Redesigning Badges

Hi dudes and dudettes.

I was wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on redesigning the Badges that are awarded.

Although they seem like a small and pretty useless part of the way a forum like this works, it is actually a extremely powerful tool if used correctly.

Here, :heart:s are basically the equivalent of “likes” on other platforms, but here we have a slight advantage… Badges…a automatic “validation” of those “likes”.
If you pass a certain number of :heart:s you get a badge basically saying well done.

It sounds minimal and again pointless but in today’s world a “like” is the same as someone laughing at a joke you told in a group or smiling at a picture you shown them, it’s confirmation that people are enjoying your existence/content.

At the moment the badges are really bland and nothing you’d be excited to share on a 3rd party (Instagram/Facebook…), but if we used cute/catchy icons for them they would be, which would in turn draw more traffic to both the forum and the marketplace.

Also adding more that can be achieved for random stuff such as, taking part in certain threads, being all around informative and helpful… And so on.

People love collecting stuff, whether it be artwork or Pokémon cards… We’ve all been hooked on something “pointless” at some point.

Also, this might be something to take up with the discourse team, but if a staff member was to award someone or a specific comment, have that award show up along with its title… Along the lines of how Reddit gold works.

As a example

Anyone have any thoughts?

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Here is my opinion as a member back in the old forum days when reputation points were given or subtracted for GOOD reasons it helped other often new members know how to differentiate between people that had a solid contribution and solid advice and those that did not or were just distractions.

Nowadays with people getting participation trophies/rep for everything in real life and online, number of likes or positive reputations points are no longer indicative of what I previously mentioned (people will get a simple like for posting a picture or saying something like “nice pic”)

As far as the badges I can tell you I do not look at peoples pages to see their badges nor do I look at mine, I am here to share my passion and knowledge and that is it, not to be popular, liked or getting a badge for doing what I am suppose to do as a contributing member of a forum.

Now the badges are here and it’s fine however because they are here I prefer to see something small, uniform and discreet with a professional look that fits the template of the forum.

Now as a staff member chances are templates for various forum come with a set of badges and I am not sure if those can be changed or not and if they can if @John as the ability to do so or if it can only be done at the discourse level.

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This was nearly never how it actually worked on old forums. It’s one of the reasons Discourse was created. The old methodology behind online forums just never scaled. The most frequent and verbose posters often boosted ahead early and drowned out actual conversations. People found some undeserved confidence in reputation because they were great at self advocacy but lousy at participation. Think of Reddit :scream: Or Facebook :scream:

Discourse is a great platform to facilitate discourse by solving some of these problems in its own way. What looks like a participation trophy here is no more a cheap participation trophy than old forum rep was.

One of the goals outlined by MorphMarket was to make a modern forum with modern features. No more vBulletin shenanigans, I hope.

You don’t even have to be hooked on it. Sometimes it’s just fun to get a notification that you’ve used a feature you haven’t used before or hit a post milestone. It keeps people engaged and curious.

From Open Badges to Badgr this can be facilitated outside of Discourse. Could be fun.

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I didn’t mean implementing reputation points at all, more along aesthetically improving what we already have.

This could actually help go against that process. At the moment pretty much every single badge can be achieved by anybody if enough dedication went it to it. However, staff having their own personal badge that they can hand out at their discretion to well deserving (educational) topics/posts that they believe are pushing the hobby further, would help filter your users. You know users or topics displaying the “Stewart Reptiles badge” is top quality and should be taken over someone with the “500 :heart:s received badge”.

If a post is “OWAL” approved I’m more likely to take advice on there more serious.

Uniform can be done, my original post example was just a quick sketch up of what I mean.

I did do a little digging and I’m pretty sure its possible, I could be wrong though.

They are new names to me, I’ll have to check them out :blush:

Every organization throughout time has used badges as a symbol of accomplishment, belonging, tenure, and leadership so I’m cool with having them. I haven’t actively checked another MM user’s badges/credentials but I did in the old forums and the older forums (Fauna) and weighed that against the substance of their comments. As for the cute/impressive/awe-factor of the badge designs themselves, I don’t go in for cute and I’m not much for outside validation (if my contribution is good it should stand on its own merit) so I’m unlikely to share MM badges on any other site. .02

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They’re worth checking out. You can prototype there freely and demo badges ahead of time.

One of the topics that came out of gamification was that the average person appreciated them more than expected. Some users treated them like Pokemon/PS4 trophies to “collect 'em all” in an afternoon… But most appreciated learning about new features that were in the badges. See StackExchange sites, etc.

It helps engagement and learning overall.

Reputation is junk: I can post a pic I stole from someone with a caption being negative toward spider and splat it in a Discord and… Within an afternoon I’m smarter than everyone. Whole system gamed trivially. It has never not been this way. Through Discourse (the platform and the verb) the conversation can be more valuable than an individual source.

The public endorsement is a little antithesis, though. Contrast the Wikipedia methodology of “no experts online”. You have to prove, through conversation and citations, rather than being trusted. Elon Musk can’t edit it and use himself as a source!

Extra statuses and even staff badges create the “hallway monitor” effect: instead of serving users and facilitating conversation you end up with intentional bullying and gatekeepers.

Don’t take my word for it. Discourse itself is a huge social experiment to make online conversations better. The features are built around the opposite of the old school forums where a percentage of people were “happy” being lazy having their posts reinforced by the friends with strong opinions strongly held. That might sound like a “Good Ol’ Boys” club and it is.

Strong opinions weakly held, lead conversations, and no automatic experts online is the proven way to go.

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This could actually help go against that process. At the moment pretty much every single badge can be achieved by anybody if enough dedication went it to it. However, staff having their own personal badge that they can hand out at their discretion to well deserving (educational) topics/posts that they believe are pushing the hobby further, would help filter your users. You know users or topics displaying the “Stewart Reptiles badge” is top quality and should be taken over someone with the “500

I would actually be against staff badges, I don’t think anyone need to be validated or should seek approval of a staff member we are just members like everyone else, serving in other capacity at times because if our experience of forum moderation. With a special staff badge there is too much room for problems members being called staff favorite (being nice on my choice of words here) and therefore resentment toward said members but also staff (a lot of people cannot move on once they disagree and hold grudges and this would just make it worse), as a staff member you have to be unbiased even to people you may know, so those type of badges would be a slippery slop. A simple like from the staff as a member to another member should suffice IMO as a for of I agree with you or I like what you posted.

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That’s fair and understandable and probably best we don’t go down that route… Forget the staff badge part :joy:

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Being a mod on a another big and very active reptile forum (for over a decade now) let me tell you that members agreeing with the staff causes tension between members at times so special badges would likely make it worse at least that’s how I see it, I know right now it does not seem like it because we are still new here (not even a year old) but the community is growing and with more growth more problems will arise (good news it’s usually 2% of the members creating 80% of the big problems :rofl:)

But because I don’t like the idea does not mean other staff members will dislike it, I can only speak for myself.

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From someone facilitating online interactions ranging from vBulletin to a major online course management software to Discourse advocate, developer/contributor for longer than 14 years…

The challenge is to facilitate conversations and anything that enables gatekeeping or tribalism is bad. People will generally “do the right thing” if that thing is very obvious. Even the most insecure OG user will establish themselves as an authority to individual users over time (with appropriate content and interactions) without the crutch of things that look like favoritism.

Spin up a Discord of your favorite game for a lightning fast primer on online interactions from obvious trolls to toxic staff. :laughing: At least reptiles are generally lagging behind the maliciousness of those communities.

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I can honestly say i never paid any attention to fact that we had badges and have not paid any attention to what badges i have earned. I have to agree i don’t feel we should earn badges, points, likes or anything else for contributing good information to this hobby. We should be trying to further this hobby with good information and help each other and leave the rest of the nonsense behind. Just my humble opinion.

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Exactly. The original Discourse wasn’t even a recognizable forum. Check out StackExchange for an example. Article here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack_Exchange

They’ve had their dark moments, like when the answer to everything was jQuery, but overall it adapts.

A similar example might be the answer to every snake problem is a thermostat - yet no one can actually explain how a thermostat works. :laughing: You have a small amount of tyranny of the masses who watched a YouTube video on garden thermostats … but over time that will change.

If you’ve spent 20 years mastering breeding ball pythons… let’s be honest: about 4 seasons will teach you everything you need to know. It’s time to move the hobby forward. :slight_smile:

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