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Does the Enlightened badge encourage the Fastest Gun in the West problem?

I have only been using MSE for a month now, but part of me feels that the Enlightened Badge is a bad thing.

It gives motivation to:

  1. Post an incomplete answer first and then fix up later.
  2. Post before an answer was actually ready.
  3. Make posting races more pronounced.

Why is there a badge for posting first? This makes little sense to me anyway, and I think it should be removed. (3) isn't bad, but (1) and (2) really bother me, especially (1). I know many times someone might come back later and fix their answer later if they made it quickly, that is fine. But encouraging someone to make it quickly just seems weird.

Edit: So the badge probably never causes anyone to make such a decision, and those are only theoretical possibilities. I myself tend to edit my posts a few minutes after all the time, but that is just from re-reading and realizing I should say more, or that what I said was poor quality. (and a variety of other reasons)

I guess my point with this post is that in principle I don't think the badge should exist.

  • I am considerably less sure about this post then when I made it. I repeat, I doubt anyone actually does weird things to get such a badge, and a lot of good editing behavior could be misinterpreted as such. But in principle, I disagree with the badge. – Eric Naslund Feb 26 '11 at 23:26
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    We can't do anything about badges; if you are really interested in asking this question, ask it on meta.SO (meta.SE?). – Qiaochu Yuan Feb 26 '11 at 23:43
  • @Qiaochu: Should this be deleted then? – Eric Naslund Feb 26 '11 at 23:49
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    Does anyone really care about badges? I have them somewhere in my Things that Distract me from What I Find Interesting in the Site list – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Feb 27 '11 at 0:50
  • @MarianoSuárez-Alvarez But they're ~~ shiny! ~~ – Mateen Ulhaq Jan 4 '12 at 2:05

This is one aspect of the problem known as the FGITW, and it is mostly for the good.

Yes, I think posting races are a good thing, because the help users to get answer as fast as possible. The fact is that if you post a wrong or misleading quick answer and then try to fix it you run a very serious risk of getting voted down in the mean time. If that happens you're fighting to make up lost ground.

So any partial answer you post must be good and correct, and each edit must make it more complete and more correct in order for you to keep receiving votes and keep improving your position.


I always viewed it as an encouragement to be the first answer, that is, favor questions that currently have no answer.

Since the #1 requirement of the badge is "be first", it explicitly encourages answering questions that have yet to be answered at all. And to answer well!

How is that possibly a bad thing?