I would like to propose the following badge:

enter image description here

This would be given to the users whose question gets 15* up-votes before receiving the first answer.

EDIT: An alternativ to this could be that the badge is won if the users receives X number of up-votes before he receives an answer that is up-voted Y number of times. Thanks @belisarius for the comment!

The last may avoid childish behavior, since otherwise it would be in basically everyone's hand to avoid you getting that badge, a quick nonsense answer could spoil it for you too.

Take a look at the query that @Benjol made to the database, this may help you make up your mind for or against this badge request. See: Answer and Query.
Thanks Benjol!

I think I would be a good prize for, a clearly good question asker with a (community judged) hard to answer but very interesting question.

The disadvantages (I can see) is that it maybe it will encourage difficult questions (as opposite to good ones - since hard can be good). I don't think this would be a serious issue since basically it will encourage people to make up-votable questions rather that un-answerable ones.

That said, in my opinion, it is still think it will be a nice price for a an apparently great question in a very particular situation due to the normal speed of responses.

Keep in mind that everything from the name of the badge, the amount of up-votes, if it's bronze/silver/gold is just a suggestion by a very imagination-wise limited human being, everything is completely open to suggestion.

So, what do you think?

*I would have suggested 10 but then every time you won this one, you would have won the nice question too, maybe 10 points is almos impossible and badge should be gold or maybe it should be 5 votes, up to you.

Pushing it a bit harder, a "Impossible Question" (silver/gold) could be a follow up to this badge, with say 25 up-votes.

  • 5
    Before receiving the first answer should be rephrased to something like before receiving an answer with more than x (2?) votes . Just to forbid non real or bad answers to block your journey into glory. Salute! Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:48
  • @BoltClock Thanks for the feedback! Though I know probably the one hour was just an example (a counter argument if I may) I "chose" the up-vote measure because it is much more relevant to how this site works and much more reveling. There are various (equally valid) reasons to up-vote, but one thing doesn't undermine the other, if it receives up-votes, it is a good question for what ever reason. I am aware of the the other badges of course, I proposed this one for the particular situation that someone posted an excellent question without an immediate answer.
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 19:00
  • Most valuable badges are tied to some kind of long range, almost statistical behavior. I think this one is OK for a bronze badge, but not sure for the rest. Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 19:28
  • @Turfa, I stand corrected and I've revised my position on this given we have some numbers! Good stuff!
    – Mohamad
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 16:38
  • In a trivial fashion I wonder if there is a difference between "hard question" that takes deep or intricate knowledge and "overly complex question" with a lot of constraints put on it that just takes a lot of work to answer? Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 14:57
  • Impassible. Nothing's impossible.
    – bobobobo
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 1:21
  • Unfortunately you chose the wrong name for the badge. It is a great idea, but the bad name you gave it made people complain about how to measure difficulty and how to define "hard", when that was not the point. Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 20:48
  • @Victor should have gone with Tricky question? :)
    – Trufa
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 21:39
  • "Tricky" could do, but I think that it still would raise similar complaints. I once suggested "epic question" and "epic answer", and my question was closed as a duplicate of this one. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/117593/… Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 22:13

4 Answers 4


Hard questions don't generally get heavily up-voted, so I'm not sure what this behavior would measure.

Bikeshed questions get a lot of up-votes but they also typically get equally many answers. So maybe trivial or funny questions that get a flurry of heh-heh votes but not interesting enough to contribute to? Either way, I don't imagine your criteria would result in a "hard question" badge.

There's never been a good measure for "hard questions" on Stack Overflow. Difficulty is very relative.

  • thanks for the feedback! Very interesting references and concepts! I think you have very good points but I don't particularly agree since: A) the problem of funny questions is not a problem with the badge but with SO (and the human brain apparently) :) this then could be solved by having a non CW policy for the badge (funny questions get quickly converted to CW) and are generally quickly answered with trivial replies. Regarding how to measure "Hard Questions" I agree this may be a draw back since indeed this is subjective and how fast they get answered even if it's hard || continues...
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 19:20
  • 1
    is almost random, but this may be a problem mainly with the name of the badge which my be poorly chosen! As I said it is up to discussion, and what we may be praising is not the difficulty of question, just giving other parameters as to whether it was a good question. Does this makes any more sense to you?
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 19:22
  • I called that "epic question". This solves the problem about the badge name. Further, answering an epic question and getting your answer accepted should give you the "epic answer" badge. Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 20:43

It would appear that there are thirty-eight questions which meet the following criteria:

  • 15 or more upvotes
  • No accepted answer
  • Not closed
  • No answers with more that two upvotes

Of which, SEDE shows two having no answers at all, but they've both been answered since.

Here's the sql, and here's the query.

select Q.Id as [Post Link], Q.Score from Posts Q
where Q.Score >= 15
and Q.PostTypeId=1
and Q.ClosedDate is null
and Q.AcceptedAnswerId is null
and not exists (select A.Id from Posts A where A.Score >= 2 and A.ParentId = Q.Id)
order by Q.Score desc

Note that this query doesn't take into account questions which at some point in their past would have been candidates.

  • 1
    that is excellent!! 5thank you very much!! I'll take a look! +1
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 13:07
  • So, the badge would have to be a platinum one :-). And the threshold should be lowered to 4 for bronze, 8 to silver and 12 to gold.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 12:32

Another measure for this that might be worth considering is the number of times the question has been starred as a favourite.

I've noticed that starring as a favourite is a somewhat under-used facility on SO, but where it is used, it's typically because someone has seen a question that they don't know the answer to, and which doesn't already have a good answer but they would be interested in seeing an answer if/when it comes.

It seems to me that given the above, a heavily favourited question would very likely be considered hard. Perhaps in conjunction with the criteria already suggested, this could be used to mitigate against the false-positives that some of the other answers here have been warning against.

  • The only problem with this suggestion is that not every favorite is starred because someone wants to the know the answer. Many times I will favorite questions because I think they are poor and I want to check back on them and see if they get improved.
    – jzd
    Commented Mar 15, 2011 at 16:24
  • @jzd - that's a reasonable point. But I'd make a counter-argument that when its in combination with the other points in the original question, perhaps more of the stars would be for the right reasons.
    – Spudley
    Commented Mar 15, 2011 at 16:34

Given that a query has been run and it's been determined that 38 questions exist where this badge could be awarded, I like the idea. I think it should be a "gold badge", though.

but I don't think such a badge necessarily encourages good behavior. To the contrary, it might compel users to ask inconsequential, but intentionally difficult questions to receive the badge.

My logic could be debated, but given the criteria you set forth (15 up votes without an answer) achieving this badge will be difficult. I would be curious if anyone could run a query and find out how many questions fall in that category...

Difficult questions are often difficult to understand and answer correctly; they're not necessarily difficult to answer. People will invariably attempt to answer such questions without fully understanding them. Difficult questions also encourage a level of discussion for clarification, which can also lead to answers, incomplete, correct, or otherwise.

The final hurdle is, well, in my time on SO, I've only asked one question out of 125 that garnered more than 10 votes (12). It may say more about me than the voting system, but I think that's a difficult landmark to reach without an answer.

  • when you say "very difficult to implement" do you mean technically or do you mean a badge difficult to achieve?
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:00
  • @Trufa, I just update my answer to clarify this. I meant difficult to achieve.
    – Mohamad
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:03
  • @Mel tanks for the feedback, as I said 10/15 or 5 is only an example. You make a very good point with: "Difficult questions are often difficult to understand and answer correctly; they're not necessarily difficult to answer" and I think it is related to one of the disadvantages I thought it might have, that people could spoil it for you, but then again this badge is called "hard question" so it shouldn't be a badge you could get often... I don't agree that it is so difficult though, I am not a top user (not even remotely close) and was close to them quite a few times || continues...
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:12
  • in fact the last question I asked inspired this badge request since it was quite close! I do agree it would be great if someone (No idea how to actually do this) could query the database an see what is the average up-votes before the first answer is posted.
    – Trufa
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:20
  • @Trufa, perhaps you are right in that regard (the majority of my questions suck!), but it would certainly be interesting to see that statistic.
    – Mohamad
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:40
  • @Mel, I tried to run a query, but it said "Something is wrong with the server" :)
    – Benjol
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 12:41

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