Talk:Badges

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Integrate with Wikimedia?[edit]

I've heard a lot of talk about this in the Open Education Resource (OER) conferences and conversations. As the largest OER project in the world, I think it would be cool to be integrated in some way! Other types of badges that might be good to integrate are something within the lines of the education program. Maybe for the Students that made it through the class "successfully" (I won't attempt to define that here), and also for the professors who taught the class ("WIkimedia Fellow"), for example)? Also, could we leverage the barnstar system in some way? Jwild 05:36, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability[edit]

Verifiability is a major concern. These badges aren't "thank you" awards like barnstars. How do we verify that someone qualified for a badge and that they didn't self-award it or their friend didn't give it to them? I suggest that if Wikipedia is to have a system such as what is proposed here, there should be a "Qualification Review Committee" ("QuiRC", "QuaRC", or "QaRC") that reviews all nominations for badges before awards are finalized. The criteria for badges could be made by community consensus, and nominations could come from the community or come from self-nominations. The committee would verify that the badge has been earned. I also think it would be good to have the badge note the year of the nomination included on the badge, because a record that shows badges being earned over several years is very different from a record of many awards that were all earned more than a few years ago. Pinetalk 08:27, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Ditto this to a degree. I think this has the potential to be a good idea, help make clear some issues… but they would need to be verified by some body, and denote exactly what they mean in terms of on wiki relationships and actions. --LauraHale 21:16, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
So if you check out the technical spec for the badges, it's interesting to note that they aren't just an image and free text like a barnstar is. They're actually metadata (JSON, if you want to get precise) that gets embedded into the badge itself. There are options (which we could easily make required) for including metadata about why a badge was given, along with a link to the exact work that merited the badge. So it can be sort of like if you attached a copy of your thesis along with your CV that says you're a PhD. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:47, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Support requiring metadata about why a badge was given and a link to the work. The more relevant information, the better. Pinetalk 10:23, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Plea to avoid badges[edit]

Wikipedia has a major problem with 'hat collectors', people who relentlessly seek permissions, such as autopatrolled, file mover, even IP block exempt, even when it's clear that they have no use for the tools and no qualification to recieve them. My best guess is that they see these 'hats' as status symbols. I'm told that other projects have the same phenomenon. If Wikimedia integrates badges, we'll have the hat collectors at an even more relentless scale, trying to do whatever they can to convince people to hand out badges (often, whatever they can except work for them). All this will do is create stress.

If we do decide to hop on board with badges, I have one key consideration and one strong recommendation. The key consideration is that of outing. If we hand out badges to User:Foo, and then Foo Johnson appears with the badge, people will put one and one together. People need to be aware of how badges work, and that badges can expose people through their linking ability.

My recommendation is that we only give out badges, if we give out badges, for elected positions and positions appointed by elected committees. For en.Wiki this means that there would be badges for Stewards and ArbCom members (elected), and badges for Checkusers (appointed by ArbCom), but not badges for auto-patrolled. Winners of competitions such as the Wikicup, that have firm rules and oversight, and people who create content vetted by featured processes, which also have oversight and strong community voice, may work for badges, but I worry about excessive gaming of the system there by 'hat collectors'. Also, I'd specificly exempt admins from being a badge, too many unqualified people already run and get shot down for that already, without the extra encouragement.

Sven Manguard 14:32, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

  • If we go to badges, which is questionable, then I agree with the concern about anonymity. We would need to make it clear that if someone wants to use a badge that the earned on WP in a place that identifies them, then they will lose the anonymity that they had for that WP account. Of course, many people may chose not to post their badges on public profiles, and many may use them only within WP. Regarding giving out badges only for elected positions, I disagree. Elections are political in nature. One of the key attributes badges is that they are as far removed from politics as possible; they are about qualifications not political popularity. Someone could win an ArbCom appointment and then be a terrible ArbCom member, so I wouldn't want them to have a badge. Similarly, a user with no special permissions could write amazing featured articles, so I would want them to have the badge. As for the competitions that you mention, they give their own prizes and have their own judges and rules, so I think those can be left separate from badges. I have no problem with people being "hat collectors" of badges if they do the work and show the skill required to earn them, but I do have a problem with people seeking permissions like File Mover for no good reason. I think that giving the opportunity to earn badges will divert the "hat collector" crowd away from seeking unnecessary permissions and instead provide them with constructive goals that can get them recognition if that's what motivates them to be useful contributors to WP. Pinetalk 09:39, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem with 'hat collectors' is that they will do the minimum work possible to achieve the maximum credit possible. An irontight method of making sure that people can't game the system for recognition not earned is needed. Users have been banned from featured processes for gaming, this will only make the situation worse. Sven Manguard 11:39, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you should check out my comment above and look at the badge spec Sven. The interesting approach both technical and social is that these are designed first and foremost for the kind of formal learning systems that require secondary verification and evidence of hard work, both of which can be embedded in the badge itself. I think this approach has some very strong advantages over barnstars or other awards we currently have on-wiki, because you can require a link to the work that the badge was awarded for. Meaning, if you want to go look at what supposedly merited awarding a badge, then you can decide for yourself whether it's really worth it or not just by clicking a link to evidence. The truth is, there is no way to design a perfect system of reward, and measures of quality work are totally subjective. But if can provide verification and evidence of work done to accomplish something, that is a way to feasibly provide a badge that can mean something. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 19:05, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
One of the really cool things that badges enable you do is to "port" your qualifications to other places (e.g. other wikis in Wikimedia, or even completely other sites). This can be tremendously helpful e.g. if you're just starting in a community, provided that the badge process is sensible and the badges are meaningful.--Eloquence 00:33, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Tech notes[edit]

A few notes...

There are three distinct infrastructure parts in OBI, of which we could implement some or all ourselves:

  • badge issuers
    • This we'd definitely do if doing stuff; things like who gets to issue which badges, with what info, and what supporting metadata, is entirely up to us in creating our system.
    • Metadata embedded in the badge image includes either a crypto signature or an authentication callback that can be used to test badge validity; this latter would for instance allow badges to be revoked I think. And of course simply to distinguish between 'genuine' badges and those issued by somebody else that just look like "ours".
    • I get the impression that there can be some chaining signatures -- eg institution A can sign institution B's badge data to demonstrate A's endorsement of B's program. Combined with appropriate authn/authz on the system used to issue badges, this should help with things like 'such and such organization approves these criteria and confirms that they're being applied correctly by Wikimedia'
  • "badge backpack" -- the place where recipients collect their badges & can display them from
    • Mozilla's running a service for this, but it's meant to be distributed and non-centralized. Knowing how we tend to do things, it probably makes sense to default to collecting peoples' badges within the wiki system, though allowing people to send them on to another service might be nice. Would have to figure out usability implications on this.
  • badge displayer -- third party sites showing some bit from somebody's badge backpack with some auth info
    • if we support external badge backpacks, we'd have to display them remotely i guess.
    • still a bit vague on this

--brion 16:28, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the notes. Is WMF seriously considering investing developer time in this? I hope so, but I would hope that there would be more buy-in from the community than has been shown on this talk page. If the developers build a great system and it only gets a mediocre level of use, that would be disappointing. Pinetalk 21:02, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Open Education week talk[edit]

If people are interested in learning more about this, there is a free webinar about Open Education and Open Badges on 6 March, 2012. See here for more information! Jwild (talk) 22:37, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia Badges Fellowship Proposal[edit]

I created a fellowship proposal to help explore this issue here. I suggest running an isolated pilot or set of pilots to see whether its possible to create a badge system that makes sense. A pilot will also help to scope how much development work is really necessary to support badges. Please comment and add your thoughts to the fellowship on the page. Anya (talk) 18:44, 25 June 2012 (UTC)