Scenario: a new user posts a rant disguised as a question. An attentive forum member (justifiably, IMO) removes the ranting in an attempt to salvage the question.

The new user will have none of it, and rolls back the edit.

Result: the ranter is rewarded with a "Cleanup" badge.

I happen to think that badges convey little value to the forum as a whole, but even so, this amounts to a badge specifically awarded for rejecting good advice.

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    Might be worth asking on the main meta; this isn’t particularly specific to the Retrocomputing site. Feb 28, 2021 at 7:22
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    @user3840170: It has already been asked there - meta.stackexchange.com/q/229549/236563
    – Chenmunka Mod
    Feb 28, 2021 at 18:25
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    Is it the case that the ranter is seeking the badge when he rolls back an edit to his post? I think it more likely that the ranter doesn't even know there's a badge at stake. He wants to say his piece, is pissed that someone interrupted that, and wants to double down. I doubt this badge affects anyone's behavior in any way at all, but certainly rarely if ever in this scenario.
    – davidbak
    Mar 1, 2021 at 1:56
  • @davidbak - agreed, it's automatic. My point, such that it is, is that badges are supposed to be somehow "good", but this "rewards" a bad action. Mar 1, 2021 at 4:11
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    Perverse incentives are common for SE badges. This is but one example of many.
    – forest
    Mar 7, 2021 at 4:27

2 Answers 2


There are two issues here.

Firstly, one can produce an argument for misbehaviour obtaining any badge. It is a feature of having badges and isn't really a major problem. Once people have the badge, they tend to stop.

The more important issue is rolling back edits in order to keep unpleasantness on the site. I've seen this done on a few sites across SE. It can deteriorate into edit wars and cause discontent.
The best approach is to raise a custom flag and explain what happened. Anyone can look at the edit history, but moderators have a couple of other tricks up their sleeves. Text can be removed such that it cannot be rolled back in. One of the tricks does require two moderators to act in unison but, if necessary, it shall be done.

  • @another-dave’s point is that the ‘cleanup’ badge is more likely to be awarded for undesirable behaviour than not. The StackExchange privilege and edit review system is designed to prevent bad edits from being made in the first place, which means the rollback tool is more likely to be used by inexperienced and/or, well, conceited users to undo good edits, in order to assert ownership on the post contents. Feb 28, 2021 at 20:19
  • One may counter this by saying that edit privileges may be overused as well (and granted, I have had that happen to me on StackOverflow too), so rollbacking isn’t necessarily an inappropriate action when performed by a lower-ranking user against higher-ranking editors. But I’d say that if overuse of reputation privileges becomes a significant issue on a site, you have bigger problems. (StackOverflow indeed does. But not necessarily this site.) Feb 28, 2021 at 20:26

I believe this is putting too much thought into a simple mechanic like that - and more so assigning execution of such elaborated measure to someone otherwise less elegant.

And yes, I see the the general point, but there are many more badges were people obvious do the requested action to get another one. In fact, this is exactly the action badges are supposed to support. Just some are not as straight forward as collecting 500 edits (or whatever) than others.

In addition, I would assume some of the badges are to support the 'discovery' of site features, like here the ability to issue a rollback. To me this seems like a good idea doesn't it? They are given out only once (AFAIR), so no fear about them being given out too often.

A solution would mean dropping of all badges that are not tied to a long grind. Then again, it would take away much flair. Also, why not letting people who are keen on such get a few badges. It might motivate them to go for the harder ones as well - the ones were it's not as easy and real work is to be done.

Last but not least I wouldn't put to much emphasis single badges or their details. They are a nice gesture, but do tell little about their bearer. Take yourself, you're a quite active and most valuable contributor, not at least shown by your score and badges - badges in numbers that can not be reached by 'tricks', so over all the system does work fine.

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    Mostly, badges are awarded for 'generally beneficial' activity, regardless of whether people chase after them or not; I'm not much concerned with that. My quibble, and it's not much more, with a badge for rollbacks is that the idea that a rollback is 'good' is questionable at best. In RC, I would guess (what, research? me? nah) that edits are generally positive and therefore rollbacks of those edits are generally negative. Mar 8, 2021 at 23:38
  • @another-dave Ah, I see your point. The question didn't read like that to me. I think badges like that should be taken as an encouragement to use that interface feature. AFAIK it's only awarded once, isn't it?
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 8, 2021 at 23:47
  • re; The question didn't read like that to me. -- please edit it. Then I can roll back your edit and get a badge, no? Mar 9, 2021 at 0:00
  • @another-dave ROTFL .... do I want to become partner in crime?
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 9, 2021 at 0:01

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