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This discussion is mainly intended to focus on supporting good answerers. There are already a decent amount of question badges.

I was thinking that we could introduce a bronze, silver, and gold badge that's intended to reward those that consistently provide good answers. The specifics are up for discussion, but I was thinking that we would reward the badge if someone has given 20/100/500 (numbers are really only an example) answers and X% of them have a score of, say, 5 or higher. Alternatively, we could look at average or total score over all those answers.

My hope is that this will dissuade answers from people who don't actually know what they are talking about. Or at least, it might encourage people to be more informed when posting an answer.

My secondary hope is that this might allow people to recognize who has a history of providing good answers. If you see someone with a gold badge for consistent good answers, it gives you extra incentive to trust their answer.

Lastly, I see people like our beloved QMechanic who have some ridiculously high number of answers (and 0 questions in his case, which makes it more impressive) and most of them are highly voted. I feel that they should be rewarded for always knowing what they're talking about and only answering when they're sure of it and can back up their claims.

Most of these things can also be applied to people that ask consitently good questions, but I don't like the idea of discouraging someone from asking a question because they think it won't be voted high enough.

So what does everyone else think? Would giving out badges for having consistently good answers be a good idea?

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    $\begingroup$ I think that this is exactly the kind of request that should have gone to the mother meta. Unless you think that having consistently good participants is special to physics.se. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 5 '13 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee It takes a while to learn that lesson. I think now is the first time I've done it, anyway. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jun 5 '13 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee I'll do that next time. I wasn't aware of the protocol for this type of question. I looked around before asking but the faq for meta is gone now and most of the posts on protocol say "see faq". Thanks for letting me know though $\endgroup$ – Jim Jun 5 '13 at 16:32
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There are already Nice/Good/Great Answer badges, given at 10, 25 and 100 votes respectively, which can be earned multiple times on multiple questions. Users with multiple such badges can be trusted to be "consistently good answerers" and have already been rewarded as such.

There are also tag badges, which are relatively rare and which are awarded at 100/400/1000 upvotes on 20/80/200 answers with the relevant tag. I have a lot of respect for anyone with a silver tag badge or with multiple bronze tag badges.

I therefore don't see a need to institute new badges. A possibility along the direction you're asking about is to highlight a user's tag badges when they answer questions on those tags. I would give a cautious "no" vote to that; I feel it would needlessly clutter a neat interface that works well as it is.

More than that, the concept that you'd trust better (and therefore maybe upvote and accept) answers by salient users sounds like an appeal to authority fallacy to me. Good answerers are that because their answers are good, and they should (continue to) earn their upvotes, rep and badges by producing good answers and having them critically evaluated by the community.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree, in fact I wouldn't mind if rep/badges were hidden on posts. One should vote because of the answer, not because of the answerer. (Though there's a credibility angle to this as well) $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jun 5 '13 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ You make a convincing point. For the record, I was attempting to get at the credibility angle that @Manishearth mentioned. But I can see how my suggestion probably would come with more cons than pros. However, I just want to point out that having tag badges and answering consistently is different. Getting a bronze tag badge for 600 answers with only 100 upvotes isn't as impressive as getting one for 125 answers with 75% at 2 or more upvotes. Still your point remains true $\endgroup$ – Jim Jun 5 '13 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth: That point everyone forgets. I've seen answers from high rep. users (no offense) earning votes within a few seconds (even though they post a long answer :D). On the other hand, I've also seen a few users like Josh, Mike (and Jim too) not earning votes at the start, but based on the relevance and good quality of answers - they're earning more votes now I think so ;-) $\endgroup$ – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Jun 5 '13 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Jim Any metric you propose will necessarily be imperfect. Tag badges work rather well, I think, particularly if you look at users with several of those, which will be much harder to get unless you consistently answer well. But then again, you shouldn't really be looking, as I said. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jun 5 '13 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty I agree. At first I had thought my idea was good, but you all have convinced me quite thoroughly to the contrary. Thanks for the discussion! :D $\endgroup$ – Jim Jun 5 '13 at 18:19

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