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There have been a lot of poor questions here by people who have zero badges (there is no point linking questions as they are not difficult to find). 9 times out of 10, a question by a person with no badges are poorly written and missing vital information.

I think it would be a good idea to have a 'minimum badge requirement' to ask a question. The first one should be reading the tour page, which is one that every user should have.

The second should be a new badge, which is given to people when they have read through a 'How to ask a good question' page.

This should hopefully get people to at least think twice before posting rubbish here. Yes, I know there will be people that just ignore it and click on the 'OK' button to move on without taking any information in, but it would still (hopefully) reduce the amount of poor questions from new members. If not, we can always ask in the comments: "You have the required badges to ask a question, so why are you ignoring it?" before casting a close vote.

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Locking the user out wouldn't work in practice. All you'll end up with is rubbish questions WITH the badges, which eliminates the possibility of using the badges as a discriminator.

It would be better to continue to use the badges as "secret" indicators to reviewers, and adding a couple of additional badges of that type might help us out in that regard. There are two that I can think of offhand, based on recent experience:

  • A badge that indicates that the user clicked on at least one link within the tour page, indicating that they actually read the contents of the tour, rather than just scrolling to the bottom to get the "Informed" badge.

  • A badge that indicates that while writing a new question, the user clicked on at least two of the related questions suggested by the system. This could really cut down on duplicate questions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was worried it wouldn't do much good in practice. I was just hoping to come up with an idea to at least reduce the amount of bad questions, and this was all I could think of. However, as you mentioned, badges can still be good indicators and your suggestions are good \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Oct 2 '18 at 14:39
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I think this question is more appropriate for Stack Exchange Meta, probably someone already asked it there.

Anyway, I think badges are more a "fun" thing, and reputation is the way privileges are given within the network. You can try with your proposal, but on SE Meta you're more likely to have an impact.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was going to try and gauge the reaction here first to see if it was an idea people are interested in before going anywhere else with it. The majority of badges are a "fun" thing, but they could possibly be used practically too \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Oct 2 '18 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, one relevant main meta question here. @MCG, if you want to post in main meta, be sure to thoroughly check every relevant posts that have been previously made over there. The main meta community has strict dupe rules, and they are not usually very enthusiasts on making changes in the system. \$\endgroup\$ – dim Oct 2 '18 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dim it seems like this has been discussed a few times in the main meta... Looks like the idea isn't going to happen! Shame really! \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Oct 3 '18 at 11:34
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I'm pretty sure the overarching Stack Exchange philosophy is that anyone can ask a question. I agree with this approach.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought you had to create an account to ask questions. If you have to create an account, it is demonstrably not for anyone but for people who has taken certain steps to gain that privilege. \$\endgroup\$ – pipe Oct 3 '18 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pipe Yes-anyone can create an account and then ask questions. I suppose you can add requirements all the way down to having access to an internet enabled device and the wherewithal to use it. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Oct 3 '18 at 11:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't have to create an account to ask a question @pipe \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Oct 5 '18 at 15:49

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