No, I am not complaining. However, it is very strange for me, that I have obtained this badge, impossible to obtain on tex.stackexchange.com, near as a gift.

I think that one of the reasons is that on math.stackexchange.com there are approximately 5 times more questions than on tex.stackexchange.com, hence the questions and answers are observed by shorter time. However, I feel that there must be another reasons, showing, how specific is math.stackexchange.com, and they have been already discovered.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Same here. I never imagined getting one on TeX but earned one here in less than a month. There is a meta post floating around here about the lack of voting even when the population has grown. If I can track it down, I will link it. Scroll up from my comment here to read mixedmath's answer. $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 12 '14 at 2:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @dustin: You don't appear to have received the Unsung Hero badge. Did you mean the Tenacious badge you received last month? $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Dec 12 '14 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ @JonasMeyer yes my mistake. They are related in hierarchy though. $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 12 '14 at 2:47
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Answers to advanced questions get no upvotes because most users who see them don't understand the topic and don't click in. This has always been the case. Answers to basic questions used to get upvotes but don't anymore; I don't know why, maybe the student population has started taking good answers for granted? At least we're not SO, which truly is a wasteland of zero-vote zero-answer questions. $\endgroup$ – user7530 Dec 12 '14 at 2:56
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Huh. I've observed that badge as being quite difficult to obtain - getting an accepted answer seems a lot rarer to me than getting lots of votes on an answer. I have noticed that how many upvotes I get seems to vary massively with time of day, so perhaps we're active at different times and thereby get different results (Perhaps someone who has better data-fu skills than I could write a query to see...). $\endgroup$ – Milo Brandt Dec 12 '14 at 3:09
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ I think this is indeed the effect of MSE being the busiest non-SO site in this aspect. People later complain that a single person can trigger auto-deletes with a single vote; but nobody wants to actually upvote questions and answers anymore. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 12 '14 at 4:45
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Because I think what @AsafKaragila said needs even more attention: but nobody wants to actually upvote questions and answers anymore $\endgroup$ – Isaac Dec 12 '14 at 18:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Asaf given that many people just love to complain this seems a perfect state of affairs. :P $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 12 '14 at 18:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Isaac Perhaps because they are not worth upvoting? A correct but routine answer to an infinitely duplicated homework question is something I don't consider worth voting up. If the question asker is grateful for the answer, they can accept it. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 12 '14 at 20:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Behaviour: There have been and most likely still are a disturbing number of users who never or hardly ever upvote anything. You have cast 8 upvotes and more than 12k downvotes. Are there really only 8 (or fewer) questions on this site that you think are worthwhile? 8 or fewer worthwhile answers? $\endgroup$ – Isaac Dec 12 '14 at 20:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Isaac I am a well-documented special case... At the present stage, I consider downvotes more beneficial for the site than upvotes, and put my daily allotment into those. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 12 '14 at 20:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Behaviour: and I consider that harmful to the site in that you are not unique in that behavior and failing to upvote harms the site. But it's probably not productive for us to directly argue it—I doubt either of us will convince the other on this point. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Dec 12 '14 at 20:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Isaac Not unique? That's news. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Dec 12 '14 at 22:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Easy to obtain? It's a far away dream for me. $\endgroup$ – Git Gud Dec 13 '14 at 2:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @GitGud Probably a testament to the quality of your answers :) That said I'd also like a chance at this badge. Maybe I'll start writing poorer but barely acceptable answers for a while. $\endgroup$ – Gyu Eun Lee Dec 13 '14 at 5:40

I'd like to point out that, in all of the history of math.SE, with its 369k questions, 157k users, only 89 people were awarded the badge "Unsung Hero".

Now let's compare with the other top SE sites, ordered by number of questions:

$$\begin{array}{lrrr} & \text{Questions} & \text{Users} & \text{Unsung heroes} \\ \text{Stackoverflow} & 8.5M & 3.8M & 9.6k \\ \text{Superuser} & 247k & 189k & 66 \\ \text{Serverfault} & 186k & 294k & 69 \\ \text{Askubuntu} & 175k & 237k & 68 \\ \text{TeX} & 77k & 54k & 0 \\ \text{Meta} & 69k & 118k & 0 \\ \text{Mathoverflow} & 56k & 39k & 0 \\ \text{Unix and Linux} & 54k & 80k & 0 \\ \text{Wordpress} & 52k & 45k & 68 \\ \text{Arqade} & 50k & 58k & 0 \\ \text{Apple} & 49k & 77k & 2 \\ \text{Cross Validated} & 48k & 45k & 0 \\ \text{English} & 46k & 72k & 2 \end{array}$$

Now I think the pattern is a bit clearer...

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ If anything Wordpress is the odd one out... $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Dec 13 '14 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ VERY interesting statistics. With small exceptions: about seventy to ninety or nothing. $\endgroup$ – Przemysław Scherwentke Dec 15 '14 at 3:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ $0.05\%$ of the world's population are members of SO. I wonder how many computer programmers there are in the world? $\endgroup$ – user1729 Dec 19 '14 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ Comparing the data nearly a year later is astounding. Especially since it shows how unique Math.SE is compared to other sites. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 6 '15 at 15:52

I don't think the Unsung Hero badge is easy to obtain. In fact I'd like to get it, but I have pretty much given up at this point. It's particularly hard if you're not one of those people who informs the users of the possibility of accepting answers in questions to which themselves have provided answers. There are even some who ask the user to consider accepting their answers.

Perusing through the badges page, one can see that this badge is one of the least awarded ones. This is an indicator that it's not easy to get, even though (I assume) most of them were awarded without the awardees even trying to get them. I have seen one user limiting his answering participation, picking which questions to answer very carefully in order to try to get the badge. I don't think there's anything wrong with this.

Why is it so hard to get this badge?

  1. People's criteria for voting are very much dependent on the author of the content. If you're known enough or have a high enough reputation, people are more likely to up vote you for the same content than if you were a new user with low reputation. I'm not criticizing this behavior, just saying it happens.
  2. The criteria are: number of accepted answers with zero votes must be greater than 10 and at least one quarter of your answers must be accepted with no votes. One QUARTER. Doesn't this just look incredibly demanding to you? (Sorry for the lack of justification, I don't know how to argue that it is too much to ask).
  3. Askers who accept answers and do not up vote are rare. If they know about accepting answers, then they are familiar with SE. This is increases the chances that they are registered users which in turn increases the chances that they will also up vote the answer. Among unregistered users, it's very common to see unfamiliarity with SE.
  4. Answer acceptance is a greater reward than up voting (not just reputation wise, but also because it visually singles out one answer). Accepting an answer and not up voting it (while being able to up vote) feels more like some sort of undue punishment than a reward.

In a related subject. When we require registration to ask a question, it will be even harder (close to impossible?) to get this badge. Can someone please check how many of these badges were awarded on other sites after registration became mandatory?

In my opinion the badges requirement's should be tweaked or the badge should be deleted (or something like that).

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think a Quarter is too much to ask for. I remember, I got my Unsung hero badge with $12$ accepted-zero-vote answers and $28$ total accepted answers. I agree with you on point number $1$ and think maybe that's the only reason I have the badge now. Though it is hard to get for the people who have spent considerable amount of time on MSE (or any other SE site?) and have failed to realize there's such a badge (as they usually have a lot of accepted answers already, and criteria of fulfilling the 40% clause seems tough to achieve) $\endgroup$ – Swapnil Tripathi Dec 13 '14 at 12:39
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I could never get it. Even if I tried real hard. I just don't think it could happen. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '14 at 13:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I (too) would speculate one gets this early on or never. (If I find some time I will check.) $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 13 '14 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ You have just confirmed my belief, that it is a consolation prize for beginners. :-( $\endgroup$ – Przemysław Scherwentke Dec 15 '14 at 3:19
  • $\begingroup$ Alas, I can accept only one answer. I am searching now, if it is possible to open bounty on meta. $\endgroup$ – Przemysław Scherwentke Dec 19 '14 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ @PrzemysławScherwentke I don't think it is possible. Personally I don't care which answer gets accepted. I don't think many people care about that on Meta. $\endgroup$ – Git Gud Dec 19 '14 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ @PrzemysławScherwentke: Yes, for beginners who try :-) $\endgroup$ – Swapnil Tripathi Dec 19 '14 at 20:24

I'm obviously doing something wrong - approaching 1500 answers I have 36 which would qualify. So there is no way I will ever get this badge even if I try.

It rewards people who do good work on the edges of the community, and though it may need retuning, it encourages a broad coverage, rather than a narrowing to the interest of the regulars, and I think that is a good thing.

And it is a good thing too to reward people for effort in answering questions rather than for effort in collecting badges. I think this is hard to target for most users and easier to get when you are relatively new.


As a relatively new user, I've noticed that short and simple hints are more likely to get more upvotes than long and thorough answers. However the OP is more likely to understand and accept the long and thorough answer, provided that the answer is clear enough. I've been in this situation many times, as I prefer to post answers that I feel thoroughly answer the question.

Although the user has yet to accept an answer, this question is a perfect example of this behavior. I was quite surprised when I randomly attained this seemingly impossible badge. And no, the unsung hero badge is not easy to get.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .