less likely to vote in it.

There are however some very unlucrative tags, for example answering questions will be a thankless job. Nobody seems to upvote them.

On the other hand, answer questions and you will do very well.

From my work implementing the "tenacious" and "unsung hero" badges there was a strong correlation between the non-lucrative tags and people getting the badge. Even though theoretically people could get the badge and only participate in , in practice this did not happen.

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