New badges shouldn't be on by default

I’m not a fan of new badges being turned on by default.

We don’t use most of the native Discourse badges so I have them turned off, but there was an awkward situation just now when someone received this:

I knew nothing about it and his ‘um, wow, thanks’ response was a bit awkward.

I think it’s an awesome initiative and will go down well in lots of communities, but it’s not something that we’ll use and I don’t think it should be enabled by default – at least not without notifying the CM.


Discourse changes all the time. I like to think I keep abreast of things by spending a lot of time reading here. But I understand that most don’t have that luxury.

At one time I considered trying to write a plugin that compared an existing site_settings.yml against the newer file, but it’s still on my “maybe someday” todo list.

Do you think something like that would be adequate to prevent most serious gotchas?
i.e. These Settings are new - be aware!

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It would be helpful for me, yes.

I remember having a convo with someone about this a while back. I’d love it if Discourse had a What’s New / News widget on Dashboard like WP does.


I think the easiest to implement would be a link to “commits since your version”.
But I don’t see that as being the most user friendly. Kind of like sending a newbie to a W3C RFC. Everything needed is there, but can it be digested?

I guess we could petition the Discourse team to use descriptive commit tags so they could be filtered.
But I’m thinking changes in the site_settings.yml file would catch most things that would be important to forum users.

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That already exists

And on the upgrade page

However, if you are hosted by Discourse (and I believe @hawk is), they sort of handle upgrading you… so you still might not get a chance to see what changed.

Out of curiosity @hawk, do you have all badges disabled or just a select number of them? As I know there is a global setting for ALL badges, setting is enable badges


Hmm if badges were disabled globally this is a bug. But I don’t think you disabled badges globally? You should disable badges globally if you don’t want badges.

Otherwise this is very much by design.

I think there is merit for a badge system is on but no stock badges are enabled by default, mode, but it is a rather rare use case


My personal preference would be that new badges (and other such changes) be preffed off by default, but that when an admin/leader logs in after the update, they have the option to enable them.

As an alternative, could it perhaps be that the preferences become available a week or so before the functionality (with a “what’s changing” notice), so that admins have the opportunity to pre-emptively disable them? I’d be happy if this was a way to set preferences by typing in a key (like Firefox’s about:config), and these were communicated via email (or announcement here) ahead of the release.

Would there be merit in something like this?


In that scenario, do users ever advance through trust levels automatically? I’m curious if the trust level badge contains the logic for advancing, or if the badge merely triggers on some other test succeeding.

In any case, I think defaulting to badges off is not such a great idea, but I can see merit in a setting for the default badge status:

Badges default to: [ enabled | disabled ]

And then a list of all the badges with current settings:

Nice Post: [ explicit enabled | explicit disabled | site default ]
Great Post: [ explicit enabled | explicit disabled | site default ]


I’m with @HAWK on this one. I’d love to see a better (more interactive) system for badges that are added. Two of my sites are closed, log in only environments, with one using SSO. As such, we’ve disabled a number of badges that are unobtainable in this setup, like shares and invites. One has no reply-by-email, so the email badge is disabled.

The most recent badge may be an extreme example (first badge to send a PM), released near end of month so it was awarded quickly - but it caught me by surprise too when I saw the PM in email logs. Some type of “a new badge has been added, check it out here” on the admin dashboard would likely be enough.


I also spend alot of time reading here, but I somehow manage to miss some really crucial topics. This new feature completely snuck up on me too and the first I heard of it was in this topic. Thanks @HAWK for bringing it to our attention! I’m now exploring it with my moderator team to decide whether to keep it enabled or not.

Maybe the discourse team could try to be a little more vigilant about notifying all of us (and esp their paying customers) of new features that will be “imposed” on our communities that may need to be disabled.

That said, I am deeply grateful to the discourse team for their continued and diligent work to develop and evolve this amazing software, and I am really happy with it and with the velocity and scope of improvements. I have no complaints at all about the direction and have full trust in discourse, and am crazy impressed every day with what’s happening with the software.

Also, I’m not a paying customer, so am very willing to accept the way changes appear via an ongoing flood of git commits and that frequently one rebuild of my site spawns a series of rebuilds over the next few days as new features get tweaked and bugs get fixed. It’s fun (in an easter egg hunt sort of way) to look for changes and new features, and to report bugs and see them get fixed quickly. I can probably count on one hand or even with just a few fingers the number of times I had an unpleasant surprise after an update. Even then it was not a big deal and was quickly resolved. Nary a complaint from my community.

I’d be sad if the pace and creativity of the improvements slowed down because the team has to second guess every new feature and spend more time looking backwards and worrying excessively about the impact on the existing installs.

I think the answer for me will be to watch the #feature category so I am notified of every new post in that category, even if it means some extra notifications about feature requests that I don’t need to see.


We have all native badges disabled but use custom badges.[quote=“codinghorror, post:6, topic:61371”]
You should disable badges globally if you don’t want badges.

I definitely do want badges. :slight_smile: But I want to be able to choose which ones, and I don’t want new ones that I don’t know about to be activated by default.


This is such a rare use case though. Can’t say when we would get to that.

It’s a big change to make new badges not activated by default?

It’s not on our roadmap for the forseeable future, no.

/me does the PR-welcome dance, with full ruffles and flourishes


Ok, fair enough.

Is there an easy way to know when new badges will be added?

Actually my real issue here isn’t so much the badges but the fact that users are receiving messages from me that I wasn’t aware were being sent.


What are the criteria that kick this message off?

You can learn everything there is to know about the new feature that prompted this topic over here:


This is in fact turning into many new extraneous notifications for me so I will be turning off watching of #feature again.

By all means do not slow down the pace of development, but if you can do please try to find ways to communicate in an official way about features that are actually being implemented and will show up in the tests-passed branch.