First a couple of general ideas:
The ability for an administrator to define badges that are specific to a forum. For example,
Current high score holder for a forum focused on a game.
Best Creme Brule on a cooking forum.
Neither of these badges belong on the the other’s forum, and should not be defined in discourse core.
User nominated / awarded badges. The point here is for the users to be able to recognize and reward specific positive behaviors on the forums, without needing to involve the moderators. Only users with at least basic trust can nominate, and awarding such a badge needs a certain threshold of approval. Higher levels of trust have a higher weight when voting to award, and moderators have even more weight.
Why not just like the post? “like” is a great feature, but it is rather generic. I am aware that this was done to keep it simple, and I agree. For me, though, the like feature is mostly about the end result,
i.e. “I found this post helpful/moving/funny/whatever.”
User awarded badges are about the process, specific actions to bring a post or topic closer to the ideal.
To get a better idea of what I mean, two specific badge proposals:
Peacemaker: person who takes action to maintain/restore civilized discourse to a discussion that has become characterized by… strong disagreement
Could be nominated for:
- Editing own post to make it more polite/less offensive.
- Apologizing for previous post that could be misconstrued/overreacting to post that was not intended to be offensive.
- Graciously conceding point on which one has been emphatic, if one realizes he has been wrong.
Should only be awarded for taking such actions without moderator/third party reminders.
Should probably only be awarded by third parties, that is persons who have not participated in that particular discussion as yet.
Peacekeeper: Not a policing force, but someone who approaches a hot-button topic in such a way that he motivates others to maintain their civility.
Awarded for posts that:
- Set an excellent example, especially if it is clear that the poster has very strong opinions on the subject.
- Graciously acknowledge both/all sides of a discussion, and/or admit the limits/downsides of the poster’s opinion.
Not awarded for posts that:
- Ask others to edit, or I’ll call the moderators
- Have a moderator-ish tone, i.e. “Can we just calm down please?”
same limits on voting as Peacemaker.
I know that Discourse isn’t really about arguments, but whenever humans discuss things, there will be disagreements. These badges are meant to reward those who are exceptional about maintaining civility while expressing strong opinions.
Both would allow “repeats” - Badge includes number of times awarded, or on certain thresholds upgrades from [badge] to silver[badge] or gold[badge] etc.
Edit: I see a couple of users have addressed some of these points in more detail as I was typing… Great Minds?