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The usual purpose of the badge system is to guide users to more constructive participation. However, the gold-level Reversal badge seems to serve the opposite goal:

[Gold] Reversal

Provided answer of +20 score to a question of -5 score

This badge encourages people to provide answers to bad questions. However, as I was recently taught by our moderators who recently chastised me for answering a bad question, this behavior is not wanted on this website.

Because I believe that mods must have a much better understand of this website than anyone else, the only possible conclusion is that this badge is inappropriate for GDSE and should thus be removed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/277576/… \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Dec 10 '14 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I want to agree... but 20+ votes means that it was an incredibly useful answer. People found the question and an answer they needed somehow regardless of question quality and to me I think that's really important. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Dec 10 '14 at 18:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe you're referring to this answer. Answering a question that's off topic and answering a bad question aren't the same. The comments on your answer there are about answering a question that's off topic, not about answering a bad question (however in this case I believe the question is both). \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Dec 10 '14 at 19:02
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The Reversal badge is to give someone an incentive to answer a good question that got downvoted because others misunderstood it, or disagreed with the whole premise.

Discussion on SO about this:

https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/277576/get-rid-of-the-reversal-badge

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I see your point, but I think the distinction you are missing is that votes and on-topicness (or lack thereof) are not one-and-the-same.

A question might get a bunch of downvotes because it's off-topic, but it also might get a bunch of downvotes because it was poorly worded, or because somebody didn't think it was well-researched. The same is true of upvotes (although typically for the opposing reasons!).

But being up- or down- voted does not make a question off-topic; it just often correlates. What makes a question off-topic are the rules of StackExchange itself and the rules decided upon by the individual site communities.

If the Reversal badge was about answering off-topic questions, then I would absolutely agree that it has no place existing here (or elsewhere on SE). But it's not, it's about downvotes. In that sense it's about encouraging you to look at questions that may have been poorly interpreted, or which may have started off bad but were since edited into something good and answerable.

And that is definitely behavior we'd like to encourage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ All that said, I don't actually care much for badges, so I wouldn't care if it went away. But as far as I know the SE software doesn't support disabling badges on a per-site basis, so this discussion would likely need to continue on meta.se. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Dec 10 '14 at 18:22

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